Слике страница


means, I say, and such means as these, middle order placed beneath them. The riches will accumulate. Now, the pos- middle order may be compared to a town sessor of accumulated wealth, when fur- of which the opulent are forming the siege, nished with the necessaries and pleasures and of which the governor from without is of life, has no other method to employ the hastening the relief. While the besiegers superfluity of his fortune but in purchasing are in dread of an enemy over them, it power. That is, differently speaking, in is but natural to offer the townsmen the making dependants, by purchasing the most specious terms; to flatter them with liberty of the needy or the venal, of men sounds, and amuse them with privileges; who are willing to bear the mortification but if they once defeat the governor from of contiguous tyranny for bread. Thus behind, the walls of the town will be but each very opulent man generally gathers a small defence to its inhabitants. What round him a circle of the poorest of the they may then expect, may be seen by people; and the polity abounding in ac- turning our eyes to Holland, Genoa, or cumulated wealth may be compared to a Venice, where the laws govern the poor, Cartesian system, each orb with a vortex and the rich govern the law. I am then of its own. Those, however, who are for, and would die for monarchy, sacred willing to move in a great man's vortex, monarchy: for if there be anything sacred are only such as must be slaves, the rab- amongst men, it must be the anointed ble of mankind, whose souls and whose SOVEREIGN of his people; and every dieducation are adapted to servitude, and minution of his power, in war or in peace, who know nothing of liberty except the is an infringement upon the real liberties

But there must still be a large of the subject. The sounds of Liberty, number of the people without the sphere Patriotism, and Britons, have already done of the opulent man's influence; namely, much; it is to be hoped that the true sons that order of men which subsists between of freedom will prevent their ever doing the very rich and the very rabble; those more. I have known many of these premen who are possessed of too large for- tended champions for liberty in my time, tunes to submit to the neighbouring man yet do I not remember one that was not in

power, and yet are too poor to set up in his heart and in his family a tyrant.” for tyranny themselves.

In this middle My warmth, I found, had lengthened order of mankind are generally to be found this harangue beyond the rules of good all the arts, wisdom, and virtues of society. breeding ; but the impatience of my enThis order alone is known to be the true tertainer, who often strove to interrupt it, preserver of freedom, and may be called could be restrained no longer.

“ What!? Now, it may happen that cried he, “then I have been all this while this middle order of mankind may lose all entertaining a Jesuit in parson's clothes ! its influence in a state, and its voice be in But, by all the coal-mines of Cornwall, a manner drowned in that of the rabble: out he shall pack, if my name be Wilkinfor, if the fortune sufficient for qualifying son.” I now found I had gone too far, a person at present to give his voice in and asked pardon for the warmth with state affairs be ten times less than was which I had spoken.

“ Pardon !" re. judged sufficient upon forming the consti- turned he, in a fury : "I think such prin. tution, it is evident that great numbers of ciples demand ten thousand pardons. the rabble will thus be introduced into the What! give up liberty, property, and, as political system, and they, ever moving in the Gazetteer says, lie down to be saddled the vortex of the great, will follow where with wooden shoes ! Sir, I insist upon your greatness shall direct. In such a state, marching out of this house immediately, therefore, all that the middle order has left to prevent worse consequences : sir, I insist is to preserve the prerogative and privileges upon it. I was going to repeat my remon. of the one principal governor with the most strances, but just then we heard a footsacred circumspection. For he divides the man's rap at the door, and the two ladies power of the rich, and calls off the great cried out, “ As sure as death, there is our from falling with tenfold weight on the master and mistress come home !' It


seems my entertainer was all this while without ever writing to his friends or me. only the butler, who, in his master's ab. Where he is I know not; perhaps I shall sence, had a mind to cut a figure, and be never see him or happiness more. No, for a while the gentleman himself; and, to my dear madam, we shall never more see say the truth, he talked politics as well as such pleasing hours as were once spent most country gentlemen do. But nothing by our fireside at Wakefield. My little could now exceed my confusion upon seeing family are now dispersing very fast, and the gentleman and his lady enter; nor was poverty has brought not only want, but intheir surprise, at finding such company and famy upon us. The good-natured girl let good cheer, less than ours.


fall a tear at this account; but as I saw her cried the real master of the house to me possessed of too much sensibility, I foreand my companion, “my wife and I are bore a more minute detail of our sufferings. your most humble servants ; but I protest It was, however, some consolation to me this is so unexpected a favour, that we to find that time had made no alteration in almost sink under the obligation.' How- her affections, and that she had rejected ever unexpected our company might be to several matches that had been made her them, theirs, I am sure, was still more so since our leaving her part of the country. to us, and I was struck dumb with the Sheled me round all the extensive improveapprehensions of my own absurdity, when ments of the place, pointing to the several whom should I next see enter the room walks and arbours, and at the same time but

my dear Miss Arabella Wilmot, who catching from every object a hint for some was formerly designed to be married to my new question relative to my son. In this son George, but whose match was broken manner we spent the forenoon, till the bell off, as already related. As soon as she saw summoned us in to dinner, where we found me, she flew to my arms with the utmost the manager of the strolling company that joy. “My dear sir,” cried she, “to what I mentioned before, who was come to dishappy accident is it that we owe so unex- pose of tickets for the Fair Penitent, which pected a visit ? I am sure my uncle and was to be acted that evening: the part of aunt will be in raptures when they find Horatio by a young gentleman who had they have the good Dr. Primrose for their never appeared on any stage. He seemed guest."

Upon hearing my name, the old to be very warm in the praise of the new gentleman and lady very politely stepped performer, and averred that he never saw up, and welcomed me with most cordial any who bid so fair for excellence. Act. hospitality. Nor could they forbear smil. ing, he observed, was not learned in a ing, upon being informed of the nature of day; "but this gentleman,” continued he, my present visit : but the unfortunate but. “seems born to tread the stage. His voice, ler, whom they at first seemed disposed to his figure, and attitudes are all admirable. turn away, was at my intercession forgiven. We caught him up accidentally in our jour

Mr. Arnold and his lady, to whom the ney down.” This account in some measure house belonged, now insisted upon having excited our curiosity, and, at the entreaty the pleasure of my stay for some days; and of the ladies, I was prevailed upon to acas their niece, my charming pupil, whose company them to the play-house, which mind in some measure had been formed was no other than a barn.

As the comunder my own instructions, joined in their pany with which I went was incontestably entreaties, I complied. That night I was the chief of the place, we were received shown to a magnificent chamber; and the with the greatest respect, and placed in next morning early Miss Wilmot desired the front seat of the theatre, where we sat to walk with me in the garden, which was for some time with no small impatience to decorated in the modern manner. After see Horatio make his appearance. The some time spent in pointing out the beau- new performer advanced at last; and let ties of the place, she inquired with seeming parents think of my sensations by their unconcern, when last I had heard from my own, when I found it was my unfortunate son George. — “Alas! madam,” cried I, son! He was going to begin; when, turn"he has now been nearly three years absent, ing his eyes upon the audience, he perceived Miss Wilmot and me, and stood at desisted from the pursuit.”—“I fancy, once speechless and immoveable.

sir,” cried Mrs. Arnold, “that the account The actors behind the scene, who of your adventures would be amusing; the ascribed this pause to his natural timidity, first part of them I have often heard from attempted to encourage him; but instead my niece; but could the company prevail of going on, he burst into a flood of tears, for the rest, it would be an additional obliand retired off the stage. I don't know gation.”—“Madam,” replied my son, “I what were my feelings on this occasion, for promise you the pleasure you have in hearthey succeeded with too much rapidity for ing will not be half so great as my vanity description; but I was soon awaked from in repeating them; yet in the whole narrathis disagreeable reverie by Miss Wilmot, tive I can scarcely promise you one advenwho, pale and with a trembling voice, ture, as my account is rather of what I saw desired me to conduct her back to her than what I did. The first misfortune of uncle's. When got home, Mr. Arnold, my life, which you all know, was great; who was as yet a stranger to our extra- but though it distressed, it could not sink ordinary behaviour, being informed that me. No person ever had a better knack the new performer was my son, sent his at hoping than I. The less kind I found coach and an invitation for him; and as Fortune at one time, the more I expected he persisted in his refusal to appear again from her another; and being now at the upon the stage, the players put another in bottom of her wheel, every new revolution his place, and we soon had him with us. might lift, but could not depress me. I Mr. Arnold gave him the kindest reception, proceeded, therefore, towards London in and I received him with my usual trans- a fine morning, no way uneasy about toport; for I could never counterfeit false morrow, but cheerful as the birds that resentment. Miss Wilmot's reception was carolled by the road; and comforted mymixed with seeming neglect, and yet I self with reflecting, that London was the could perceive she acted a studied part. mart where abilities of every kind were The tumult in her mind seemed not yet sure of meeting distinction and reward. abated : she said twenty giddy things that “Upon my arrival in town, sir, my first looked like joy, and then laughed loud at care was to deliver your letter of recomher own want of meaning. At intervals mendation to our cousin, who was himself she would take a sly peep at the glass, as in little better circumstances than I. My if happy in the consciousness of unresisted first scheme, you know, sir, was to be usher beauty; and often would ask questions at an academy; and I asked his advice on without giving any manner of attention to the affair. Our cousin received the prothe answers.

posal with a true sardonic grin. “Ay,'

cried he, this is indeed a very pretty CHAPTER XX.

career that has been chalked out for you. The History of a philosophic Vagabond, pursu- I have been an usher at a boarding-school ing Novelty, but losing Content,

myself; and may I die by an anodyne neckAFTER we had supped, Mrs. Arnold po- lace, but I had rather be an under-turnkey litely offered to send a couple of her foot- in Newgate. I was up early and late: I men for my son's baggage, which he at was browbeat by the master, hated for my first seemed to decline; but upon her press- ugly face by the mistress, worried by the ing the request, he was obliged to inform boys within, and never permitted to stir out her, that a stick and wallet were all the to meet civility abroad. But are you sure moveable things upon this earth that he you are fit for a school ? Let me examine could boast of. “Why, ay, my son,” cried you a little. Have you been bred apprenI, “you left me but poor, and poor I find tice to the business?'—'No.'—'Then you you are come back: and yet make no won't do for a school. Can you dress the doubt you have seen a great deal of the boys' hair?'—'No.'—“Then you won't do world.”—“Yes, sir," replied my son, for a school. Have you had the small"but travelling after Fortune is not the way pox?'_. No.'_ 'Then you won't do for a to secure her; and, indeed, of late I have school. Can you lie three in a bed?'

'No.'—'Then you will never do for a published your paradoxes; well, and what school. Have you got a good stomach?' did the learned world say to your para

-“Yes.'-—'Then you will by no means do doxes?”. for a school. No, sir: if you are for a gen- “Sir," replied my son, "the learned teel, easy profession, bind yourself seven world said nothing to my paradoxes; noyears an apprentice to turn a cutler's wheel : thing at all, sir. Every man of them was but avoid a school by any means. Yet employed in praising his friends and himcome,' continued he, “I see you are a lad of self

, or condemning his enemies; and unspirit and some learning ; what do you think fortunately, as I had neither, I suffered the of commencing author, like me? You have cruelest mortification,-neglect. read in books, no doubt, of men of genius As I was meditating, one day, in a starving at the trade. At present I'll show coffee-house, on the fate of my paradoxes, you forty very dull fellows about town that a little man happening to enter the room, live by it in opulence; all honest jog-trot placed himself in the box before me; and men, who go on smoothly and dully, and after some preliminary discourse, finding write history and politics, and are praised : me to be a scholar, drew out a bundle of men, sir, whó, had they been bred cobblers, proposals, begging me to subscribe to a would all their lives have only mended new edition he was going to give to the shoes, but never made them.'

world of Propertius, with notes. This de. “Finding that there was no great degree mand necessarily produced a reply that I of gentility affixed to the character of an had no money; and that concession led usher, I resolved to accept his proposal ; him to inquire into the nature of my exand having the highest respect for litera- pectations. Finding that my expectations ture, hailed the antiqua mater of Grub. were just as great as my purse, - 'I see, street with reverence. I thought it my cried he, 'you are unacquainted with the glory to pursue a track which Dryden and town: I'll teach you a part of it. Look Otway trod before me. I considered the at these proposals, -upon these very progoddess of this region as the parent of ex- posals I have subsisted very comfortably cellence; and however an intercourse with for twelve years. The moment a noblethe world might give us good sense, the man returns from his travels, a Creolian poverty she entailed I supposed to be the arrives from Jamaica, or a dowager from her nurse of genius! Big with these reflections, country seat, I strike for a subscription. I sat down, and finding that the best things I first besiege their hearts with flattery, and remained to be said on the wrong side, I then pour in my proposals at the breach. resolved to write a book that should be if they subscribe readily the first time, I wholly new. I therefore dressed up three renew my request to beg a dedication fee : paradoxes with some ingenuity. They if they let me have that, I smite them once were false, indeed, but they were new. more for engraving their coat of arms at The jewels of truth have been so often im- the top. Thus,' continued he, 'I live by ported by others, that nothing was left for vanity, and laugh at it. But, between ourme to import but some splendid things that selves, I am now too well known: I should at a distance looked every bit as well. be glad to borrow your face a bit. A nobleWitness, you powers, what fancied impor. man of distinction has just returned from tance sat perched upon my quill while I Italy; my face is familiar to his porter; but was writing! The whole learned world, if you bring this copy of verses, my life for I made no doubt, would rise to oppose my it you succeed, and we divide the spoil."" systems : but then I was prepared to op- “Bless us, George,” cried I,"and is this pose the whole learned world. Like the the employment of poets now? Do men por pine, I sat self-collected, with a quill exalted' talents thus stoop to beggary? pointed against every opposer.”,

Can they so far disgrace their calling, as to “Well said, my boy," cried I: "and make a 'vile traffic of praise for bread?” what subject did you treat upon? I hope “Oh no, sir," returned he, "a true poet you did not pass over the importance of can never be so base; for wherever there monogamy. But I interrupt: go on. You is genius, there is pride. The creatures

[ocr errors]

I now describe are only beggars in rhyme. “What did you say, George?" interThe real poet, as he braves every hardship rupted I. Thornhill, was not that bis for fame, so he is equally a coward to con- name? It can certainly be no other than tempt; and none but those who are un my landlord.”—“Bless me, cried Mrs. worthy protection condescend to solicit it. Arnold, “is Mr. Thornhill so near a neigh.

Having a mind too proud to stoop bour of yours? He has long been a friend to such indignities, and yet a fortune too in our family, and we expect a visit from humble to hazard a second attempt for him shortly. fame, I was now obliged to take a middle “My friend's first care," continued my course, and write for bread. But I was son, “was to alter my appearance by a very unqualified for a profession where mere fine suit of his own clothes, and then I was industry alone was to ensure success. I admitted to his table, upon the footing of could not suppress my lurking passion for half friend, half underling. My business applause; but usually consumed that time was to attend him at auctions, to put him in in efforts after excellence which takes up spirits when he sat for his picture, to take but little room, when it should have been the left hand in his chariot when not filled more advantageously employed in the dif- by another, and to assist at tattering a kip, fusive productions of fruitsul mediocrity. as the phrase was, when he had a mind for My little piece would therefore come forth a frolic. Besides this, I had twenty other in the midst of periodical publications, un- , little employments in the family. I was to noticed and unknown. The public were do many small things without bidding: to more importantly employed than to observe carry the corkscrew; to stand godfather to the easy simplicity of my style, or the har. all the butler's children ; to sing when I was mony of my periods. Sheet after sheet bid; to be never out of humour; always to was thrown off to oblivion. My essays be humble, and, if I could, to be very happy. were buried among the essays upon liberty, “In this honourable post, however, I Eastern tales, and cures for the bite of a was not without a rival. A captain of mad dog; while Philautos, Philalethes, marines, who was formed for the place by Philelutheros, and Philanthropos, all wrote nature, opposed me in my patron's affecbetter, because they wrote faster than I. tions. His mother had been laundress to

"Now, therefore, I began to associate a man of quality, and thus he early ac. with none but disappointed authors like quired a taste for pimping and pedigree. myself, who praised, deplored, and despised As this gentleman made it the study of his each other. The satisfaction we found in life to be acquainted with lords, though he every celebrated writer's attempts was in- was dismissed from several for his stupidity, versely as their merits. I found that no yet he found many of them who were as genius in another could please me. My dull as himself, that permitted his assidu. unfortunate paradoxes had entirely dried ities. As flattery was his trade, he pracup that source of comfort. I could neither tised it with the easiest address imagin. read nor write with satisfaction ; for excel. able ; but it came awkward and stiff from lence in another was my aversion, and me: and as every day my patron's desire writing was my trade.

of flattery increased, so, every hour, being "In the midst of these gloomy reflections, better acquainted with his defects, I became as I was one day sitting on a bench in St. more unwilling to give it. Thus, I was James's Park, a young gentleman of dis- once more fairly going to give up the field tinction, who had been my intimate ac- to the captain, when my friend found oco quaintance at the university, approached casion for my assistance. This was nothing me. We saluted each other with some less than to fight a duel for him with a hesitation; he almost ashamed of being gentleman, whose sister it was pretended known to one who made so shabby an ap. he had used ill. I readily complied with pearance, and I afraid of a repulse. But his request; and though I see you are my suspicions soon vanished; for Ned displeased at my conduct, yet, as it was a Thornhill was at the bottom a very good debt indispensably due to friendship, I natured fellow."

could not refuse. I undertook the affair,

« ПретходнаНастави »