« PreviousContinue »
but yet it is natural for me to wish putting my pen every day; and as ladies of quality are so children forward in the world. And I will be taken with my daughters, what will not men of bold to say, my two girls have had a pretty quality be?-Entre nous, I protest I like my lady good education and capacity; at least the coun Blarney vastly; so very obliging. However, try can't shew better. They can read, write, Miss Carolina Wilelmina Amelia Skeggs has my and cast accounts; they understand their needle, warm heart. But yet, when they came to talk broadstitch, cross-and-change, and all manner of places in town, you saw at once how I nailed of plain work; they can pink, point, and frill; them. Tell me, my dear, don't you think I did and know something of music; they can do up for my children there?"-"Ay,' returned I, not small clothes, and work upon catgut; my eldest knowing well what to think of the matter;"heacan cut paper, and my youngest has a very ven grant they may be both the better for it this pretty manner of telling fortunes upon the day three months !” This was one of those ob cards." Fudge!
servations I made to impress my wife with an When she had delivered this pretty piece of opinion of my sagacity: for if the girls succeed. eloquence, the two ladies looked at each other a ed, then it was a pious wish fulfilled; but if any few minutes in silence, with an air of doubt and thing unfortunate ensued, then it might be lookimportance. At last Miss Carolina Wilelmina ed upon as a prophecy. All this conversation, Amelia Skeggs condescended to observe, “ that however, was only preparatory to another scheme, the young ladies, from the opinion she could and indeed I dreaded as much. This was noform of them from so slight an acquaintance, thing less than, as we were now to hold up our seemed very fit for such employments; but a heads a little higher in the world, it would be thing of this kind, madam," cried she, address. proper to sell the colt, which was grown old, at ing my spouse,“ requires a thorough examina- à neighbouring fair, and buy us a horse that ation into characters, and a more perfect know would carry single or double upon an occasion, ledge of each other. Not, madam," continued and make a pretty appearance at church, or upshe, “ that I in the least suspect the young la- on a visit. This at first I opposed stoutly, but it dies' virtue, prudence, and discretion; but there was as stoutly defended. However, as I weakenis a form in these things, madam, there is a ed, my antagonists gained strength, till at last form." Fudge !
it was resolved to part with him. My wife approved her suspicions very much, As the fair happened on the following day, I observing, that she was very apt to be suspicious had intentions of going myself; but my wife perherself; but referred her to all the neighbours suaded me that I had got a cold, and nothing for a character : but this our peeress declined, could prevail upon her to permit me from home. as unnecessary, alleging that her cousin Thorna “No, my dear,” said she, " our son Moses is a hill's recommendation would be sufficient; and discreet boy, and can buy and sell to very good upon this we rested our petition.
advantage ; you know all our great bargains arc of his purchasing. He always stands out and
higgles, and actually tires them till he gets a CHAP. XII.
As I had some opinion of my son's prudence, Fortune seems resolved to humble the family of I was willing enough to entrust him with this
Wakefield-mortifications are often more pain commission: and the next morning I perceived ful than real calamities.
his sisters mighty busy in fitting out Moses for
the fair; trimming his hair, brushing his buckles, When we were returned home, the night was and cocking his bat with pins. The business of dedicated to schemes of future conquest. De- the toilet being over, we had at last the satisborah exerted much sagacity in conjecturing faction of seeing him mounted upon the colt, which of the two girls was likely to have the best with a deal-box before him to bring home groplace, and most opportunities of seeing good ceries in. He had on a coat maile of that cloth company. The only obstacle to our preferment they call thunder-and-lightning, which, though was in obtaining the squire's recommendation; grown too short, was much too good to be thrown but he had already shewn us too many instances away. His waistcoat was of gosling green; and of his friendship to doubt of it now. Even in his sisters had tied his hair with a broad black bed my wife kept up the usual theme: “Well, ribbon. We all followed him several paces from faith, my dear Charles, between ourselves, I the door, bawling after him, “Good luck! good think we have made an excellent day's work of luck!” till we could see him no longer. it.”_" Pretty well," cried I, not knowing what He was scarce gone, when Mr Thornhill's butto say." What, only pretty well?" returned ler came to congratulate us upon our good forshe: “ I think it is very well. Suppose the girls tune, saying, that he overheard his young masshould come to make acquaintance of taste in ter mention our names with great commendatown! This I am assured of, that London is the tion. . only place in the world for all manner of hus- Good fortune seemed resolved not to come bands. Besides, my dear, stranger things hap- alone. Another footman from the same family followed, with a card for my daughters, importe cried my wife, “ that we know, but where is ing, that the two ladies had received such plea- the horse?"_“I have sold him," cried Moses, sing accounts from Mr Thornhill of us all, that, “for three pounds five shillings and two-pence.” after a few previous inquiries, they hoped to be -" Well done, my good boy,"returned she, “I perfectly satisfied. “Ay,” cried my wife, “I knew you would touch them off. Between ournow see it is no easy matter to get into the fa- selves, three pounds five shillings and two-pence milies of the great, but when one once gets in, is no bad day's work. Come, let us have it then.” then, as Moses says, one may go to sleep.”-To -“I have brought back no money,” cried Moses this piece of humour, for she intended it for wit, again. “ I have laid it all out in a bargain, and my daughters assented with a loud laugh of plea« here it is,” pulling out a bundle from his breast; sure. In short, such was her satisfaction at this “here they are ; a gross of green spectacles, with message, that she actually put her hand in her silver rims and shagreen cases.”-“A gross of pocket, and gave the messenger seven-pence half- green spectacles !” repeated my wife, in a faint penny.
voice. « And you have parted with the colt, This was to be our visiting day. The next and brought us back nothing but a gross of green that came was Mr Burchell, who had been at the paltry spectacles !"-"Dear mother,” cried the fair. He brought my little ones a pennyworih boy, “why won't you listen to reason? I had of ginger-bread each, which my wife undertook them a dead bargain, or I should not have bought to keep for them, and give them by letters at a them. The silver rims alone will sell for double time. He brought my daughters also a couple the money.”_"A fig for the silver rims !" cried of boxes, in which they might keep wafers, snuff, my wife, in a passion: “I dare swear they won't patches, or even money, when they got it. My sell for above half the money, at the rate of wife was usually fond of a weasel-skin purse, as broken silver, five shillings an ounce."-"You being the most lucky; but this by the by. We need be under no uneasiness," cried I, “ about had still a regard for Mr Burchell, though his selling the rims, for they are not worth sixpence, late rude behaviour was in some measure dis- for I perceive they are only copper, varnished pleasing ; nor could we now avoid communica. over." " What," cried my wife, “ not silver ! ting our happiness to him, and asking his advice: the rims not silver !"-"No," cried I, “no more although we seldom followed advice, we were all silver than your saucepan.”_" And so," returnready enough to ask it. When he read the note ed she, “ we have parted with the colt, and have from the two ladies, he shook his head, and ob- only got a gross of green spectacles, with copserved, that an affair of this sort demanded the per rims and shagreen cases ! A murrain take utmost circumspection. This air of diffidence such trumpery. The blockhead has been imhighly displeased my wife. “ I never doubted, posed upon, and should have known his company sir," cried she, “ your readiness to be against my better !"-" There, my dear,” cried I, “ you are daughters and me. You have more circumspecwrong; he should not have known them at all.” tion than is wanted. However, I fancy when -“Marry, hang the idiot!" returned she, “ to we come to ask advice, we shall apply to persons bring me such stuff; if I had them, I would who seem to have made use of it themselves.”— throw them in the fire."-" There again you are “ Whatever my own conduct may have been, wrong, my dear,” cried I ;“ for though they be madam,” replied he, “ is not the present ques- copper, we will keep them by us, as copper spection; though, as I have made no use of advice tacles, you know, are better than nothing." myself, I should in conscience give it to those By this time the unfortunate Moses was undethat will.” As I was apprehensive this answerceived. He now saw that he had indeed been might draw on a repartee, making up by abuse imposed upon by a prowling sharper, who, obwhat it wanted in wit, I changed the subject, serving his figure, had marked him for an easy by seeming to wonder what could keep our son prey. I therefore asked him the circumstances so long at the fair, as it was now almost night of his deception. He sold the horse, it seems, fall. “ Never mind our son," cried my wife; and walked the fair in search of another. A re“ depend upon it he knows what he is about. verend-looking man brought him to a tent, unI'll warrant we'll never see him sell his hen on a der pretence of having one to sell. “ Here," rainy day. I have seen him buy such bargains continued Moses, “ we met another man, very as would amaze one. I'll tell you a good story well dressed, who desired to borrow twenty about that, that will make you split your sides pounds upon these, saying that he wanted mowith laughing. But as I 'live, yonder comes ney, and would dispose of them for a third of Moses, without a horse, and the box at his back.” the value. The first gentleman, who pretended
As she spoke, Moses came slowly on foot, and to be my friend, whispered me to buy them, and sweating under the deal-box, which he had cautioned me not to let so good an offer pass. I strapped round his shoulders like a pedlar. “Wel- sent for Mr Flamborough, and they talked him come! welcome, Moses ! well, my boy, what have up as finely as they did me; and so at last we you brought us from the fair?"_“I have brought were persuaded to buy the two gross between you myself,” cried Moses, with a sly look, and us." resting the box on the dresser. "Ay, Moses,"
“ no; I declare off; I ll fight no more: for I
find, in every battle, that you get all the honour CHAP. XIII.
and rewards, but all the blows fall upon me.”
I was going to moralize upon this fable, when Mr Burchell is found to be an enemy; for he has our attention was called off to a warm dispute the confidence to give disag reeable advice. between my wife and Mr Burchell, upon my
daughters' intended expedition to town. My Our family had now made several attempts to wife very strenuously insisted upon the advanbe fine; but some unforeseen disaster demolish- tages that would result from it. Mr Burchell, ed each as soon as projected. I endeavoured to on the contrary, dissuaded her with great ardour, take the advantage of every disappointment, to and I stood neuter. His present dissuasions improve their good sense, in proportion as they seemed but the second part of those which were were frustrated in ambition. “You see, my received with so ill a grace in the morning. The children,” cried I,“ how little is to be got by dispute grew high, while poor Deborah, instead attempts to impose upon the world, in coping of reasoning stronger, talked louder, and at last with our betters. Such as are poor, and will as- was obliged to take shelter from a defeat in clasociate with none but the rich, are hated by those mour. The conclusion of her harangue, howthey avoid, and despised by those they follow. ever, was highly displeasing to us all; she knew, Unequal combinations are always disadvanta- she said, of some who had their secret reasons for geous to the weaker side; the rich having the what they advised; but for her part, she wished pleasure, and the poor the inconveniences, that such to stay away from her house for the future. result from them. But come, Dick, my boy, and “Madam," cried Burchell, with looks of great repeat the fable you were reading to-day, for the composure, which tended to inflame her the good of the company.
more, “ as for secret reasons, you are right; I “Once upon a time,” cried the child," a giant have secret reasons, which I forbear to mention, and a dwarf were friends, and kept together. because you are not able to answer those of which They made a bargain that they never would for. I make no secret: but I find my visits here are sake each other, but go seek adventures. The become troublesome; I'll take my leave therefirst battle they fought was with two Saracens; fore now, and perhaps come once more to take a and the dwarf, who was very courageous, dealtfinal farewell when I am quitting the country.” one of the champions a most angry blow. It did Thus saying, he took up his hat, nor could the the Saracen but very little injury, who, lifting attempts of Sophia, whose looks seemed to upup his sword, fairly struck off the poor dwarf's braid his precipitancy, prevent his going. arm. He was now in a woeful plight; but the When gone, we all regarded each other for giant coming to his assistance, in a short time some minutes with confusion. My wife, who left the two Saracens dead on the plain, and the knew herself to be the cause, strove to hide her dwarf cut off the dead man's head out of spite. concern with a forced smile, and an air of assuThey then travelled on to another adventure. rance, which I was willing to reprove: “How, This was against three bloody-minded satyrs, woman," cried I to her, « is it thus we treat who were carrying away a damsel in distress. strangers ? Is it thus we return their kindness? The dwarf was not quite so fierce now as before; Be assured, my dear, that these were the harshbut for all that struck the first blow, which was est words, and to me the most unpleasing, that returned by another that knocked out his eye; ever escaped your lips !” “Why would he probut the giant was soon up with them, and, had voke me then?” replied she ; " but I know the they not fled, would certainly have killed them motives of his advice perfectly well. He would every one. They were all very joyful for this prevent my girls from going to town, that he victory, and the damsel who was relieved fell in may have the pleasure of my youngest daughter's love with the giant, and married him. They company here at home. But, whatever happens, now travelled far, and farther than I can tell, till she shall choose better company than such lowthey met with a company of robbers. The giant, lived fellows as he."-"Low-lived, my dear, do for the first time, was foremost now: but the you call him ?” cried I; “it is very possible we dwarf was not far behind. The battle was stout may mistake this man's character; for he seems, and long. Wherever the giant came, all fell be- upon some occasions, the most finished gentlefore him ; but the dwarf had like to have been man I ever knew. Tell me, Sophia, my girl, killed more than once. At last the victory de- has he ever given you any secret instances of his clared for the two adventurers; but the dwarf attachment}"_" His conversation with me, lost his leg. The dwarf had now lost an arm, sir," replied my daughter, “ has ever been sena leg, and an eye, while the giant was without a sible, modest, and pleasing. As to aught else ; single wound. Upon which he cried out to his no, never. Once indeed I remember to have little companion, “ My little hero, this is glori- heard him say, he never knew a woman who could ous sport; let us get one victory more, and then find merit in a man that seemed poor."-"Such, we shall have honour for ever.”_"No,” cries my dear,” cried I, “ is the common cant of all the dwarf, who by this time was grown wiser, the unfortunate or idle. But I hope you have been taught to judge properly of such men, and a second came up, but observing he had a spa. that it would be even madness to expect happi- vin, declared he would not take him for the dri, ness from one who has been so very bad an eco- ving home; a third perceived he had a wind. nomist 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 venera* Fresh 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 grati. bouring 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 I, 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 anywhere." teem."-" 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 lespaused 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 1." 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, As- 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 cosmogouy, and the world?" To could say much if he thought proper. The sub- this I replied with a groan. “Ay," continued ject, 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