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The description of the family of Wake
field; in which a kindred likeness prevails as well of minds as of persons.
WAS ever of opinion, that the honeft man who married and brought
up a large family, did more service than he who continued single, and only talked of population. From this motive, I had scarce taken orders a year, before I began to think seriously of matrimony, and chose my wife as she did her wedding gown, not for a fine gloffy surface, but fuch qualities as would wear well. To do her justice, she was a good natured notable woman; and as for breeding, there were few country ladies who could shew
She could read any English book without much spelling; but for pickling, preserving, and cookery, none could exA 5
cel her. She prided herself also upon being an excellent contriver in house-keeping; tho'l.could never find that we grew richer with all her contrivances.
However, we loved each other tenderly, and our fondness encreased as we grew old. There was in fact nothing that could make us angry with the world, or each other. We had an elegant house, situated in a fine country, and a good neighbourhood. The year was spent in a moral or rural amusement ; in visiting our rich neighbours, and relieving such as were poor. We had no revolutions to fear, nor fatigues to undergo; all our adventures were by the fire-fide, and all our migrations from the blue bed to the brown.
As we lived near the road, we often had the traveller or stranger visit us to taste our gooseberry wine, for which we had great reputation ; and I profess with the veracity of an historian, that I never knew one of them find fault with it. Our cousins too, even to the fortieth remove, all remembered their affinity, without any help from the herald's office, and came very frequently to see us. Some of them did us no great honour by these claims of kindred ; as we had the blind, the maimed, and the halt amongst the number. However, my wife always insisted that as they were the same flesh and blood, they should sit with us at the same table. So that if we had not very rich, we generally had very happy friends about us ; for this remark will hold good thro' life, that the poorer the guest, the better pleased he ever is with being treated; and as some men gaze with admiration at the colours of a tulip, or the wing of a butterfly, so I was by nature an admirer of happy human faces. However, when any one of our relations was found to be a person of a very bad character, a troublesome guest, or one we desired to get rid of, upon his leaving my house, I ever took care to lend him a riding coat, or a pair of boots, or sometimes an horse of small value, and I always had A 6
the fatisfaction of finding he never came back to return them. By this the house was cleared of such as we did not like; but never was the family of Wakefield known to turn the traveller or the poor dependant out of doors.
Thus we lived several years in a state of much happiness, not but that we fometimes had thofe little rubs which Providence fends to enhance the value of its favours. My orchard was often robbed by chool-boys, and my wife's cuftards plundered by the cats or the children. The 'Squire would sometimes fall asleep in the most pathetic parts of my fermon, or his lady return my wife's civilities ar church with a mutilated curtesy. But we soon got over the uneafiness caused by such accidents, and usually in three or four days began to wonder how they vext us...
My children, the offspring of temperance, as they were educated without softness, so they were at once well formed and
healthy; my sons hårdy and active, my daughters beautiful and blooming. When I stood in the midst of the little circle, which promised to be the supports of my declining age, I could not avoid repeating the famous story of Count Abensberg, who, in Henry II.'s progress through Germany, while other courtiers came with their treasures, brought his thirty-two children, and presented them to his sovereign as the most valuable offering he had to bestow. In this manner, 'though I had but fix, I eonsidered them as a very valuable present made to my country, and consequently looked upon
it' as my debtor. Our eldest fon was named George, after his uncle, who left us ten thousand pounds. Our second child, ia i girl, I intended to call after her aunt Griffel; but my wife, who during her pregnancy had been reading romances," infifted upon her being called Olivia. In less than another year we had another daughter, and now I was determined that Griffel should be her name; but a rich relation taking a fancy to stand