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but six, I considered them as a very valuable ing, they had but one character—that of being present made to my country, and consequently all equally generous, credulous, simple, and inlooked upon it as my debtor. Our eldest son offensive. was named George, after his uncle, who left us ten thousand pounds. Our second child, a girl, I intended to call after her aunt Grissel ; but
CHAP. II. iny wife, who, during her pregnancy, had been reading romances, insisted upon her being call. Familymisfortunes--the loss of fortune only serves ed Olivia. In less than another year we had to increase the pride of the worthy. another daughter, and now I was determined that Grissel should be her name ; but a rich re- The temporal concerns of our family were lation taking a fancy to stand godmother, the chiefly committed to my wife's management ; girl was by her directions called Sophia ; so that as to the spiritual, I took them entirely under we had two romantic names in the family; but my own direction. The profits of my living, I solemnly protest I had no hand in it. Moses which amounted to about thirty-five pounds awas our next, and, after an interval of twelve year, I made over to the orphans and widows of years, we had two sons more.
the clergy of our diocese ; for, having a suffiIt would be fruitless to deny my exultation cient fortune of my own, I was careless of temwhen I saw my little ones about me; but the poralities, and felt a secret pleasure in doing my vanity and the satisfaction of my wife were even duty without reward. I also set a resolution of greater than mine. When our visitors would keeping no curate, and of being acquainted with say, "Well, upon my word, Mrs Primrose, you every man in the parish, exhorting the married have the finest children in the whole country.” men to temperance, and the bachelors to matri—“Ay, neighbour," she would answer, “ they mony; so that in a few years it was a common are as Heaven made them-handsome enough, saying, that there were three strange wants at if they be good enough; for handsome is, that Wakefield—a parson wanting pride, young men handsome does.” And then she would bid the wanting wives, and alebouses wanting cusgirls hold up their heads; who, to conceal no- tomers. thing, were certainly very handsome. Mere out- Matrimony was always one of my favourite side is so very trifling a circumstance with me, topics, and I wrote several sermons to prove its that I should scarce have remembered to men- happiness: but there was a peculiar tenet which tion it, had it not been a general topic of con- I made a point of supporting; for I maintainversation in the country. Olivia, now about ed, with Whiston, that it was unlawful for : eighteen, had that luxuriancy of beauty with priest of the Church of England, after the death which painters generally draw Hebe ; open, of his first wife, to take a second ; or, to express sprightly, commanding. Sophia's features were it in one word, I valued myself upon being a not so striking at first; but often did more cer- strict monogamist. tain execution ; for they were soft, modest, and I was early initiated into this important disalluring. The one vanquished by a single blow, pute, on which so many laborious volumes have the other by efforts successively repeated. been written. I published some tracts upon the
The temper of a woman is generally formed subject myself, which, as they never sold, I from the turn of her features; at least it was so have the consolation of thinking are read only with my daughters. Olivia wished for many by the happy few. Some of my friends called lovers ; Sophia to secure one. Olivia was often this my weak side ; but, alas! they had not, affected, from too great a desire to please ; So- like me, made it a subject of long contemplaphia even repressed excellence, from her fears tion. The more I reflected upon it, the more to offend. The one entertained me with her vi- important it appeared. I even went a step bevacity when I was gay, the other with her sense yond Whiston in displaying my principles. As when I was serious. But these qualities were he had engraven upon his wife's tomb that she never carried to excess in either, and I have was the only wife of William Wbiston ; so I often seen them exchange characters for a whole wrote a similar epitaph for my wife, though still day together. A suit of mourning has trans- living, in which I extolled her prudence, ecoformed my coquet into a prude, and a new set nomy, and obedience, till death ; and having of ribbons has given her youngest sister more got it copied fair, with an elegant frame, it was than natural vivacity. My eldest son, George, placed over the chimney-piece, where it answerwas bred at Oxford, as I intended him for one ed several very useful purposes. It admonished of the learned professions. My second boy, my wife of her duty to me, and my fidelity to Moses, whom 1 designed for business, received her; it inspired her with a passion for fame, a sort of miscellaneous education at home. But and constantly put her in mind of her end. it is needless to attempt describing the particu- It was thus, perhaps, from hearing marriage lar characters of young people that had seen but so often recommended, that my eldest son, just very little of the world. In short, a family like- upon leaving college, fixed his affections upon ness prevailed through all ; and, properly speakthe daughter of a neighbouring clergyman, who
was a dignitary in the church, and in circum- with some acrimony, which threatened to instances to give her a large fortune ; but fortune terrupt our intended alliance; but on the day bewas her smallest accomplishment. Miss Ara- fore that appointed for the ceremony, we agreed bella Wilmot was allowed by all (except my to discuss the subject at large. two daughters) to be completely pretty. Her It was managed with proper spirit on both youth, health, and innocence, were still height- sidles : he asserted that I was heterodox ; I reened by a complexion so transparent, and such torted the charge: he replied, and I rejoined. a happy sensibility of look, as even age could In the mean time, while the controversy was not gaze on with indifference. As Mr Wilmot hottest, I was called out by one of my relations, knew that I could make a very handsome set- who, with a face of concern, advised me to give tlement on my son, he was not averse to the up the dispute, at least till my son's wedding match ; so both families lived together in all
“ How !” cried I,“ relinquish the that harmony which generally precedes an ex- cause of truth, and let him be a husband, al. pected alliance. Being convinced, by experience, ready driven to the very verge of absurdity? that the days of courtship are the most happy You might as well advise me to give up my forof our lives, I was willing enough to lengthen tune as my argument.”—“ Your fortune," rethe period; and the various amusements which turned my friend, “ I am now sorry to inform the young couple every day shared in each you, is almost nothing. The merchant in town, other's company, seemed to increase their pas- in whose hands your money was lodged, has sion. We were generally awakened in the morn- gone off, to avoid a statute of bankruptcy, and is ing by music, and on fine days rode a hunting. thought not to have left a shilling in the pound. The hours between breakfast and dinner the la- I was unwilling to shock you or the family with dies devoted to dress and study ; they usually the account, till after the wedding ; but now it read a page, and then gazed at themselves in may serve to moderate your warınth in the arthe glass, which even philosophers might own gument; for I suppose your own prudence will often presented the page of greatest beauty. At enforce the necessity of dissembling, at least till dinner my wife took the lead ; for, as she ale your son has the young lady's fortune secure.” ways insisted upon carving every thing herself, “ Well,” returned I, “ if what you tell me it being her mother's way, she gave us, upon be true, and if I am to be a beggar, it shall these occasions, the history of every dish. When never make me a rascal, or induce me to diswe had dined, to prevent the ladies leaving us, avow my principles. I'll go this moment, and I generally ordered the table to be removed ; inform the company of my circumstances; and and sometimes, with the music-master's assist- as for the argument, I even here retract my ance, the girls would give us a very agreeable former concessions in the old gentleman's fa. concert. Walking out, drinking tea, country- vour, nor will I allow him now to be a husband dances, and forfeits, shortened the rest of the in any sense of the expression.” day, without the assistance of cards, as I hated It would be endless to describe the different all manner of gaming, except backgammon, at sensations of both families, when I divulged the which my old friend and I sometimes took a news of our misfortune ; but what others felt two-penny hit. Nor can I here pass over an was slight to what the lovers appeared to enominous circumstance that happened the last dure. Mr Wilmot, who seemed before suffitime we played together; I only wanted to fling ciently inclined to break off the match, was by a quatre, and yet I threw deuce-ace five times this blow soon determined ; one virtue he had running.
in perfection, which was prudence too often Some months were elapsed in this manner, the only one that is left us at seventy-two. till at last it was thought convenient to fix a day for the nuptials of the young couple, who seemed earnestly to desire it. During the pre
CHAP. III. parations for the wedding, I need not describe the busy importance of my wife, nor the sly A Migration-the fortunate circumstances of our looks of my daughters; in fact, my attention lives are generally found at last to be of our was fixed on another object~the completing a own procuring: tract which I intended shortly to publish, in defence of my favourite principle. As I looked The only hope of our family now was, that upon this as a masterpiece both for argument the report of our misfortunes might be maliciand style, I could not, in the pride of my heart, ous or premature ; but a letter from my agent avoid shewing it to my old friend, Mr Wilmot, in town soon came with a confirmation of every as I made no doubt of receiving his approba- particular. The loss of fortune to myself alone tion; but, not till too late, I discovered that he would have been trifling; the only uneasiness was most violently attached to the contrary opi. I felt was for my family, who were to be humnion, and with good reason ; for he was at that bled, without an education to render them caltime actually courting a fourth wife. This, as lous to contempt. may be expected, produced a dispute attended Near a fortnight had passed before I attempted to restrain their affliction ; for premature con- would act a good part, whether vanquished or solation is but the remembrancer of sorrow. victorious. During this interval, my thoughts were employ- His departure only prepared the way for our ed on some future means of supporting them; own, which arrived a few days afterwards. The and at last a small cure of fifteen pounds a-year leaving a neighbourhoor in which we had enwas offered me in a distant neighbourhood, joyed so many hours of tranquillity, was not where I could still enjoy my principles without without a tear, which scarce fortitude itself molestation. With this proposal I joyfully clo- could suppress. Besides, a journey of seventy sed, having determined to increase my salary by miles, to a family that had hitherto never been managing a little farin.
above ten from home, filled us with apprehenHaving taken this resolution, my next care sion, and the cries of the poor, who followed us was to get together the wrecks of my fortune ; for some miles, contributed to increase it. The and, all debts collected and paid, out of fourteen first day's journey brought us in safety within thousand pounds we had but four hundred re- thirty miles of our future retreat, and we put maining. My chief attention, therefore, was up for the night at an obscure inn, in a village now to bring down the pride of the family to by the way. When we were shewn a room, I their circumstances; for I well knew that aspi- desired the landlord, in my usual way, to let us ring beggary is wretchedness itself. “ You can- have his company, with which he complied, as 'not be ignorant, my children,” cried I, “ that what he drank would increase the bill next no prudence of ours could have prevented our morning. He knew, however, the whole neighlate misfortune ; but prudence may do much in bourhood to which I was removing, particulardisappointing its effects. We are now poor, my ly Squire Thornhill, who was to be my landlord, fondlings, and wisdom bids us to conform to and who lived within a few miles of the place. our humble situation. Let us then, without re- This gentleman he described as one who desired pining, give up those splendours with which to know little more of the world than its pleanumbers are wretched, and seek, in humble cir- sures, being particularly remarkable for his atcumstances, that peace with which all may be tachment to the fair sex. He observed, that no happy. The poor live pleasantly without our virtue was able to resist his arts and assiduity, help; why then should not we learn to live with- and that there was scarce a farmer's daughter out theirs ? No, my children, let us from this within ten miles round but what had found him moment give up all pretensions to gentility ; we successful and faithless. Though this account have still enough left for happiness, if we are gave me some pain, it had a very different effect wise, and let us draw upon content for the de- upon my daughters, whose features seemed to ficiencies of fortune.”
brighten with the expectation of an approaching As my eldest son was bred a scholar, I deter- triumph; nor was my wife less pleased and conmined to send him to town, where his abilities fident of their allurements and virtue. While might contribute to our support and his own. our thoughts were thus employed, the hostess The separation of friends and families is, per- entered the room to inform her husband, that haps, one of the most distressful circumstances the strange gentleman, who had been two days attendant on penury. The day soon arrived ou in the house, wanted money, and could not sawhich we were to disperse for the first time. tisfy them for his reckoning. “Want money!" My son, after taking leave of his mother and replied the host, “ that must be impossible ; for the rest, who mingled their tears with their it was no later than yesterday he paid three kisses, came to ask a blessing from me. This I guineas to our beadle to spare an old broken solgave him from my heart, and which, added to dier that was to be whipped through the town five guineas, was all the patrimony I had now for dog-stealing.” The hostess, however, still to bestow. “ You are going, my boy,” cried I, persisting in her first assertion, he was preparing
to London on foot, in the manner Hooker, to leave the room, swearing that he would be your great ancestor, travelled there before you. satisfied one way or another, when I begged the Take from me the same horse that was given landlord would introduce me to a stranger of so him by the good Bishop Jewel—this staff; and much charity as he described. With this he take this book too, it will be your comfort on complied, showing in a gentleman who seemed the way ; these two lines in it are worth a mil. to be about thirty, dressed in clothes that once lion- I have been young, and now am old; yet were laced. His person was well-formed, and never saw I the righteous man forsaken, nor his his face marked with the lines of thinking. He seed begging their bread. Let this be your con- had something short and dry in his address, and solation as you travel on. Go, my boy. What seemed not to understand ceremony, or to deever be thy fortune, let me see thee once a-year; spise it.: Upon the landlord's leaving the roon), still keep a good heart, and farewell.” As he I could not avoid expressing my concern for the was possessed of integrity and honour, I was stranger, at seeing a gentleman in such circumunder no apprehensions from throwing him na- stances, and offered him my purse to satisfy the ked into the ainphitheatre of life ; for I knew he present demand. “ I take it with all my heart, sir,” replied be, “and am glad that a late over- only one side of their character ; so that he besight, in giving what money I had about me, has gan to lose a regard for private interest in unishewn me, that there are still some men like versal sympathy. He loved all mankind ; for you. I must, however, previously entreat being fortune prevented him from knowing that they informed of the name and residence of my bene- were rascals. Physicians tell us of a disorder in factor, in order to repay him as soon as possible.' which the whole body is so exquisitely sensible, In this I satisfied him fully, not only mention- that the slightest touch gives pain : what some ing my name, and late misfortune, but the place have thus suffered in their persons, this gentleto which I was going to remove. “ This,” cried man felt in his mind. The slightest distress, he, “happens still more lucky than I hoped for, whether real or fictitious, touched him to the zs I am going the same way myself, having been quick, and his soul laboured under a sickly sendetained here two days by the floods, which, I sibility of the miseries of others. Thus disposed hope, by to-morrow, will be found passable.” I to relieve, it will be easily conjectured he found testified the pleasure I should have in his com- numbers disposed to solicit. His profusion bepany, and my wife and daughters joining in en- gan to impair his fortune, but not his good-natreaty, he was prevailed upon to stay supper. ture; that, indeed, was seen to increase as the The stranger's conversation, which was at once other seemed to decay ; he grew improvident, as pleasing and instructive, induced me to wish for he grew poor ; and though he talked like a man a continuance of it; but it was now high time of sense, his actions were those of a fool. Still, to retire, and take refreshment against the fa- however, being surrounded with importunity, tigues of the following day.
and no longer able to satisfy every request that The next morning we all set forward together: was inade of him, instead of money he gave promy family on horseback, while Mr Burchell, mises ; they were all he had to bestow, and he our new companion, walked along the foot-path had not resolution enough to give any man pain by the road-side, observing, with a smile, that by a denial. By this he drew round him crowds as we were ill mounted, he would be too gene- of dependants, whom he was sure to disappoint, rous to attempt leaving us behind. As the floods yet wished to relieve. These hung upon him for were not yet subsided, we were obliged to hire a time, and left him with merited reproaches and a guide, whọ trotted on before, Mr Burchell and contempt. But in proportion as he became conI bringing up the rear. We lightened the fa- temptible to others, he became despicable to tigues of the road with philosophical disputes, himself. His mind had leaned upon their aduwhich he seemed to understand perfectly. But lation, and, that support taken away, he could what surprised me most was, that, though he find no pleasure in the applause of his heart, was a money-borrower, he defended his opinions which he had never learned to reverence. The with as much obstinacy as if he had been my pa- world now began to wear a different aspect; the tron. He now and then also informed me to whom flattery of his friends began to dwindle into the different seats belonged that lay in our view simple approbation. Approbation soon took the as we travelled the road. “ That,” cried he, more friendly form of advice; and advice, when pointing to a very magnificent house which stood rejected, produced their reproaches. He now, at some distance, “ belongs to Mr Thornbill, a therefore, found that such friends as benefits young gentleman who enjoys a large fortune, had gathered round him, were little estimable ; though entirely dependant on the will of his he now found that a man's own heart must be uncle, Sir William Thorphill
, a gentleman who, ever given to gain that of another. I now found content with a little himself, permits his nephew that—that-I forgot what I was going to obto enjoy the rest, and chiefly resides in town." serve: in short, sir, he resolved to respect him-“What !” cried I, “is my young landlord, self, and laid down a plan of restoring his fallen then, the nephew of a man whose virtues, ge- fortune. For this purpose, in his own whimsinerosity, and singularities, are so universally cal manner, he travelled through Europe on known? I have heard Sir William Thornhill foot; and now, though he has scarce attained represented as one of the most generous, yet the age of thirty, his circumstances are more whimsical, men in the kingdom ; a man of con- affluent than ever. At present his bounties are summate benevolence.” Something, perhaps, more rational and moderate than before ; but he too much so,” replied Mr Burchell : “ at least still preserves the character of a humourist, and he carried benevolence to an excess when young; finds most pleasure in eccentric virtues.” - for his passions were then strong, and as they My attention was so much taken up by Mr all were upon the side of virtue, they led it up Burchell's account, that I scarce looked forward to a romantic extreme. He early began to aim as we went along, till we were alarmed by the at the qualifications of the soldier and the scho- cries of my family; when, turning, I perceivel lar; was soon distinguished in the army, and my youngest daughter in the midst of a rapid had some reputation among men of learning stream, thrown from her horse, and struggling Adulation ever follows the ambitious ; for such with the torrent. She had sunk twice, nor was alone receive most pleasure from flattery. He it in my power to disengage myself in time to was surrounded with crowds, who shewed him bring her relief. My sensations were even too violent to permit my attempting her rescue: she predecessor's good-wili. Nothing could exceed must have certainly perished, had not my com- the neatness of my little enclosures, the elms and panion, perceiving her danger, instantly plun- hedge-rows appearing with inexpressible beauged in to her relief, and, with some difficulty, ty. My house consisted of but one story, and brought her in safety to the opposite shore. By was covered with thatch, which gave it an air of taking the current a little farther up, the rest of great snugness; the walls on the inside were nicethe family got safely over, where we had an op- ly white-washed, and my daughters undertook portunity of joining our acknowledgments to to adorn them with pictures of their own designhers. Her gratitude may be more readily ima- ing. Though the same room served us for pargined than described ; she thanked her deliver- lour and kitchen, that only made it the warmer. er more with looks than words, and continued Besicles, as it was kept with the utmost neatness, to lean upon his arm, as if still willing to receive the dishes, plates, and coppers, being well scourassistance. My wife also hoped one day to have ed, and all disposed in bright rows on the shelves, the pleasure of returning his kindness at her own the eye was agreeably relieved, and did not want house. Thus, after we were refreshed at the next rich furniture. There were three other apartinn, and had dined together, as Mr Burchell was ments-one for my wife and me, another for our going to a different part of the country, he took two daughters within our own, and the third, Icave; and we pursued our journey, my wife ob- with two beds, for the rest of the children. serving, as we went, that she liked him extreme- The little republic to which I gave laws, was ly, and protesting, that if he had birth and for- regulated in the following manner : By suntune to entitle him to match into such a family rise we all assembled in our common apartas ours, she knew no man she would sooner fix ment, the fire being previously kindled by the upon. I could not but smile to hear her talk in servant; after we had saluted each other with this lofty strain ; but I was never much displea- proper ceremony, (for I always thought fit to sed with those harmless delusions that tend to keep up some mechanical forms of good breedmake us more happy.
ing, without which, freedom ever destroys
friendship,) we all bent in gratitude to that BeCHAP. IV.
ing who gave us another day. This duty being performed, my son and I went to pursue our
usual industry abroad, while my wife and my A Proof that even the humblest Fortune may grant daughters employed themselves in providing
Happiness, which depends not on Circumstances, breakfast, which was always ready at a certain but Constitution.
time. I allowed half an hour for this meal, and
an hour for dinner ; which time was taken up The place of our retreat was in a little neigh, in innocent mirth between my wife and daughbourhood, consisting of farmers, who tilled their ters, and in philosophical arguments between own grounds, and were equal strangers to opu- my son and me. lence and poverty. As they had almost all the As we rose with the sun, so we never pursued conveniences of life within themselves, they sel- our labour after it was gone down, but returned dom visited towns or cities in search of superflu- home to the expecting family; where smiling ities. Remote from the polite, they still retain- looks, a neat hearth, and pleasant fire, were ed the primeval simplicity of manners; and prepared for our reception. Nor were we withfrugal by habit, they scarce knew that tempe- out guests; sometimes Farmer Flamborough, rance was a virtue. They wrought with cheer- our talkative neighbour, and often the blind fulness on days of labour, but observed festivals piper, would pay us a visit, and taste our gooseas intervals of idleness and pleasure. They kept berry-wine ; for the making of which we had up the Christmas carol, sent true-love knots on lost neither the receipt nor the reputation. These Valentine-morning, eat pancakes on Shrovetide, harmless people had several ways of being good shewed their wit on the first of April, and reli- company; for while one played, the other would giously cracked nuts on Michaelmas-eve. Being sing some soothing ballad, Jobnny Armstrong's apprized of our approach, the whole neighbour- Last Good-night, or the cruelty of Barbara Allen. hood came out to meet their minister, dressed in The night was concluded in the manner we betheir fine clothes, and preceded by a pipe and gan the morning, my youngest boys being aptabor; a feast also was provided for our recep- pointed to read the lessons of the day; and he tion, at which we sat cheerfully down; and what that read loudest, distinctest, and best, was to the conversation wanted in wit, was made up in have a halfpenny on Sunday, to put into the laughter.
poor's box. Our little habitation was situated at the foot When Sunday came, it was indeed a day of of a sloping hill, sheltered with a beautiful un- finery, which all my sumptuary edicts could not derwood behind, and a prattling rivulet before; restrain. How well soever I fancied my lectures on one side a meadow, on the other a green. My against pride had conquered the vanity of my farm consisted of about twenty acres of excellent daughters, yet I still found them secretly atland, having given a hundred pounds for my tached to all their former finery; they still lo