« PreviousContinue »
“ L. Aim. You have done nothing but what's very “ right, my lad ; don't make yourself uneasy." How now, master Fairfield, what brings you here?
Fai. I am come, my lord, to thank you for your bounty to me and my daughter this morning, and most humbly to intreat your lordship to receive it at our hands again.
1. Aim. Ay-why, what's the matter?
Fai. I don't know, my lord ; it seems your generosity to my poor girl has been noised about the neighbourhood ; and some evil-minded people have put it into the young man's head, that was to marry her, that you would never have made her a present so much above her deserts and expectations, if it had not been upon some naughty account : now, my lord, I am a poor man, 'tis true, and a mean one ; but I and my father, and my father's father, have lived tenants upon your lordship's estate, where we have always been known for honest men; and it shall never be said, that Fairfield, the iniller, became rich in his old days by the wages of his child's shame.
L. Aim. What then, Master Fairfield, do you believe
Fai. No, my lord, no, Heaven forbid : but when I consider the sum, it is too much for us; “ it is in“ deed, my lord,” and enough to make bad folks talk: besides, my poor girl is greatly alter'd ; she us'd to be the life of every place she came into; but since her being at home, I have seen nothing from her but sadness and watery eyes.
L. Aim. The farmer then refuses to marry Patty, notwithstanding their late reconciliatian.
Fai. Yes, my lord, he does indeed; and has made a wicked noise, and used us in a very base manner : I did not think farmer Giles would have been so ready to believe such a thing of us.
129 Į. Aim. Well, Master Fairfield, I will not press on you a donation, the rejection of which does you so much credit ; you may take my word, however, that your fears upon this occasion are entirely groundless ; but this is not enough, as I have been the means of losing your daughter one husband, it is but just I should get her another; and, since the farmer is so scrupulous, there is a young man in the house here, whom I have some influence over, and I dare say he will be less squeamish.
139 Fai. To be sure, my lord, you have, in all honest ways, a right to dispose of me and mine, as you think proper.
1. Aim. Go then immediately, and bring Patty hither ; I shall not be easy till I have given you entire satisfaction. But, stay and take a letter, which I am stepping into my study to write: I'll order a chaise to be got ready, that you may go back and forward with greater expedition.
Teach to servile minds your law;
Ev'ry motion keep in awe.
Shall I, in thy trammels going,
Quit the idol of my heart?
With my life I'll sooner part.
FANNY following RALPH.
Fan. Lord, I never knowed such a man as you are, since I com'd into the world ; a body can't speak to you, but you falls strait ways into a passion : I followed you up from the house, only you run so, there was no such a thing as overtaking you, and I have been waiting there at the back door ever so long.
165 Ral. Well, and now you may go and wait at the fore door, if you like it : but I forewarn you and your gang not to keep lurking about our mill any longer ;
for if you do, I'll send the constable after you, and have you, every mother's skin, clapt into the county gaol, you are such a pack of thieves, one can't hang so much as a rag to dry for you : it was but the other day that a couple of them came into our kitchen to beg a handful of dirty flour to make them cakes, and before the wench could turn about, they had whip. ped off three brass candlesticks, and a pot-lid,
Fan. Well, sure it was not I.
call father ; the last time I catch'd him laying snares for the hares, I told him I'd inform the game-keeper, and I'll expose
181 Fan. Ah, dear Ralph, don't be angry with me.
Ral. Yes I will be angry with you what do you come nigh me for?-You shan't touch me-There's the skirt of my coat, and if you do but lay a finger on it, my lord's bailiff is here in the court, and I'll call him and give you to him.
Fan. If you'll forgive me, I'll go down on my knees,
189 Ral. I tell you I won't.-No, no, follow your gentleman; or go live upon your old fare, crows and polecats, and sheep that die of the rot; pick the dead fowl off the dung-hills, and squench your thirst at the next ditch, 'tis the fittest liquor to wash down şuch dainties--skulking about from barn to barn, and lying upon wet straw, on commons, and in green lanes-go and be whipt from parish to parish, as you Yaed to bę,
Fan. How can you talk so unkind ?
199 Ral. And see whether you will get what will keep you as I did, by telling of fortunes, and coming with pillows under your apron, among
young farmers wives, to make believe you are a breeding, with “ the Lord Almighty bless you, sweet mistress, you cannot tell how soon it may be your own case.” You know I am acquainted with all your tricks and how
you turn up the whites of your eyes, pretending you were struck blind by thunder and lightning,
Fan. Pray don't be angry, Ralph.
Ral. Yes but I will tho'; spread your cobwebs to catch flies, I am an old wasp, and don't value them a button.
When you meet a tender creature,
Prove as kind again to she;
And be fond, as fond can be.
But if one you meet that's froward,
'Tis to mend her ne'er the whit: