« PreviousContinue »
been taught to judge properly of such men, and a second came up, but observing he had a spathat it would be even madness to expect happi- vin, declared he would not take him for the driness from one who has been so very bad an eco- ving home; a third perceived he had a windnomist of his own.—Your mother and I have gall, and would bid no money; a fourth knew now better prospects for you. The next winter, by his eye that he had the bots; a fifth wonwhich you will probably spend in town, will dered what a plague I could do at the fair with give you opportunities of making a more pru- a blind, spavined, galled hack, that was only fit dent choice."
to be cut up for a dog-kennel. By this time I What Sophia's reflections were upon this oc- began to have a most hearty contempt for the casion, I cannot pretend to determine: but I was poor animal myself, and was almost ashamed at not displeased at the bottom, that we were rid of the approach of every customer; for though I a guest from whom I had much to fear. Our did not entirely believe all the fellows told me, breach of hospitality went to my conscience a yet I reflected that the number of witnesses was little ; but I quickly silenced that monitor by a strong presumption they were right; and St two or three specious reasons, which served to Gregory upon good works, professes himself to satisfy and reconcile me to myself. The pain be of the same opinion. which conscience gives the man who has already I was in this mortifying situation, when a done wrong, is soon got over. Conscience is a brother clergyman, and old acquaintance, who coward, and those faults it has not strength to had also business at the fair, came up, and shaprevent, it seldom has justice enough to accuse. king me by the hand, proposed adjourning to a
public-house, and taking a glass of whatever we
could get. I readily closed with the offer, and CHAP. XIV.
entering an alehouse, we were shewn into a lit
tle back room, where there was only a veneraFresh mortifications, or a demonstration that ble old man, who sat wholly intent over a large seeming calamities may be real blessings. book, which he was reading. I never in my life
saw a figure that prepossessed me more favourThe journey of my daughters to town was ably. His locks of silver grey venerably shaded now resolved upon, Mr Thornhill having kind- his temples, and his green old age seemed to be ly promised to inspect their conduct himself, the result of health and benevolence. However, and inform us by letter of their behaviour. But his presence did not interrupt our conversation: it was thought indispensably necessary that my friend and I discoursed on the various turns their appearance should equal the greatness of of fortune we had met; the Whistonian controtheir expectations, which could not be done , versy, my last pamphlet, the archdeacon's reply, without expence. We debated, therefore, in and the hard measure that was dealt me. But full council, which were the easiest methods of our attention was in a short time taken off, by raising money; or, more properly speaking, the appearance of a youth, who, entering the what we could most conveniently sell
. The de- room, respectfully said something softly to the liberation was soon finished: it was found that old stranger. “ Make no apologies, my child,” our remaining horse was utterly useless for the said the old man: “ to do good is a duty we plough, without his companion, and equally un- owe to all our fellow-creatures. Take this, I wish fit for the road, as wanting an eye: it was there- it were more ; but five pounds will relieve your fore determined, that we should dispose of him, distress, and you are welcome.". The modest for the purpose above-mentioned, at the neigh- youth shed tears of gratitude, and yet his gratibouring fair ; and to prevent imposition, that I tude was scarcely equal to mine. I could have should go with him myself. Though this was hugged the good old man in my arms, his beneone of the first mercantile transactions in my life, volence pleased me so. He continued to read, yet I had no doubt of acquitting myself with and we resumed our conversation, until my reputation. The opinion a man forms of his companion, after some time, recollecting that own prudence is measured by that of the com- he had business to transact in the fair, promised pany he keeps, and as mine was mostly in the to be soon back: adding, that he always desired family way, I had conceived no unfavourable to have as much of Dr Primrose's company as sentiments of my worldly wisdom. My wife, possible. The old gentleman hearing my name however, next morning, at parting, after I had mentioned, seemed
to look at me with attention got some paces from the door, called me back to for some time, and when my friend was gone, advise me, in a whisper, to have all my eyes most respectfully demanded if I was any way about me.
related to the great Primrose, that courageous I had, in the usual forms, when I came to the monogamist, who had been the bulwark of the fair, put my horse through all his paces, but for church. Never did my heart feel sincerer rapsome time had no bidders. At last a chapman ture than at that moment. “ Sir,” cried I, approached, and after he had for a good while “ the applause of so good a man as I am sure examined the horse round, finding him blind of you are, adds to that happiness in my breast one eye, he would have nothing to say to him; which your benevolence has already excited.
You behold before you, sir, that Dr Primrose, the fair ; mine, I told him, was to sell a horse: the monogamist, whom you have been pleased and, very luckily indeed, his was to buy one to call great. You here see that unfortunate for one of his tenants. My horse was soon prodivine, who has so long, and it would ill become duced, and in fine we struck a bargain. Nome to say successfully, fought against the deu- thing now remained but to pay me, and he acterogamy of the age.' Sir,” cried the stran- cordingly pulled out a thirty pound note, and ger, struck with awe, “I fear I have been bid me change it. Not being in a capacity of too familiar ; but you'll forgive my curiosity, complying with his demand, he ordered his footsir ; I beg pardon." -“Sir," cried'1, grasping man to be called up, who made his appearance his hand,
you are so far from displeasing me in a very genteel livery. Here, Abraham," by your familiarity, that I must beg you'll ac- cried he, “ go and
get gold for this ; you'll do cept my friendship, as you already have my es- it at neighbour Jackson's, or any where."
-“ Then with gratitude I accept the of- While the fellow was gone, he entertained me fer,” cried he, squeezing me by the hand, “thou with a pathetic harangue on the great scarcity glorious pillar of unshaken orthodoxy! and do of silver, which I undertook to improve, by deI behold " I here interrupted what he was ploring also the great scarcity of gold; so that going to say ; for though, as an author, I could by the time Abraham returned, we had both digest no small share of flattery, yet now my agreed that money was never so hard to be come modesty would permit no more. However, no at as now. Abraham returned to inform us, that lovers in romance ever cemented a more instan- he had been over the whole fair, and could not taneous friendship. We talked upon several get change, though he had offered half-a-crown subjects; at first, I thought him rather devout for doing it. This was a very great disappointthan learned, and began to think he despised all ment to us all; but the old gentleman having human doctrines as dross. Yet this no way les- paused a little, asked me if I knew one Solo sened him in my esteem; for I had for some mon Flamborough in my part of the country: time begun privately to harbour such an opinion upon replying that he was my next-door neighmyself. I therefore took occasion to observe, bour, “ If that be the case then,” returned he, that the world in general began to be blameably " I believe we shall deal. You shall have a indifferent as to doctrinal matters, and followed draft upon him payable at sight; and let me human speculation too much. Ay, sir," re- tell you, he is as warm a man as any within five plied he, as if he had reserved all his learn- miles round him. Honest Solomon and I have ing to that moment," Ay, sir, the world is been acquainted for many years together. I rein its dotage, and yet the cosmogony or creation member I always beat him at three jumps; but of the world has puzzled philosophers of all he could hop upon one leg farther than I.” A ages. What a medley of opinions have they draft upon my neighbour was to me the same not broached upon the creation of the world as money; for I was sufficiently convinced of Sanchoniathon, Manetho, Berosus, and Ocellus his ability ; the draft was signed and put into Lucanus, have all attempted it in vain. The my hands, and Mr Jenkinson, the old gentlelatter has these words : Anarchon ara kai atelu- man, his man Abraham, and my horse, Old taion to pan, which imply that all things have Blackberry, trotted off very well pleased with neither beginning nor end. Manetho also, who each other. lived about the time of Nebuchadon-Asser,
After a short interval, being left to reflection, ser being a Syriac word, usually applied as a I began to recollect that I had done wrong in sirname to the kings of that country, as Teglat taking a draft from a stranger, and so prudently Phàel-Asser; Nabon-Asser-he, I say, formed resolved upon following the purchaser, and haa conjecture equally absurd ; for as we usually ving back my horse :- but this was now too late; say, ek to biblion kubernetes, which implies that I therefore made directly homewards, resolving books will never teach the world; so he ate to get the draft changed into money at my friend's tempted to investigate-But, sir, I ask par- as fast as possible. I found my honest neighdon—I am straying from the question.” That bours moking his pipe at his own door, and, inhe actually was ; nor could I, for my life, see forming him that I had a small bill upon him, how the creation of the world had any thing to he read it twice over. “You can read the name, do with the business I was talking of ; but it I suppose,” cried I, “Ephraim Jenkinson.”was sufficient to shew me that he was a man of “Yes,” returned he," the name is written plain letters, and I now reverenced him the more. I enough, and I know the gentleman too-the was resolved therefore to bring him to the greatest rascal under the canopy of heaven. This touch-stone ; but he was too mild and too gen- is the very same rogue who sold us the spectatle to contend for victory. Whenever I made cles. Was he not a venerable-looking man, with any observation that looked like a challenge to grey hair, and no flaps to his pocket-holes ? And controversy, he would smile, shake his head, did he not talk a long string of learning about and say nothing ; by which I understood he Greek, and cosmogony, and the world?" To could say much if he thought proper. The sub- this I replied with a groan. “Ay,” continued jęct, therefore, insensibly changed from the bu- he, he has but that one piece of learning in the siness of antiquity to that which brought us to world, and he always talks it wherever he find
a scholar in company ; but I know the rogue, knowledge of, under the character of companiand will catch him yet.”
As I would neither have simplicity imThough I was already sufficiently mortified, posed upon, nor virtue contaminated, I must of my greatest struggle was to come, in facing my fer it as my opinion that the impropriety of such wife and daughters. No truant was ever more a step will be attended with dangerous conseafraid of returning to school, there to behold the quences. It has never been my way to treat the master's visage, than I was of going home. I infamous or the lewd with severity ; nor should was determined, however, to anticipate their I now have taken this method of explaining myfury, by first falling into a passion myself. self, or reproving folly, did it not aim at guilt.
But, alas ! upon entering, I found the family 'Take, therefore, the admonition of a friend, and no way disposed for battle. My wife and girls seriously reflect on the consequences of introduwere all in tears, Mr Thornhill having been there cing infamy and vice into retreats where peace that day to inform them, that their journey to and innocence have hitherto resided.” town was entirely over. The two ladies having heard reports of us from some malicious person Our doubts were now at an end. There seemabout us, were that day set out for London. He ed indeed something applicable to both sides in could neither discover the tendency, nor the au- this letter, and its censures might as well be rethor of these; but whatever they might be, or ferred to those to whom it was written, as to us; whoever might have broached them, he conti- but the malicious meaning was obvious, and we nued to assure our family of his friendship and went no farther. My wife had scarce patience protection. I found, therefore, that they bore to hear me to the end, but railed at the writer my disappointment with great resignation, as it with unrestrained resentment. Olivia was equalwas eclipsed in the greatness of their own. But ly severe, and Sophia seemed perfectly amazed what perplexed us most, was to think who could at his baseness. As for my part, it appeared to be so base as to asperse the character of a family me one of the vilest instances of unprovoked inso harmless as ours--too humble to excite envy, gratitude I had ever met with. Nor could I and too inoffensive to create disgust.
account for it in any other manner than by imputing it to his desire of detaining my youngest
daughter in the country, to have the more freCHAP. XV.
quent opportunities of an interview. In this
manner we all sat ruminating upon schemes of AU Mr Burchell's villainy at once detected. The vengeance, when our other little boy came runfolly of being over-wise.
ning in to tell us, that Mr Burchell was ap
proaching at the other end of the field. It is That evening, and part of the following day, easier to conceive than describe the complicated was employed in fruitless attempts to discover sensations which are felt from the pain of a reour enemies : scarce a family in the neighbour- cent injury, and the pleasure of approaching venhood but incurred our suspicions, and each of us geance. Though our intentions were only to had reasons for our opinion best known to our- upbraid him with his ingratitude, yet it was reselves. As we were in this perplexity, one of our solved to do it in a manner that would be perlittle boys, who had been playing abroad, brought fectly cutting. For this purpose we agreed to in a letter-case, which he found on the green. It meet him with our usual smiles, to chat in the was quickly known to belong to Mr Burchell, beginning with more than ordinary kindness, to with whom it had been seen; and, upon exami- amuse him a little ; and then, in the midst of nation, contained some hints upon different sub- the flattering calm, to burst upon him like an jects; but what particularly engaged our atten- earthquake, and overwhelm him with the sense tion, was a sealed note, superscribed,“ The copy of his own baseness. This being resolved upon, of a letter to be sent to the ladies at Thornhill my wife undertook to manage the business herCastle.” It instantly occurred, that he was the self, as she really had some talents for such an base informer : and we deliberated whether the undertaking: We saw him approach : he enternote should not be broke open. I was against ed, drew a chair, and sat down.
“ A fine day, it; but Sophia, who said she was sure that of all Mr Burchell.”—“ A very fine day, doctor ; men he would be the last to be guilty of so much though I fancy we shall have some rain, by the baseness, insisted upon its being read. In this shooting of my corns.”—“The shooting of your she was seconded by the rest of the family; and, horns, cried my wife, in a loud fit of laughter, at their joint solicitation, I read as follows: and then asked pardon for being fond of a joke.
“ Dear madam,” replied he, “I pardon you “ LADIES,—The bearer will sufficiently sa- with all my heart; for I protest I should not tisfy you as to the person from whom this comes : have thought it a joke, had you not told me.”one at least the friend of innocence, and ready Perhaps not, sir,” cried my wife, winking at to prevent its being seduced. I am informed for us ; " and yet I dare say you can tell us how a truth, that you have some intention of bring- many jokesgo to an ounce.”-“I fancy, madam," ing two young ladies to town, whom I have some returned Burchell, “you have been reading a jest-book this morning, that ounce of jokes is so of detecting him in the midst of his fancted sew very good a conceit: and yet, madam, I had ra- curity. Do you know this, sir—this pocketther see half an ounce of understanding.”—“I book?”—“Yes, sir," returned he, with a face of believe you might," cried my wife, still smiling impenetrable assurance; "that pocket-book is at us, though the laugh was against her. “And mine, and I am glad you have found it.”—“And yet I have seen some men pretend to understand, do you know," cried I," this letter? Nay, never ing, that have very little.”—“And no doubt," falter, man; but look me full in the face : I say, replied her antagonist, “you have known ladies do you know this letter ?"-" That letter,” rea set up for wits that had none." I quickly began plied he; “yes, it was I that wrote that letter.” to find, that my wife was likely to gain but lit- -" And how could you,” said I," so basely, so tle at this business : 90 I resolved to treat him ungratefully, presume to write this letter?" in a style of more severity myself. “Both wit “Ănd how came you,” replied he, with looks of and understanding," cried 1, "are trifles with unparalleled effrontery, “so basely to presume out integrity ; it is that which gives value to to break open this letter ? Don't you know, now, every character ; the ignorant peasant, without I could hang you all for this ? All that I have fault, is greater than the philosopher with many; to do, is to swear at the next justice's, that you for what is genius or courage without a heart? have been guilty of breaking open the lock of my
pocket-book, and so hang you all up at this door." 6 An honest man's the noblest work of God.” This piece of unexpected insolence raised me to
such a pitch that I could scarce govern my pas“ I always held that hackneyed maxim of sion. * Ungrateful wretch! be gone, and no Pope," returned Mr Burchell, “ as very unwor- longer pollute my dwelling with thy baseness. thy a man of genius, and a base desertion of his Be gone ! and never let me see thee again : go own superiority. As the reputation of books is from my door, and the only punishment I wish raised, not by their freedom from defect, but the thee is an alarmed conscience, which will be a greatness of their beauties; so should that of sufficient tormentor !" So saying, I threw him men be prized, not from their exemption from his pocket-book, which he took up with a smile, fault, but the size of those virtues they are pos- and shutting the clasps, with the utmost comsessed of. The scholar may want prudence; the posure, left us quite astonished at the serenity statesman may have pride, and the champion fe- of his assurance. My wife was particularly enrocity; but shall we prefer to these the low mecha- raged that nothing could make him angry, or nic, who laboriously plods on through life with- make him seem ashamed of his villanies. “My out censure or applause? We might as well pre- dear,” cried I, willing to calm those passions fer the tame correct paintings of the Flemish that had been raised too high among us, school, to the erroneous, but sublime animations are not to be surprised that bad men want shame; of the Roman pencil.”
they only blush at being detected in doing good, “Sir," replied I,“ your present observation but glory in their vices. is just, when there are shining virtues and mi- “Guilt and Shame (says the allegory), were nute defects; but when it appears that great at first companions, and in the beginning of their vices are opposed in the same mind to as extra- journey inseparably kept together. But their ordinary virtues, such a character deserves con- union was soon found to be disagreeable and intempt.'
convenient to both : Guilt gave Shame frequent “Perhaps,” cried he, “ there may be some uneasiness, and Shame often betrayed the secret such monsters as you describe, of great vices conspiracies of Guilt. After long disagreement, joined to great virtues ; yet, in my progress therefore, they at length consented to part for through life, I never yet found one instance of ever. Guilt boldly walked forward alone, to their existence : on the contrary, I have ever overtake Fate, that went before in the shape of perceived, that where the mind was capacious, an executioner ; but Shame, being naturally tithe affections were good. And indeed Providence morous, returned back to keep company with seems kindly our friend in this particular, thus Virtue, which in the beginning of their journey to debilitate the understanding where the heart they had left behind.—Thus, my children, after is corrupt, and diminish the power where there men have travelled through a few stages in vice, is the will to do mischief. This rule seems to Shame forsakes them, and returns back to wait extend even to other animals ; the little vermin upon the few virtues they have still remaining." race are ever treacherous, cruel, and cowardly ; whilst those endowed with strength and power, are generous, brave, and gentle.'
CHAP. XVI. “ These observations sound well,” returned I, “ and yet it would be easy this moment to point The Family use art, which is opposed by still out a man," and I fixed my eye steadfastly upon
greater. him, “whose head and heart form a most detestable contrast. Ay, sir," continued I, raising my Whatever might have been Sophia's sensavoice, “and I am glad to have this opportunity tions, the rest of the family were easily consoled
for Mr Burchell's absence, by the company of a thing quite out of taste, no variety in life, our landlord, whose visits now became more fre- no composition in the world. We desired to quent and longer. Though he had been disap- have something in a brighter style, and, after pointed in procuring my daughters the amuse- many debates, at length came to an unanimous ments of the town, as he designed, he took every resolution of being drawn together, in one large opportunity of supplying them with those little historical family-piece. This would be cheaper, recreations which our retirement would admit since one frame would serve for all, and it would of. He usually came in the morning, and while be infinitely more genteel ; for all families of my son and I followed our occupations abroad, any taste were now drawn in the same manner. he sat with the family at home, and amused As we did not immediately recollect an historithem by describing the town, with every part cal subject to hit us, we were contented each of which he was particularly acquainted. "He with being drawn as independent historical could repeat all the observations that were re- figures. My wife desired to be represented as tailed in the atmosphere of the play-houses, and Venus, and the painter was requested not to be had all the good things of the high wits by rotė, too frugal of his diamonds in her stomacher long before they made their way into the jest- and hair. Her two little ones were to be as books. The intervals between conversation were Cupids by her side, while I, in my gown and employed in teaching my daughters piquet; or, band, was to present her with my books on the sometimes, in setting my two little ones to Whistonian controversy. Olivia would be drawn box, to make them sharp, as he called it: but as an Amazon, sitting upon a bank of flowers, the hopes of having him for a son-in-law, in dressed in a green joseph, richly laced with some measure blinded us to all his imperfections. gold, and a whip in her hand. Sophia was to It must be owned, that my wife laid a thousand be a Shepherdess, with as many sheep as the schemes to entrap him ; or to speak it more painter could put in for nothing; and Moses tenderly, used every art to magnify the merit of was to be dressed out with a hat and white her daughter. If the cakes at tea eat short and feather. crisp, they were made by Olivia; if the goose- Our taste so much pleased the Squire, that he berry-wine was well knit, the gooseberries were insisted on being put in as one of the family, in of her gathering; it was her fingers which gave the character of Alexander the Great, at Olivia's the pickles their peculiar green; and in the feet. This was considered by us all as an indicomposition of a pudding, it was her judgment cation of his desire to be introduced into the that mixed the ingredients. Then the poor wo- family, nor could we refuse his request. The man would sometimes tell the squire, that she painter was therefore set to work, and, as he thought him and Olivia extremely of a size, wrought with assiduity and expedition, in less and would bid both stand up to see which was than four days the whole was completed. The the tallest. These instances of cunning, which piece was large, and it must be owned he did she thought impenetrable, yet which every body not spare his colours; for which my wife gave saw through, were very pleasing to our bene- him great encomiums. We were all perfectly factor, who gave every day some new proofs of satisfied with his performance; but an unfora his passion, which, though they had not arisen tunate circumstance, which had not occurred to proposals of marriage, yet we thought fell till the picture was finished, now struck us but little short of it: and his slowness was with dismay. It was so very large, that we had sometimes attributed to native bashfulness, and no place in the house to fix it. How we all sometimes to his fear of offending his uncle. came to disregard so material a point is inconAn occurrence, however, which happened soon ceivable ; but certain it is, we had all been after, put it beyond a doubt, that he designed greatly remiss. This picture, therefore, instead to become one of our family; my wife even re- of gratifying our vanity, as we hoped, leaned in garded it as an absolute promise.
a most mortifying manner against the kitchen My wife and daughters happening to return wall, where the canvass was stretched and painta visit at neighbour Flamborough's, found that ed, much too large to be got through any of the family had lately got their pictures drawn by a doors, and the jest of all our neighbours. One limner, who travelled the country, and took compared it to Robinson Crusoe's long-boat, likenesses for fifteen shillings a head. As this too large to be removed ; another thought it family and ours had long a sort of rivalry in more resembled a reel in a bottle ; some wonpoint of taste, our spirit took the alarm at this dered how it could be got out, but still more stolen march upon us, and, notwithstanding all were amazed how it ever got in. I could say, and I said much, it was resolved But though it excited the ridicule of some, it that we should have our pictures done too. Ha- effectually raised more malicious suggestions in ving, therefore, engaged the limner, (for what many. The Squire's portrait being found united could I do?) our next deliberation was, to shew with ours, was an honour too great to escape the superiority of our taste in the attitudes. envy. Scandalous whispers began to circulate As for our neighbour's family, there were seven at our expence, and our tranquillity was conof them, and they were drawn with seven oranges tinually disturbed by persons who came as