« PreviousContinue »
& scholar in company; but I know the rogue, knowledge of, under the character of companiand will catch him yet."
ons. 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 rem thor 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 unrestrainer 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 in80 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 her Castle." 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 jokes go 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 fancied see 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 İ, “ 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,” reset 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 : so I resolved to treat him ungratefully, presume to write this letter"in a style of more severity myself. “Both wit “And how came you,” replied he, with looks of and understanding,” cried I, “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." “ 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 unwore 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, “we 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 mis “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 ti. the 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 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 rote, 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 indi. composition 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 unforhis 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
friends to tell us what was said of us by ene- dam,” returned he, “ it is impossible to know mies. These reports were always resented with any person that deserves to be her husband : becoming spirit; but scandal ever improves by she's too great a treasure for one man's possesopposition.
sion ; she is a goddess. Upon my soul, I speak We once, again, therefore, entered into con- what I think, she is angel.”—“Ah, Mr Thornsultation upon obviating the malice of our ene- hill, you only flatter my poor girl : but we have mies, and at last came to a resolution which had been thinking of marrying her to one of your too much cunning to give me entire satisfaction. tenants, whose mother is lately dead, and who It was this : as our principal object was to dis- wants a manager; you know whom I mean, cover the honour of Mr Thornhill's addresses, Farmer Williams; a warm man, Mr Thornmy wife undertook to sound him, by pretend- hill, able to give her good bread; and who has ing to ask his advice in the choice of a husband several times made her proposals :" (which was for her eldest daughter. If this was not found actually the case.) “ But, sir,” concluded she, sufficient to induce him to a declaration, it was “ I should be glad to have your approbation of then resolved to terrify him with a rival. To our choice."-" How, madam,” replied he, this last step, however, I would by no means “ my approbation ! My approbation of such give my consent, till Olivia gave me the most a choice? Never. What! sacrifice so much solemn assurances that she would marry the beauty, and sense, and goodness, to a creature person provided to rival him upon this occasion, insensible of the blessing! Excuse me, I can if he did not prevent it by taking her himself. never approve of such a piece of injustice ! And Such was the scheme laid, which, though I did I have my reasons"=" Indeed, sir,” cried not strenuously oppose, I did not entirely ap- Deborah, “ if you have your reasons, that's anprove.
other affair; but I should be glad to know those . The next time, therefore, that Mr Thornhill reasons.”_"Excuse me, madam," returned he, came to see us, my girls took care to be out of " they lie too deep for discovery,” (laying his the way, in order to give their mamma an op- hand upon his bosom,) “ they remain buried, portunity of putting her scheme in execution; rivetted here." but they only retired to the next room, from After he was gone, upon a general consulta. whence they could overhear the whole conver- tion, we could not tell what to make of these sation : my wife artfully introduced it by ob- fine sentiments. Olivia considered them as inserving, that cne of the Miss Flamboroughs stances of the most exalted passion; but I was was like to have a very good match of it in Mr not quite so sanguine: it seemed to me pretty Spanker. To this the Squire assenting, she pro- plain, that they had more of love than matriceeded to remark, that they who had warm for- mony in them; yet, whatever they might portunes were always sure of getting good hus- tend, it was resolved to prosecute the scheme of bands :-“ But Heaven help,” continued she, Farmer Williams, who, from my daughter's “ the girls who have none! What signifies first appearance in the country, had paid her his beauty, Mr Thornhill ? or what signifies all the addresses. virtue and all the qualifications in the world, in this age of self-interest? It is not, What is she? but what has she? is all the cry.”
CHAP. XVII. “Madam,” returned he, “ I highly approve the justice, as well as the novelty, of your re- Scarcely any Virtue found to resist the power of marks ; and if I were king, it should be other
long and pleasing Temptation. wise. It should then, indeed, be fine times for the girls without fortunes; our two young la- As I only studied my child's real happiness, dies should be the first for whom I would pro- the assiduity of Mr Williams pleased me, as he vide,"
was in easy circumstances, prudent, and sincere. " Ah! sir," returned my wife, “ you are It required but very little encouragement to repleased to be facetious: but I wish I were a vive his former passion; so that in an evening queen, and then I know where my eldest daugh- or two he and Mr Thornhill met at our house, ter should look for a husband. But now that and surveyed each other for some time with you have put it into my head, seriously, Mr looks of anger : but Williams owed his landThornhill, can't you recommend me a proper lord no rent, and little regarded his indignation. husband for her ? she is now nineteen years Olivia, on her side, acted the coquet to perfecold, well grown, and well educated ; and, in tion, if that might be called acting which was my humble opinion, does not want for parts.” her real character, pretending to lavish all her
"Madam,' replied he, “ if I were to choose, tenderness on her new lover. Mr Thornhill I would find out a person possessed of every appeared quite dejected at this preference, and, accomplishment that can make an angel happy with a pensive air, took leave; though I own One with prudence, fortune, taste, and sinceri. it puzzled me to find him in so much pain as ty: such, madam, would be, in my opinion, the he appeared to be, when he had it in his power proper husband."-"Ay, sir,” said she, “but so easily to remove the cause, by declaring an do you know of any such person?"-"No, ma- honourable passion. But whatever uneasiness he seemed to endure, it could easily be percei- lity, which I looked upon as resignation. For ved that Olivia's anguish was much greater my own part, I was now sincerely pleased with After any of these interviews between her thinking that my child was going to be secured lovers, of which there were several, she usually in a continuance of competence and peace, and retired to solitude, and there indulged her frequently applauded her resolution, in prefergrief. It was in such a situation I found her ring happiness to ostentation. one evening, after she had been for some time It was within about four days of her intendsupporting a fictitious gaiety. “ You now see, ed nuptials, that my little family at night were my child," said I,“ that your confidence in Mr gathered round a charming fire, telling stories Thornhill's passion was all a dream ; he per- of the past, and laying schemes for the future; mits the rivalry of another, every way his in- busied in forming a thousand projects, and ferior, though he knows it lies in his power to laughing at whatever folly came uppermost. secure you to bimself by a candid declaration.” “Well, Moses,” cried I, “ we shall soon, my
_“Yes, papa,” returned she, “but he has his boy, have a wedding in the family; what is reasons for this delay; I know he has. The your opinion of matters, and things in gesincerity of his looks and words convinces me neral ?”—“ My opinion, father, is, that all of his real esteem. A short time, I hope, will things go on very well; and I was just now discover the generosity of his sentiments, and thinking, that when sister Livy is married to convince you that my opinion of him has been Farmer Williams, we shall then have the loan more just than yours.”-“ Olivia, my darling," of his cyder-press and brewing-tubs for no. returned I, “ every scheme that has been him thing." " That we shall, Moses," cried I, therto pursued to compel him to a declaration, “and he will sing us Death and the Lady, to has been proposed and planned by yourself, nor raise our spirits, into the bargain."-" He has can you in the least say that I have constrained taught that song to our Dick,” cried Moses, you. But you must not suppose, my dear, that " and I think he goes through it very prettiI will ever be instrumental in suffering his ly.”—“ Does he so ?” cried I, “ then let us honest rival to be the dupe of your ill-placed have it: where is little Dick ? let him up with passion. Whatever time you require to bring it boldly.” “ My brother Dick," cried Bill, my your fancied admirer to an explanation, shall youngest, “ is just gone out with sister Livy; be granted; but at the expiration of that term, but Mr Williams has taught me two songs, and if he is still regardless, I must absolutely insist I'll sing them for you, papa. Which song do that honest Mr Williams shall be rewarded for you choose - The Dying Swan ; or the Elegy his fidelity. The character which I have him on the Death of a Mad Dog ?" : « The elegy, therto supported in life demands this from me; child, by all means," said Í, “ I never heard and my tenderness as a parent shall never in- that yet-and Deborah, my life, grief, you fluence my integrity as a man. Name, then, know, is dry; let us have a bottle of the best your day; let it be as distant as you think pro- gooseberry-wine, to keep up our spirits. I per, and in the meantime take care to let Mr have wept so much at all sorts of elegies of late, Thornhill know the exact time on which I de that, without an enlivening glass, I am sure sign delivering you up to another. If he really this will overcome me. And Sophy, love, take loves you, his own good sense will readily sug- your guitar, and thrum in with the boy a little." gest that there is but one method alone to prevent his losing you for ever." This proposal,
AN ELEGY which she could not avoid considering as perfectly just, was readily agreed to. She again
On the Death of a Mad Dog. renewed her most positive promise of marrying Mr Williams, in case of the other's insensi
Good people all, of every sort,
Give ear unto my song ; bility; and at the next opportunity, in Mr
And if you find it wondrous short, Thornhill's presence, that day month was fixed
It cannot hold you long. upon for her nuptials with his rival.
Such vigorous proceedings seemed to re In Islington there was a man, double Mr Thornbill's anxiety : but what Oli
Of whom the world might say, via really felt gave me some uneasiness. In That still a godly race he ran, this struggle between prudence and passion, Whene'er he went to pray. her vivacity quite forsook her, and every opportunity of solitude was sought, and spent in
A kind and gentle heart he had, tears. One week passed away; but Mr Thorn
To comfort friends and foes ; hill made no efforts to restrain her nuptials.
The naked every day he clad,
When he put on his clothes. The succeeding week he was still assiduous, but not more open. On the third, he discon.
And in that town a dog was found ; tinued his visits entirely; and instead of my As many dogs there be, daughter testifying any impatience, as I ex Both mongrel, puppy, whelp, and hound, pected, she seemed to retain a pensive tranquil. And cur of low degree.