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keep to companions of our own rank. was known in our neighbourhood by the There is no character more contemptible character of the poor gentleman, that than a man that is a fortune-hunter; and would do no good when he was young, I can see no reason why fortune-hunting though he was not yet thirty. He would women should not be contemptible too. at intervals talk with great good sense; Thus, at best, we shall be contemptible if but, in general, he was fondest of the his views are honourable; but if they be company of children, whom he used to otherwise !-I should shudder but to think call harmless little men. He was famous, of that. It is true, I have no apprehen- I found, for singing them ballads, and sions from the conduct of my children ; telling them stories, and seldom went out but I think there are some from his cha- without something in his pockets for them racter.” I would have proceeded, but -a piece of gingerbread, or an halfpenny for the interruption of a servant from the whistle. He generally came for a few Squire, who, with his compliments, sent days into our neighbourhood once a year, us a side of venison, and a promise to dine and lived upon the neighbours' hospitality. with us some days after. This well-timed He sat down to supper among us, and my present pleaded more powerfully in his wife was not sparing of her gooseberryfavour than anything I had to say could wine. The tale went round; he sung us obviate. I therefore continued silent, old songs, and gave the children the story satisfied with just having pointed out of the Buck of Beverland, with the history danger, and leaving it to their own discre- of Patient Grissel, the adventures of Cat. tion to avoid it. That virtue which re- skin, and then Fair Rosamond's Bower. quires to be ever guarded is scarce worth Our cock, which always crew at eleven, the sentinel.
now told us it was time for repose ; but
an unforeseen difficulty started about lodgCHAPTER VI.
ing the stranger-all our beds were alThe Happiness of a Country Fireside.
ready taken up, and it was too late to As we carried on the former dispute send him to the next alehouse. In this with some degree of warmth, in order to dilemma, little Dick offered him his part accommodate matters, it was universally of the bed, if his brother Moses would let agreed that we should have a part of the him lie with him : “And I,” cried Bill, venison for supper; and the girls under- “ will give Mr. Burchell my part, if my took the task with alacrity. “I am sisters will take me to theirs." _“Well sorry,” cried I, “ that we have no neigh- done, my good children,” cried I, “ hosbour or stranger to take part in this good pitality is one of the first Christian duties. cheer : feasts of this kind acquire a double The beast retires to its shelter, and the relish from hospitality.”—“ Bless me, bird flies to its nest; but helpless man cried my wife, where comes our good can only find refuge from his fellow-creafriend Mr. Burchell, that saved our Sophia, ture. The greatest stranger in this world and that run you down fairly in the argu- was He that came to save it. He never ment. Confute in argument, had a house, as if willing to see what child !” cried I. “You mistake there, hospitality was left remaining among us. my dear; I believe there are but few that Deborah, my dear,” cried I to my wife, can do that : I never dispute your abilities “give those boys a lump of sugar each ; at making a goose-pie, and I beg you'll and let Dick's be the largest, because he leave argument to me. As I spoke, poor spoke first.” Mr. Burchell entered the house, and was In the morning early I called out my welcomed by the family, who shook him whole family to help at saving an afterheartily by the hand, while little Dick growth of hay, and our guest offering his officiously reached him a chair.
assistance, he was accepted among the I was pleased with the poor man's number. Our labours went on lightly ; friendship for two reasons: because I knew we turned the swath to the wind. I went that he wanted mine, and I knew him to foremost, and the rest followed in due be friendly as far as he was able. He succession. I could not avoid, however,
observing the assiduity of Mr. Burchell in eyes, yet the animal itself finds the apartassisting my daughter Sophia in her part ment sufficiently lightsome. And, to conof the task. When he had finished his fess a truth, this man's mind seems fitted own, he would join in hers, and enter into to his station ; for I never heard any one a close conversation ; but I had too good more sprightly than he was to-day, when an opinion of Sophia's understanding, and he conversed with you.”—This was said was too well convinced of her ambition, without the least design ; however, it exto be under any uneasiness from a man of cited a blush, which she strove to cove broken fortune. When we were finished by an affected laugh, assuring him that for the day, Mr. Burchell was invited as she scarce took any notice of what he on the night before, but he refused, as he said to her, but that she believed he might was to lie that night at a neighbour's, to once have been a very fine gentleman. whose child he was carrying a whistle. The readiness with which she undertook When gone, our conversation at supper to vindicate herself, and her blushing, turned upon our late unfortunate guest. were symptoms I did not internally ap“What a strong instance,” said I, “is prove ; but I repressed my suspicions. that poor man of the miseries attending As we expected our landlord the next a youth of levity and extravagance. He day, my wife went to make the venison by no means wants sense, which only pasty. Moses sat reading, while I taught serves to aggravate his former folly. Poor the little ones. My daughters seemed forlorn creature ! where are now the re- equally busy with the rest ; and I observed vellers, the flatterers, that he could once them for a good while cooking something inspire and command ! Gone, perhaps, over the fire. I at first supposed they to attend the bagnio pander, grown rich were assisting their mother, but little Dick by his extravagance. They once praised informed me, in a whisper, that they were him, and now they applaud the pander : making a wash for the face. Washes of
their former raptures at his wit are now all kinds I had a natural antipathy to; ✓ converted into sarcasms at his folly: he is for I knew that, instead of mending the
poor, and perhaps deserves poverty; for complexion, they spoil it. I therefore V he has neither the ambition to be inde approached my chair by sly degrees to
pendent, nor the skill to be useful.” the fire, and grasping the poker, as if it Prompted perhaps by some secret reasons, wanted mending, seemingly by accident I delivered this observation with too much overturned the whole composition, and it acrimony, which my Sophia gently re- was too late to begin another. proved. “Whatsoever his former conduct may have been, papa, his circumstances
CHAPTER VII. should exempt him from censure now.
A Town Wit described. The dullest Fellows His present indigence is a sufficient punish
may learn to be comical for a Night or Two. ment for former folly; and I have heard . WHEN the morning arrived on which we my papa himself say, that we should never were to entertain our young landlord, it strike one unnecessary blow at a victim, may be easily supposed what provisions over whom Providence holds the scourge were exhausted to make an appearance. of its resentment.”_“You are right, It may also be conjectured that my wife Sophy,” cried my son Moses ; "and one and daughters expanded their gayest pluof the ancients finely represents so mali- mage on this occasion. Mr. Thornhill cious a conduct, by the attempts of a rustic came with a couple of friends, his chapto flay Marsyas, whose skin, the fable lain and feeder. The servants, who were tells us, had been wholly stripped off by numerous, he politely ordered to the next another. Besides, I don't know if this alehouse : but my wife, in the triumph of poor man's situation be so bad as my her heart, insisted on entertaining them father would represent it. We are not to all ; for which, by the by, our family was judge of the feelings of others by what pinched for three weeks after. As Mr. we might feel in their place. However Burchell had hinted to us the day before, dark the habitation of the mole to our that he was making some proposals of
marriage to Miss Wilmot, my son George's part is less than the whole.”—“I grant former mistress, this a good deal damped that too,” cried Moses; “it is but just and the heartiness of his reception : but acci- reasonable.”—“I hope,” cried the Squire, dent in some measure relieved our em- “you will not deny, that the two angles barrassment; for one of the company of a triangle are equal to two right ones. happening to mention her name, "Mr. -“Nothing can be plainer, returned Thornhill observed with an oath, that he t'other, and looked round with his usual never knew anything more absurd than importance. — “Very well," cried the calling such a fright a beauty; "For, Squire, speaking very quick, “the prestrike me ugly," continued he, “if I misses being thus settled, I proceed to should not find as much pleasure in observe, that the concatenation of selfchoosing my mistress by the information existences, proceeding in a reciprocal of a lamp under the clock of St. Dunstan's.” duplicate ratio, naturally produce a proAt this he laughed, and so did we: the blematical dialogism, which, in some jests of the rich are ever successful. Olivia, measure, proves that the essence of spiritoo, could not avoid whispering, loud tuality may be referred to the second preenough to be heard, that he had an infinite dicable." “Hold, hold !” cried the fund of humour.
other, “I deny that: do you think that I can After dinner, I began with my usual thus tamely submit to such heterodox doctoast, the Church: for this I was thanked trines ?”—“What !” replied the Squire, by the chaplain, as he said the Church as if in a passion, not submit! Answer was the only mistress of his affections. me one plain question : Do you think “Come, tell us honestly, Frank,” said the Aristotle right when he says that relatives Squire, with his usual archness,“ suppose are related ?”—“Undoubtedly,” replied the Church, your present mistress, dressed the other.—“If so, then,” cried the in lawn sleeves, on one hand, and Miss Squire, answer me directly to what I Sophia, with no lawn about her, on the propose : Whether do you judge the anaother, which would you be for ?”—“For lytical investigation of the first part of my both, to be sure,
;" cried the chaplain. enthymem deficient secundum quoad, or “Right, Frank,” cried the Squire ; “for quoad minus ; and give me your reasons may this glass suffocate me, but a fine girl -give me your reasons, I say, directly.” is worth all the priestcraft in the creation !
cried Moses, “I don't For what are tithes and tricks but an im- rightly comprehend the force of your position, all a confounded imposture, and reasoning ; but if it be reduced to one I can prove it.”—“I wish you would,” simple proposition, I fancy it may then cried my son Moses ; " and I think," con- have an answer.' “Oh, sir,” cried the tinued he,“ that I should be able to answer Squire, “ I am your most humble servant ; you.”—“Very well, sir,” cried the Squire, I find you want me to furnish you with who immediately smoked him, and winked argument and intellects too. No, sir, on the rest of the company to prepare us there I protest you are too hard for me.' for the sport; “if you are for a cool argu- This effectually raised the laugh against ment upon that subject, I am ready to poor Moses, who sat the only dismal figure accept the challenge. And, first, whether in a group of merry faces; nor did he offer are you for managing it analogically or a single syllable more during the whole dialogically ?”—“ I am for managing it entertainment. rationally,” cried Moses, quite happy at But though all this gave me no pleasure, being permitted to dispute. “Good it had a very different effect upon Olivia, again,” cried the Squire ; “and, firstly, who mistook it for humour, though but a of the first, I hope you'll not deny, that mere act of the memory. She thought him, whatever is, is. "If you don't grant me therefore, a very fine gentleman; and that, I can go no further." Why,” re- such as consider what powerful ingredients turned Moses, “I think I may grant that; a good figure, fine clothes, and fortune are and make the best of it.”—“I hope, too, in that character, will easily forgive her. returned the other, "you'll grant that a Mr. Thornhill, notwithstanding his real
ignorance, talked with ease, and could ex- rupt, or very negligent in forming them, patiate upon the common topics of con- we deserve punishment for our vice, or versation with fluency. It is not surprising contempt for our folly.” then, that such talents should win the affec- My wife now kept up the conversation, tions of a girl who by education was taught though not the argument; she observed to value an appearance in herself, and con- that several very prudent men of our acsequently to set a value upon it in another. quaintance were freethinkers, and made
Upon his departure, we again entered very good husbands; and she knew some into a debate upon the merits of our young sensible girls that had skill enough to landlord. As he directed his looks and make converts of their spouses. conversation to Olivia, it was no longer who knows, my dear,” continued she, doubted but that she was the object that “what Olivia may be able to do: the girl induced him to be our visitor. Nor did has a great deal to say upon every subject, she seem to be much displeased at the in- and, to my knowledge, is very well skilled nocent raillery of her brother and sister in controversy.' upon this occasion. Even Deborah her- “Why, my dear, what controversy self seemed to share the glory of the day, can she have read ?” cried I. “It does and exulted in her daughter's victory as if not occur to me that I ever put such books it were her own. “And now, my dear," into her hands: you certainly overrate her cried she to me, “I'll fairly own, that it merit.”—“Indeed, papa,” replied Olivia, was I that instructed my girls to encourage “she does not; I have read a great deal our landlord's addresses. I had always of controversy. I have read the disputes some ambition, and you now see that I between Thwackum and Square; the conwas right; for who knows how this may troversy between Robinson Crusoe and end ?” “Ay, who knows that indeed!” Friday, the savage; and I am now emanswered I, with a groan : "for my part, ployed in reading the controversy in ReI don't much like it; and I could have ligious Courtship.”—“Very well,” cried been better pleased with one that was I, “that's a good girl; I find you are poor and honest, than this fine gentleman perfectly qualified for making converts, with his fortune and infidelity; for depend and so go help your mother to make the on't, if he be what I suspect him, no free- gooseberry pie." thinker shall ever have a child of mine." “Sure, father,” cried Moses, “ you are
CHAPTER VIII. too severe in this ; for Heaven will never An Amour, which promises little good Fortune, arraign him for what he thinks, but for yet may be productive of much. what he does. Every man has a thousand The next morning we were again visited vicious thoughts, which arise without his by Mr. Burchell, though I began, for cerpower to suppress. Thinking freely of re- tain reasons, to be displeased with the ligion may be involuntary with this gentle frequency of his return; but I could not man; so that, allowing his sentiments to refuse him my company and fireside. It be wrong, yet, as he is purely passive in is true, his labour more than requited his assent, he is no more to be blamed for his entertainment; for he wrought among his errors than the governor of a city with us with vigour, and, either in the meadow out walls for the shelter he is obliged to or at the hay-rick, put himself foremost. afford an invading enemy,
Besides, he had always something amusing * True, my son,” cried I; “but if the to say that lessened our toil, and was at governor invites the enemy there, he is once so out of the way, and yet so sensible, justly culpable. And such is always the that I loved, laughed at, and pitied him. case with those who embrace error. The My only dislike arose from an attachment vice does not lie in assenting to the proofs he discovered to my daughter. He would, they see; but being blind to many of the in a jesting manner, call her his little misproofs that offer. So that, though our tress, and when he bought each of the erroneous opinions be involuntary when girls a set of ribands, hers was the finest. formed, yet as we have been wilfully cor- I knew not how, but he every day seemed
to become more amiable, his wit to improve, and his simplicity to assume the superior airs of wisdom.
Our family dined in the field, and we sat, or rather reclined, round a temperate repast, our cloth spread upon the hay, while Mr. Burchell gave cheerfulness to the feast. To heighten our satisfaction, two blackbirds answered each other from opposite hedges, the familiar redbreast came and pecked the crumbs from our hands, and every sound seemed but the echo of tranquillity. “I never sit thus,” says Sophia, “but I think of the two lovers so sweetly described by Mr. Gay, who were struck dead in each other's arms. There is something so pathetic in the description, that I have read it an hundred times with new rapture. .”—“In my opinion,” cried my son, “the finest strokes in that description are much below those in the Acis and Galatea of Ovid. The Roman poet understands the use of contrast better ; and upon that figure, artfully managed, ail strength in the pathetic depends. -“ It is remarkable,” cried Mr. Burchell, “that both the poets you mention have equally contributed to introduce a false taste into their respective countries, by loading all their lines with epithet. Men of little genius found them most easily imitated in their defects; and English poetry, like that in the latter empire of Rome, is nothing at present but a combination of luxuriant images, without plot or connexion -a string of epithets that improve the sound without carrying on the sense. But perhaps, madam, while I thus reprehend others, you'll think it just that I should give them an opportunity to retaliate; and, indeed, I have made this remark only to have an opportunity of introducing to the company a ballad, which, whatever be its other defects, is, I think, at least free from those I have mentioned.”
“Forbear, my son,” the Hermit cries,
“To tempt the dangerous gloom;
To lure thee to thy doom.
My door is open still ;
I give it with good will.
Whate'er my cell bestows;
My blessing and repose.
To slaughter I condemn;
I learn to pity them :
A guiltless feast I bring;
And water from the spring.
All earth-born cares are wrong:
Nor wants that little long."
His gentle accents fell :
And follows to the cell.
The lonely mansion lay,
And strangers led astray.
Required a master's care;
Received the harmless pair.
To take their evening rest,
And cheer'd his pensive guest:
And gaily press'd, and smiled;
The lingering hours beguiled.
Its tricks the kitten tries,
The crackling fagot flies.
To soothe the stranger's woe;
And tears began to flow.
With answering care oppress'd :
“The sorrows of thy breast?
Reluctant dost thou rove?
Or unregarded love?
Are trifling, and decay;
“ TURN, gentle Hermit of the dale,
And guide my lonely way To where yon taper cheers the vale
With hospitable ray. “ For here forlorn and lost I tread,
With fainting steps and slow, Where wilds, immeasurably spread,
Seem length’ning as I go.