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The Expedition of Humphry Clinker by Tobias Smollett

Part 7 out of 8

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'At least (said I), give me leave to wish them such a degree of
commerce as may enable them to follow their own inclinations.' --
'Heaven forbid! (cried this philosopher). Woe be to that nation,
where the multitude is at liberty to follow their own
inclinations! Commerce is undoubtedly a blessing, while
restrained within its proper channels; but a glut of wealth
brings along with it a glut of evils: it brings false taste,
false appetite, false wants, profusion, venality, contempt of
order, engendering a spirit of licentiousness, insolence, and
faction, that keeps the community in continual ferment, and in
time destroys all the distinctions of civil society; so that
universal anarchy and uproar must ensue. Will any sensible man
affirm, that the national advantages of opulence are to be sought
on these terms?' 'No, sure; but I am one of those who think,
that, by proper regulations, commerce may produce every national
benefit, without the allay of such concomitant evils.'

So much for the dogmata of my friend Lismahago, whom I describe
the more circumstantially, as I firmly believe he will set up his
rest in Monmouthshire. Yesterday, while I was alone with him he
asked, in some confusion, if I should have any objection to the
success of a gentleman and a soldier, provided he should be so
fortunate as to engage my sister's affection. I answered without
hesitation, that my sister was old enough to judge for
herself; and that I should be very far from disapproving any
resolution she might take in his favour. -- His eyes sparkled at
this declaration. He declared, he should think himself the
happiest man on earth to be connected with my family; and that he
should never be weary of giving me proofs of his gratitude and
attachment. I suppose Tabby and he are already agreed; in which
case, we shall have a wedding at Brambleton-hall, and you shall
give away the bride. -- It is the least thing you can do, by way
of atonement for your former cruelty to that poor love-sick
maiden, who has been so long a thorn in the side of

Sept. 20.

We have been at Buxton; but, as I did not much relish either the
company or the accommodations, and had no occasion for the water,
we stayed but two nights in the place.

To Sir WATKIN PHILLIPS, Bart. of Jesus college, Oxon.


Adventures begin to thicken as we advance to the southward.
Lismahago has now professed himself the admirer of our aunt, and
carries on his addresses under the sanction of her brother's
approbation; so that we shall certainly have a wedding by
Christmas. I should be glad you was present at the nuptials, to
help me throw the stocking, and perform other ceremonies peculiar
to that occasion. -- I am sure it will be productive of some
diversion; and, truly, it would be worth your while to come
across the country on purpose to see two such original figures in
bed together, with their laced night caps; he, the emblem of good
cheer, and she, the picture of good nature. All this agreeable
prospect was clouded, and had well nigh vanished entirely, in
consequence of a late misunderstanding between the future
brothers-in-law, which, however, is now happily removed.

A few days ago, my uncle and I, going to visit a relation, met
with lord Oxmington at his house, who asked us to dine with him,
next day, and we accepted the invitation. -- Accordingly, leaving
our women under the care of captain Lismahago, at the inn where
we had lodged the preceding night, in a little town, about a mile
from his lordship's dwelling, we went at the hour appointed, and
had a fashionable meal served up with much ostentation to a
company of about a dozen persons, none of whom he had ever seen
before. -- His lordship is much more remarkable for his pride and
caprice, than for his hospitality and understanding; and, indeed,
it appeared, that he considered his guests merely as objects to
shine upon, so as to reflect the lustre of his own magnificence --
There was much state, but no courtesy; and a great deal of
compliment without any conversation. -- Before the desert was
removed, our noble entertainer proposed three general toasts;
then calling for a glass of wine, and bowing all round, wished us
a good afternoon. This was the signal for the company to break
up, and they obeyed it immediately, all except our 'squire who
was greatly shocked at the manner of this dismission -- He changed
countenance, bit his lip in silence, but still kept his seat, so
that his lordship found himself obliged to give us another hint,
by saying, he should be glad to see us another time. 'There is no
time like the present (cried Mr Bramble); your lordship has not
yet drank a bumper to the best in Christendom.' 'I'll drink no
more bumpers to-day (answered our landlord); and I am sorry to
see you have drank too many. -- Order the gentleman's carriage to
the gate.' -- So saying, he rose and retired abruptly; our 'squire
starting up at the same time, laying his hand upon his sword, and
eyeing him with a most ferocious aspect. The master having
vanished in this manner, our uncle bad one of the servants to see
what was to pay; and the fellow answering, 'This is no inn,' 'I
cry you mercy (cried the other), I perceive it is not; if it
were, the landlord would be more civil. There's a guinea,
however; take it, and tell your lord, that I shall riot leave the
country till I have had the opportunity to thank him in person
for his politeness and hospitality.'

We then walked down stairs through a double range of lacqueys,
and getting into the chaise, proceeded homewards. Perceiving the
'squire much ruffled, I ventured to disapprove of his resentment,
observing, that as lord Oxmington was well known to have his
brain very ill timbered, a sensible man should rather laugh, than
be angry at his ridiculous want of breeding. -- Mr Bramble took
umbrage at my presuming to be wiser than he upon this occasion;
and told me, that as he had always thought for himself in every
occurrence in life, he would still use the same privilege, with
my good leave.

When we returned to our inn, he closeted Lismahago; and having
explained his grievance, desired that gentleman to go and demand
satisfaction of lord Oxmington in his name. -- The lieutenant
charged himself with this commission, and immediately set out a
horseback for his lordship's house, attended, at his own request,
by my man Archy Macalpine, who had been used to military service;
and truly, if Macalpine had been mounted upon an ass, this couple
might have passed for the knight of La Mancha and his 'squire
Panza. It was not till after some demur that Lismahago obtained a
private audience, at which he formally defied his lordship to
single combat, in the name of Mr Bramble, and desired him to
appoint the time and place. Lord Oxmington was so confounded at
this unexpected message, that he could not, for some time, make
any articulate reply; but stood staring at the lieutenant with
manifest marks of perturbation. At length, ringing a bell with
great vehemence, he exclaimed, 'What! a commoner send a challenge
to a peer of the realm! -- Privilege! privilege! -- Here's a person
brings me a challenge from the Welshman that dined at my table --
An impudent fellow. -- My wine is not yet out of his head.'

The whole house was immediately in commotion. -- Macalpine made a
soldierly retreat with two horses; but the captain was suddenly
surrounded and disarmed by the footmen, whom a French valet de
chambre headed in this exploit; his sword was passed through a
close-stool, and his person through the horse-pond. In this
plight he returned to the inn, half mad with his disgrace. So
violent was the rage of his indignation, that he mistook its
object. -- He wanted to quarrel with Mr Bramble; he said, he had
been dishonoured on his account, and he looked for reparation at
his hands. -- My uncle's back was up in a moment; and he desired
him to explain his pretensions. -- 'Either compel lord Oxmington to
give me satisfaction (cried he), or give it me in your own
person.' 'The latter part of the alternative is the most easy and
expeditious (replied the 'squire, starting up): if you are
disposed for a walk, I'll attend you this moment.'

Here they were interrupted by Mrs Tabby, who had overheard all
that passed. -- She now burst into the room, and running betwixt
them, in great agitation, 'Is this your regard for me (said she
to the lieutenant), to seek the life of my brother?' Lismahago,
who seemed to grow cool as my uncle grew hot, assured her he had
a very great respect for Mr Bramble, but he had still more for
his own honour, which had suffered pollution; but if that could
be once purified, he should have no further cause of
dissatisfaction. The 'squire said, he should have thought it
incumbent upon him to vindicate the lieutenant's honour; but, as
he had now carved for himself, he might swallow and digest it as
well as he could -- In a word, what betwixt the mediation of Mrs
Tabitha, the recollection of the captain, who perceived he had
gone too far, and the remonstrances of your humble servant, who
joined them at this juncture, those two originals were perfectly
reconciled; and then we proceeded to deliberate upon the means of
taking vengeance for the insults they had received from the
petulant peer; for, until that aim should be accomplished, Mr
Bramble swore, with great emphasis, that he would not leave the
inn where we now lodged, even if he should pass his Christmas on
the spot.

In consequence of our deliberations, we next day, in the
forenoon, proceeded in a body to his lordship's house, all of us,
with our servants, including the coachman, mounted a-horseback,
with our pistols loaded and ready primed. -- Thus prepared for
action, we paraded solemnly and slowly before his lordship's
gate, which we passed three times in such a manner, that he could
not but see us, and suspect the cause of our appearance. -- After
dinner we returned, and performed the same cavalcade, which was
again repeated the morning following; but we had no occasion to
persist in these manoeuvres. About noon, we were visited by the
gentleman, at whose house we had first seen lord Oxmington. -- He
now came to make apologies in the name of his lordship, who
declared he had no intention to give offence to my uncle, in
practising what had been always the custom of his house; and that
as for the indignities which had been put upon the officer, they
were offered without his Lordship's knowledge, at the instigation
of his valet de chambre. -- 'If that be the case (said my uncle, in
a peremptory tone), I shall be contented with lord Oxmington's
personal excuses; and I hope my friend will be satisfied with his
lordship's turning that insolent rascal out of his service.' --
'Sir (cried Lismahago), I must insist upon taking personal
vengeance for the personal injuries I have sustained.'

After some debate, the affair was adjusted in this manner. -- His
lordship, meeting us at our friend's house, declared he was sorry
for what had happened; and that he had no intention to give
umbrage. -- The valet de chambre asked pardon of the lieutenant
upon his knees, when Lismahago, to the astonishment of all
present, gave him a violent kick on the face, which laid him on
his back, exclaiming in a furious tone, 'Oui je te pardonne, gens

Such was the fortunate issue of this perilous adventure, which
threatened abundance of vexation to our family; for the 'squire
is one of those who will sacrifice both life and fortune, rather
than leave what they conceive to be the least speck or blemish
upon their honour and reputation. His lordship had no sooner
pronounced his apology, with a very bad grace, than he went away
in some disorder, and, I dare say, he will never invite another
Welchman to his table.

We forthwith quitted the field of this atchievement, in order to
prosecute our journey; but we follow no determinate course. We
make small deviations, to see the remarkable towns, villas, and
curiosities on each side of our route; so that we advance by slow
steps towards the borders of Monmouthshire: but in the midst of
these irregular motions, there is no abberration nor eccentricity
in that affection with which I am, dear Wat,

Yours always,
Sept. 28.



At what time of life may a man think himself exempted from the
necessity of sacrificing his repose to the punctilios of a
contemptible world? I have been engaged in a ridiculous
adventure, which I shall recount at meeting; and this, I hope,
will not be much longer delayed, as we have now performed almost
all our visits, and seen every thing that I think has any right
to retard us in our journey homewards -- A few days ago,
understanding by accident, that my old friend Baynard was in the
country, I would not pass so near his habitation without paying
him a visit, though our correspondence had been interrupted for a
long course of years.

I felt my self very sensibly affected by the idea of our past
intimacy, as we approached the place where we had spent so many
happy days together; but when we arrived at the house, I could
not recognize any one of those objects, which had been so deeply
impressed upon my remembrance -- The tall oaks that shaded the
avenue, had been cut down, and the iron gates at the end of it
removed, together with the high wall that surrounded the court
yard. The house itself, which was formerly a convent of
Cistercian monks, had a venerable appearance: and along the front
that looked into the garden, was a stone gallery, which afforded
me many an agreeable walk, when I was disposed to be
contemplative. Now the old front is covered with a screen of
modern architecture; so that all without is Grecian, and all
within Gothic. As for the garden, which was well stocked with the
best fruit which England could produce, there is not now the
least vestage remaining of trees, walls, or hedges -- Nothing
appears but a naked circus of loose sand, with a dry bason and a
leaden triton in the middle.

You must know, that Baynard, at his father's death, had a clear
estate of fifteen hundred pounds a-year, and was in other
respects extremely well qualified to make a respectable figure in
the commonwealth; but, what with some excesses of youth, and the
expence of a contested election, he in a few years found himself
encumbered with a debt of ten thousand pounds, which he resolved
to discharge by means of a prudent marriage. He accordingly
married a miss Thomson, whose fortune amounted to double the sum
that he owed -- She was the daughter of a citizen, who had failed
in trade; but her fortune came by an uncle, who died in the East-Indies
-- Her own parents being dead, she lived with a maiden aunt,
who had superintended her education; and, in all appearance, was
well enough qualified for the usual purposes of the married
state -- Her virtues, however, stood rather upon a negative, than a
positive foundation -- She was neither proud, insolent, nor
capricious, nor given to scandal, nor addicted to gaming, nor
inclined to gallantry. She could read, and write, and dance, and
sing, and play upon the harpsichord, and smatter French, and take
a hand at whist and ombre; but even these accomplishments she
possessed by halves -- She excelled in nothing. Her conversation
was flat, her stile mean, and her expression embarrassed -- In a
word, her character was totally insipid. Her person was not
disagreeable; but there was nothing graceful in her address, nor
engaging in her manners; and she was so ill qualified to do the
honours of the house, that when she sat at the head of the table,
one was always looking for the mistress of the family in some
other place.

Baynard had flattered himself, that it would be no difficult
matter to mould such a subject after his own fashion, and that
she would chearfully enter into his views, which were wholly
turned to domestic happiness. He proposed to reside always in the
country, of which he was fond to a degree of enthusiasm; to
cultivate his estate, which was very improvable; to enjoy the
exercise of rural diversions; to maintain an intimacy of
correspondence with some friends that were settled in his
neighbourhood; to keep a comfortable house, without suffering his
expence to exceed the limits of his income; and to find pleasure
and employ merit for his wife in the management and avocations
of her own family -- This, however, was a visionary scheme, which
he never was able to realize. His wife was as ignorant as a new-born
babe of everything that related to the conduct of a family;
and she had no idea of a country-life. Her understanding did not
reach so far as to comprehend the first principles of discretion;
and, indeed, if her capacity had been better than it was, her
natural indolence would not have permitted her to abandon a
certain routine, to which she had been habituated. She had not
taste enough to relish any rational enjoyment; but her ruling
passion was vanity, not that species which arises from self-conceit
of superior accomplishments, but that which is of a
bastard and idiot nature, excited by shew and ostentation, which
implies not even the least consciousness of any personal merit.

The nuptial peal of noise and nonsense being rung out in all the
usual changes, Mr Baynard thought it high time to make her
acquainted with the particulars of the plan which he had
projected -- He told her that his fortune, though sufficient to
afford all the comforts of life, was not ample enough to command
all the superfluities of pomp and pageantry, which, indeed, were
equally absurd and intolerable -- He therefore hoped she would have
no objection to their leaving London in the spring, when he would
take the opportunity to dismiss some unnecessary domestics, whom
he had hired for the occasion of their marriage -- She heard him in
silence, and after some pause, 'So (said she) I am to be buried
in the country!' He was so confounded at this reply, that he
could not speak for some minutes: at length he told her, he was
much mortified to find he had proposed anything that was
disagreeable to her ideas -- 'I am sure (added he) I meant nothing
more than to lay down a comfortable plan of living within the
bounds of our fortune, which is but moderate.' 'Sir (said she),
you are the best judge of your own affairs -- My fortune, I know,
does not exceed twenty thousand pounds -- Yet, even with that
pittance, I might have had a husband who would not have begrudged
me a house in London' -- 'Good God! my dear (cried poor Baynard, in
the utmost agitation), you don't think me so sordid -- I only
hinted what I thought -- But, I don't pretend to impose --' 'Yes,
sir (resumed the lady), it is your prerogative to command, and my
duty to obey' So saying, she burst into tears and retired to her
chamber, where she was joined by her aunt -- He endeavoured to
recollect himself, and act with vigour of mind on this occasion;
but was betrayed by the tenderness of his nature, which was the
greatest defect of his constitution. He found the aunt in tears,
and the niece in a fit, which held her the best part of eight
hours, at the expiration of which, she began to talk incoherently
about death and her dear husband, who had sat by her all this
time, and now pressed her hand to his lips, in a transport of
grief and penitence for the offence he had given -- From thence
forward, he carefully avoided mentioning the country; and they
continued to be sucked deeper and deeper into the vortex of
extravagance and dissipation, leading what is called a
fashionable life in town -- About the latter end of July, however,
Mrs Baynard, in order to exhibit a proof of conjugal obedience,
desired of her own accord, that they might pay a visit to his
country house, as there was no company left in London. He would
have excused himself from this excursion which was no part of the
oeconomical plan he had proposed; but she insisted upon making
this sacrifice to his taste and prejudices, and away they went
with such an equipage as astonished the whole country. All that
remained of the season was engrossed by receiving and returning
visits in the neighbourhood; and, in this intercourse it was
discovered that sir John Chickwell had a house-steward and one
footman in livery more than the complement of Mr Baynard's
household. This remark was made by the aunt at table, and
assented to by the husband, who observed that sir John Chickwell
might very well afford to keep more servants than were found in
the family of a man who had not half his fortune. Mrs Baynard ate
no supper that evening; but was seized with a violent fit, which
completed her triumph over the spirit of her consort. The two
supernumerary servants were added -- The family plate was sold for
old silver, and a new service procured; fashionable furniture was
provided, and the whole house turned topsy turvy.

At their return to London in the beginning of winter, he, with a
heavy heart, communicated these particulars to me in confidence.
Before his marriage, he had introduced me to the lady as his
particular friend; and I now offered in that character, to lay
before her the necessity of reforming her oeconomy, if she had
any regard to the interest of her own family, or complaisance for
the inclinations of her husband -- But Baynard declined my offer,
on the supposition that his wife's nerves were too delicate to
bear expostulation; and that it would only serve to overwhelm her
with such distress as would make himself miserable.

Baynard is a man of spirit, and had she proved a termagant, he
would have known how to deal with her; but, either by accident or
instinct, she fastened upon the weak side of his soul, and held
it so fast, that he has been in subjection ever since -- I
afterwards advised him to carry her abroad to France or Italy,
where he might gratify her vanity for half the expence it cost
him in England: and this advice he followed accordingly. She was
agreeably flattered with the idea of seeing and knowing foreign
parts, and foreign fashions; of being presented to sovereigns,
and living familiarly with princes. She forthwith seized the
hint which I had thrown
out on purpose, and even pressed Mr Baynard to hasten his
departure; so that in a few weeks they crossed the sea to France,
with a moderate train, still including the aunt; who was her
bosom counsellor, and abetted her in all her oppositions to her
husband's will-- Since that period, I have had little or no
opportunity to renew our former correspondence -- All that I knew
of his transactions, amounted to no more than that after an
absence of two years, they returned so little improved in
oeconomy, that they launched out into new oceans of extravagance,
which at length obliged him to mortgage his estate -- By this time
she had bore him three children, of which the last only survives,
a puny boy of twelve or thirteen, who will be ruined in his
education by the indulgence of his mother.

As for Baynard, neither his own good sense, nor the dread of
indigence, nor the consideration of his children, has been of
force sufficient to stimulate him into the resolution of breaking
at once the shameful spell by which he seems enchanted -- With a
taste capable of the most refined enjoyment, a heart glowing with
all the warmth of friendship and humanity, and a disposition
strongly turned to the more rational pleasures of a retired and
country life, he is hurried about in a perpetual tumult, amidst a
mob of beings pleased with rattles, baubles, and gewgaws, so void
of sense and distinction, that even the most acute philosopher
would find it a very hard task to discover for what wise purpose
of providence they were created -- Friendship is not to be found;
nor can the amusements for which he sighs be enjoyed within the
rotation of absurdity, to which he is doomed for life. He has
long resigned all views of improving his fortune by management
and attention to the exercise of husbandry, in which he
delighted; and as to domestic happiness, not the least glimpse of
hope remains to amuse his imagination. Thus blasted in all his
prospects, he could not fail to be overwhelmed with melancholy
and chagrin, which have preyed upon his health and spirits in
such a manner, that he is now threatened with a consumption.

I have given you a sketch of the man, whom the other day I went
to visit -- At the gate we found a great number of powdered
lacquies, but no civility -- After we had sat a considerable time
in the coach, we were told, that Mr Baynard had rode out, and
that his lady was dressing; but we were introduced to a parlour,
so very fine and delicate, that in all appearance it was designed
to be seen only, not inhabited. The chairs and couches were
carved, gilt, and covered with rich damask, so smooth and slick,
that they looked as if they had never been sat upon. There was no
carpet upon the floor, but the boards were rubbed and waxed in
such a manner, that we could not walk, but were obliged to slide
along them; and as for the stove, it was too bright and polished
to be polluted with sea-coal, or stained by the smoke of any
gross material fire -- When we had remained above half an hour
sacrificing to the inhospitable powers in the temple of cold
reception, my friend Baynard arrived, and understanding we were
in the house, made his appearance, so meagre, yellow, and
dejected, that I really should not have known him, had I met with
him in any other place. Running up to me, with great eagerness, he
strained me in his embrace, and his heart was so full, that for
some minutes he could not speak. Having saluted us all round, he
perceived our uncomfortable situation, and conducting us into
another apartment, which had fire in the chimney, called for
chocolate -- Then, withdrawing, he returned with a compliment from
his wife, and, in the mean time, presented his son Harry, a
shambling, blear-eyed boy, in the habit of a hussar; very rude,
forward, and impertinent. His father would have sent him to a
boarding-school, but his mamma and aunt would not hear of his
lying out of the house; so that there was a clergyman engaged as
his tutor in the family.

As it was but just turned of twelve, and the whole house was in
commotion to prepare a formal entertainment, I foresaw it would
be late before we dined, and proposed a walk to Mr Baynard, that
we might converse together freely. In the course of this
perambulation, when I expressed some surprize that he had
returned so soon from Italy, he gave me to understand, that his
going abroad had not at all answered the purpose, for which he
left England; that although the expence of living was not so
great in Italy as at home, respect being had to the same rank of
life in both countries, it had been found necessary for him to
lift himself above his usual stile, that he might be on some
footing with the counts, marquises, and cavaliers, with whom he
kept company -- He was obliged to hire a great number of servants,
to take off a great variety of rich cloaths, and to keep a
sumptuous table for the fashionable scorocconi of the country;
who, without a consideration of this kind, would not have payed
any attention to an untitled foreigner, let his family or fortune
be ever so respectable -- Besides, Mrs Baynard was continually
surrounded by a train of expensive loungers, under the
denominations of language-masters, musicians, painters, and
ciceroni; and had actually fallen into the disease of buying
pictures and antiques upon her own judgment, which was far from
being infallible -- At length she met with an affront, which gave
her disgust to Italy, and drove her back to England with some
precipitation. By means of frequenting the dutchess of
B[edford]'s conversazione, while her grace was at Rome, Mrs
Baynard became acquainted with all the fashionable people of that
city, and was admitted to their assemblies without scruple -- Thus
favoured, she conceived too great an idea of her own importance,
and when the dutchess left Rome, resolved to have a conversazione
that should leave the Romans no room to regret her grace's
departure. She provided hands for a musical entertainment, and
sent biglietti of invitation to every person of distinction; but
not one Roman of the female sex appeared at her assembly -- She was
that night seized with a violent fit, and kept her bed three
days, at the expiration of which she declared that the air of
Italy would be the ruin of her constitution. In order to prevent
this catastrophe, she was speedily removed to Geneva, from whence
they returned to England by the way of Lyons and Paris. By the
time they arrived at Calais, she had purchased such a quantity of
silks, stuffs, and laces, that it was necessary to hire a vessel
to smuggle them over, and this vessel was taken by a custom-house
cutter; so that they lost the whole cargo, which had cost them
above eight hundred pounds.

It now appears, that her travels had produced no effect upon her,
but that of making her more expensive and fantastic than ever:
She affected to lead the fashion, not only in point of female
dress, but in every article of taste and connoisseurship. She
made a drawing of the new facade to the house in the country; she
pulled up the trees, and pulled down the walls of the garden, so
as to let in the easterly wind, which Mr Baynard's ancestors had
been at great pains to exclude. To shew her taste in laying out
ground, she seized into her own hand a farm of two hundred acres,
about a mile from the house, which she parcelled out into walks
and shrubberies, having a great bason in the middle, into which
she poured a whole stream that turned two mills, and afforded the
best trout in the country. The bottom of the bason, however, was
so ill secured, that it would not hold the water which strained
through the earth, and made a bog of the whole plantation: in a
word, the ground which formerly payed him one hundred and fifty
pounds a year, now cost him two hundred pounds a year to keep it
in tolerable order, over and above the first expence of trees,
shrubs, flowers, turf, and gravel. There was not an inch of
garden ground left about the house, nor a tree that produced
fruit of any kind; nor did he raise a truss of hay, or a bushel
of oats for his horses, nor had he a single cow to afford milk
for his tea; far less did he ever dream of feeding his own
mutton, pigs, and poultry: every article of housekeeping, even
the most inconsiderable, was brought from the next market town,
at the distance of five miles, and thither they sent a courier
every morning to fetch hot rolls for breakfast. In short, Baynard
fairly owned that he spent double his income, and that in a few
years he should be obliged to sell his estate for the payment of
his creditors. He said that his wife had such delicate nerves,
and such imbecility of spirit, that she could neither bear
remonstrance, be it ever so gentle, nor practise any scheme of
retrenchment, even if she perceived the necessity of such a
measure. He had therefore ceased struggling against the stream,
and endeavoured to reconcile himself to ruin, by reflecting that
his child at least would inherit his mother's fortune, which was
secured to him by the contract of marriage.

The detail which he gave me of his affairs, filled me at once
with grief and indignation. I inveighed bitterly against the
indiscretion of his wife, and reproached him with his unmanly
acquiescence under the absurd tyranny which she exerted. I
exhorted him to recollect his resolution, and make one effectual
effort to disengage himself from a thraldom, equally shameful and
pernicious. I offered him all the assistance in my power. I
undertook to regulate his affairs, and even to bring about a
reformation in his family, if he would only authorise me to
execute the plan I should form for his advantage. I was so
affected by the subject, that I could not help mingling tears
with my remonstrances, and Baynard was so penetrated with these
marks of my affection, that he lost all power of utterance. He
pressed me to his breast with great emotion, and wept in silence.
At length he exclaimed, 'Friendship is undoubtedly the most
precious balm of life! Your words, dear Bramble, have in a great
measure recalled me from an abyss of despondence, in which I have
been long overwhelmed. I will, upon honour, make you acquainted
with a distinct state of my affairs, and, as far as I am able to
go, will follow the course you prescribe. But there are certain
lengths which my nature -- The truth is, there are tender
connexions, of which a batchelor has no idea -- Shall I own my
weakness? I cannot bear the thoughts of making that woman
uneasy' -- 'And yet (cried I), she has seen you unhappy for a
series of years -- unhappy from her misconduct, without ever
shewing the least inclination to alleviate your distress' --
'Nevertheless (said he) I am persuaded she loves me with the most
warm affection; but these are incongruities in the composition of
the human mind which I hold to be inexplicable.'

I was shocked at his infatuation, and changed the subject, after
we had agreed to maintain a close correspondence for the future.
He then gave me to understand, that he had two neighbours, who,
like himself, were driven by their wives at full speed, in the
high road to bankruptcy and ruin. All the three husbands were of
dispositions very different from each other, and, according to
this variation, their consorts were admirably suited to the
purpose of keeping them all three in subjection. The views of the
ladies were exactly the same. They vied in grandeur, that is, in
ostentation, with the wife of Sir Charles Chickwell, who had four
times their fortune; and she again piqued herself upon making an
equal figure with a neighbouring peeress, whose revenue trebled
her own. Here then was the fable of the frog and the ox, realized
in four different instances within the same county: one large
fortune, and three moderate estates, in a fair way of being burst
by the inflation of female vanity; and in three of these
instances, three different forms of female tyranny were
exercised. Mr Baynard was subjugated by practising upon the
tenderness of his nature. Mr Milksan, being of a timorous
disposition, truckled to the insolence of a termagant. Mr
Sowerby, who was of a temper neither to be moved by fits, nor
driven by menaces, had the fortune to be fitted with a helpmate,
who assailed him with the weapons of irony and satire; sometimes
sneering in the way of compliment; sometimes throwing out
sarcastic comparisons, implying reproaches upon his want of
taste, spirit, and generosity: by which means she stimulated his
passions from one act of extravagance to another, just as the
circumstances of her vanity required.

All these three ladies have at this time the same number of
horses, carriages, and servants in and out of livery; the same
variety of dress; the same quantity of plate and china; the like
ornaments in furniture: and in their entertainments they
endeavour to exceed one another in the variety, delicacy, and
expence of their dishes. I believe it will be found upon enquiry,
that nineteen out of twenty, who are ruined by extravagance, fall
a sacrifice to the ridiculous pride and vanity of silly women,
whose parts are held in contempt by the very men whom they
pillage and enslave. Thank heaven, Dick, that among all the
follies and weaknesses of human nature, I have not yet fallen
into that of matrimony.

After Baynard and I had discussed all these matters at leisure,
we returned towards the house, and met Jery with our two women,
who had come forth to take the air, as the lady of the mansion
had not yet made her appearance. In short, Mrs Baynard did not
produce herself, till about a quarter of an hour before dinner
was upon the table. Then her husband brought her into the
parlour, accompanied by her aunt and son, and she received us
with a coldness of reserve sufficient to freeze the very soul of
hospitality. Though she knew I had been the intimate friend of
her husband, and had often seen me with him in London, she shewed
no marks of recognition or regard, when I addressed myself to her
in the most friendly terms of salutation. She did not even
express the common compliment of, I am glad to see you; or, I
hope you have enjoyed your health since we had the pleasure of
seeing you; or some such words of course: nor did she once open
her mouth in the way of welcome to my sister and my niece: but
sat in silence like a statue, with an aspect of insensibility.
Her aunt, the model upon which she had been formed, was indeed
the very essence of insipid formality but the boy was very pert
and impudent, and prated without ceasing.

At dinner, the lady maintained the same ungracious indifference,
never speaking but in whispers to her aunt; and as to the repast,
it was made up of a parcel of kickshaws, contrived by a French
cook, without one substantial article adapted to the satisfaction
of an English appetite. The pottage was little better than bread
soaked in dishwashings, lukewarm. The ragouts looked as if they
had been once eaten and half digested: the fricassees were
involved in a nasty yellow poultice: and the rotis were scorched
and stinking, for the honour of the fumet. The desert consisted
of faded fruit and iced froth, a good emblem of our landlady's
character; the table-beer was sour, the water foul, and the wine
vapid; but there was a parade of plate and china, and a powdered
lacquey stood behind every chair, except those of the master and
mistress of the house, who were served by two valets dressed like
gentlemen. We dined in a large old Gothic parlour, which was
formerly the hall. It was now paved with marble, and,
notwithstanding the fire which had been kindled about an hour,
struck me with such a chill sensation, that when I entered it the
teeth chattered in my jaws -- In short, every thing was cold,
comfortless, and disgusting, except the looks of my friend
Baynard, which declared the warmth of his affection and humanity.

After dinner we withdrew into another apartment, where the boy
began to be impertinently troublesome to my niece Liddy. He
wanted a playfellow, forsooth; and would have romped with her,
had she encouraged his advances -- He was even so impudent as to
snatch a kiss, at which she changed countenance, and seemed
uneasy; and though his father checked him for the rudeness of his
behaviour, he became so outrageous as to thrust his hand in her
bosom: an insult to which she did not tamely submit, though one
of the mildest creatures upon earth. Her eyes sparkling with
resentment, she started up, and lent him such a box in the ear,
as sent him staggering to the other side of the room.

'Miss Melford (cried his father), you have treated him with the
utmost propriety -- I am only sorry that the impertinence of any
child of mine should have occasioned this exertion of your spirit,
which I cannot but applaud and admire.' His wife was so far
from assenting to the candour of his apology, that she rose from
the table, and, taking her son by the hand, 'Come, child (said
she), your father cannot abide you.' So saying, she retired with
this hopeful youth, and was followed by her gouvernante: but
neither the one nor the other deigned to take the least notice of
the company.

Baynard was exceedingly disconcerted; but I perceived his
uneasiness was tinctured with resentment, and derived a good omen
from this discovery. I ordered the horses to be put to the
carriage, and, though he made some efforts to detain us all
night, I insisted upon leaving the house immediately; but, before
I went away, I took an opportunity of speaking to him again in
private. I said every thing I could recollect, to animate his
endeavours in shaking off those shameful trammels. I made no
scruple to declare, that his wife was unworthy of that tender
complaisance which he had shewn for her foibles: that she was
dead to all the genuine sentiments of conjugal affection;
insensible of her own honour and interest, and seemingly
destitute of common sense and reflection. I conjured him to
remember what he owed to his father's house, to his own
reputation, and to his family, including even this unreasonable
woman herself, who was driving on blindly to her own destruction.
I advised him to form a plan for retrenching superfluous expence,
and try to convince the aunt of the necessity for such a
reformation, that she might gradually prepare her niece for its
execution; and I exhorted him to turn that disagreeable piece of
formality out of the house, if he should find her averse to his

Here he interrupted me with a sigh, observing that such a step
would undoubtedly be fatal to Mrs Baynard -- 'I shall lose all
patience (cried I), to hear you talk so weakly -- Mrs Baynard's
fits will never hurt her constitution. I believe in my conscience
they are all affected: I am sure she has no feeling for your
distresses; and, when you are ruined, she will appear to have no
feeling for her own.' Finally, I took his word and honour that he
would make an effort, such as I had advised; that he would form a
plan of oeconomy, and, if he found it impracticable without my
assistance, he would come to Bath in the winter, where I promised
to give him the meeting, and contribute all in my power to the
retrieval of his affairs -- With this mutual engagement we parted;
and I shall think myself supremely happy, if, by my means, a
worthy man, whom I love and esteem, can be saved from misery,
disgrace, and despair.

I have only one friend more to visit in this part of the country,
but he is of a complexion very different from that of Baynard.
You have heard me mention Sir Thomas Bullford, whom I knew in
Italy. He is now become a country gentleman; but, being disabled
by the gout from enjoying any amusement abroad, he entertains
himself within doors, by keeping open house for all corners, and
playing upon the oddities and humours of his company: but he
himself is generally the greatest original at his table. He is
very good-humoured, talks much, and laughs without ceasing. I am
told that all the use he makes of his understanding at present,
is to excite mirth, by exhibiting his guests in ludicrous
attitudes. I know not how far we may furnish him with
entertainment of this kind, but I am resolved to beat up his
quarters, partly with a view to laugh with the knight himself,
and partly to pay my respects to his lady, a good-natured
sensible woman, with whom he lives upon very easy terms, although
she has not had the good fortune to bring him an heir to his

And now, dear Dick, I must tell you for your comfort, that you
are the only man upon earth to whom I would presume to send such
a longwinded epistle, which I could not find in my heart to
curtail, because the subject interested the warmest passions of
my heart; neither will I make any other apology to a
correspondent who has been so long accustomed to the impertinence

Sept. 30.

To Sir WATKIN PHILLIPS, Bart. at Oxon.


I believe there is something mischievous in my disposition, for
nothing diverts me so much as to see certain characters tormented
with false terrors. -- We last night lodged at the house of Sir
Thomas Bullford, an old friend of my uncle, a jolly fellow, of
moderate intellects, who, in spite of the gout, which hath lamed
him, is resolved to be merry to the last; and mirth he has a
particular knack in extracting from his guests, let their humour
be ever so caustic or refractory. -- Besides our company, there was
in the house a fat-headed justice of the peace, called Frogmore,
and a country practitioner in surgery, who seemed to be our
landlord's chief companion and confidant. -- We found the knight
sitting on a couch, with his crutches by his side, and his feet
supported on cushions; but he received us with a hearty welcome,
and seemed greatly rejoiced at our arrival. -- After tea, we were
entertained with a sonata on the harpsichord by lady Bullford,
who sung and played to admiration; but Sir Thomas seemed to be a
little asinine in the article of ears, though he affected to be
in raptures, and begged his wife to favour us with an arietta of
her own composing. -- This arietta, however, she no sooner began to
perform, than he and the justice fell asleep; but the moment she
ceased playing, the knight waked snorting, and exclaimed, 'O
cara! what d'ye think, gentlemen? Will you talk any more of your
Pargolesi and your Corelli?' -- At the same time, he thrust his
tongue in one cheek, and leered with one eye at the doctor and
me, who sat on his left hand. He concluded the pantomime with a
loud laugh, which he could command at all times extempore. --
Notwithstanding his disorder, he did not do penance at supper,
nor did he ever refuse his glass when the toast went round, but
rather encouraged a quick circulation, both by precept and

I soon perceived the doctor had made himself very necessary to
the baronet. -- He was the whetstone of his wit, the butt of his
satire, and his operator in certain experiments of humour, which
were occasionally tried upon strangers. -- Justice Frogmore was an
excellent subject for this species of philosophy; sleek and
corpulent, solemn, and shallow, he had studied Burn with
uncommon application, but he studied nothing so much as the art
of living (that is, eating) well -- This fat buck had often
afforded good sport to our landlord; and he was frequently
started with tolerable success, in the course of this evening;
but the baronet's appetite for ridicule seemed to be chiefly
excited by the appearance, address, and conversation of
Lismahago, whom he attempted in all different modes of
exposition; but he put me in mind of a contest that I once saw
betwixt a young hound and an old hedge-hog -- The dog turned him
over and over, and bounced and barked, and mumbled; but as often
as he attempted to bite, he felt a prickle in his jaws, and
recoiled in manifest confusion; -- The captain, when left to
himself, will not fail to turn his ludicrous side to the company,
but if any man attempts to force him into that attitude, he
becomes stubborn as a mule, and unmanageable as an elephant

Divers tolerable jokes were cracked upon the justice, who eat a
most unconscionable supper, and, among other things, a large
plate of broiled mushrooms, which he had no sooner swallowed than
the doctor observed, with great gravity, that they were of the
kind called champignons, which in some constitutions has a
poisonous effect. -- Mr Frogmore startled at this remark, asked, in
some confusion, why he had not been so kind as to give him that
notice sooner. -- He answered, that he took it for granted, by his
eating them so heartily, that he was used to the dish; but as he
seemed to be under some apprehension, he prescribed a bumper of
plague water, which the justice drank off immediately, and
retired to rest, not without marks of terror and disquiet.

At midnight we were shewn to our different chambers, and in half
an hour, I was fast asleep in bed; but about three o'clock in the
morning I was waked with a dismal cry of Fire! and starting up,
ran to the window in my shirt. -- The night was dark and stormy;
and a number of people half-dressed ran backwards and forwards
thro' the court-yard, with links and lanthorns, seemingly in the
utmost hurry and trepidation. -- Slipping on my cloaths in a
twinkling, I ran down stairs, and, upon enquiry, found the fire
was confined to a back-stair, which led to a detached apartment
where Lismahago lay. -- By this time, the lieutenant was alarmed by
bawling at his window, which was in the second story, but he
could not find his cloaths in the dark, and his room-door was
locked on the outside. -- The servants called to him, that the
house had been robbed; that, without all doubt, the villains had
taken away his cloaths, fastened the door, and set the house on
fire, for the stair-case was in flames. -- In this dilemma the poor
lieutenant ran about the room naked like a squirrel in a cage,
popping out his bead at the window between whiles, and imploring
assistance. -- At length, the knight in person was brought out in
his chair, attended by my uncle and all the family, including our
aunt Tabitha, who screamed, and cried, and tore her hair, as if
she had been distracted -- Sir Thomas had already ordered his
people to bring a long ladder which was applied to the captain's,
window, and now he exhorted him earnestly to descend. -- There was
no need of much rhetoric to persuade Lismahago, who forthwith
made his exit by the window, roaring all the time to the people
below to hold fast the ladder.

Notwithstanding the gravity of the occasion, it was impossible to
behold this scene without being seized with an inclination to
laugh. The rueful aspect of the lieutenant in his shirt, with a
quilted night-cap fastened under his chin, and his long lank
limbs and posteriors exposed to the wind, made a very picturesque
appearance, when illumined by the links and torches which the
servants held up to light him in his descent. -- All the company
stood round the ladder, except the knight, who sat in his chair,
exclaiming from time to time, 'Lord, have mercy upon us! -- save
the gentleman's life! -- mind your footing, dear captain! softly! --
stand fast! -- clasp the ladder with both hands! -- there! -- well
done, my dear boy! -- O bravo! -- an old soldier for ever! -- bring a
blanket bring a warm blanket to comfort his poor carcase -- warm
the bed in the green room -- give me your hand, dear captain -- I'm
rejoiced to see thee safe and sound with all my heart.' Lismahago
was received at the foot of the ladder by his inamorata, who
snatching a blanket from one of the maids, wrapped it about his
body; two men-servants took him under the arms, and a female
conducted him to the green room, still accompanied by Mrs
Tabitha, who saw him fairly put to bed. -- During this whole
transaction he spoke not a syllable, but looked exceeding grim,
sometimes at one, sometimes at another of the spectators, who now
adjourned in a body to the parlour where we had supped, every one
surveying another with marks of astonishment and curiosity.

The knight being seated in an easy chair, seized my uncle by the
hand, and bursting into a long and loud laugh, 'Matt (cried he),
crown me with oak, or ivy, or laurel, or parsely, or what you
will, and acknowledge this to be a coup de maitre in the way of
waggery -- ha, ha, ha! -- Such a camisciata, scagliata, beffata! O,
che roba! O, what a subject! -- O, what caricatura! -- O, for a Rosa,
a Rembrandt, a Schalken! -- Zooks, I'll give a hundred guineas to
have it painted! -- what a fine descent from the cross, or ascent
to the gallows! what lights and shadows! -- what a groupe below!
what expression above! -- what an aspect! -- did you mind the aspect?
ha, ha, ha! -- and the limbs, and the muscles every toe denoted
terror! ha, ha, ha! -- then the blanket! O, what costume! St
Andrew! St Lazarus! St Barrabas! -- ha, ha, ha!' 'After all then
(cried Mr Bramble very gravely), this was no more than a false
alarm. -- We have been frightened out of our beds, and almost out
of our senses, for the joke's sake.' 'Ay, and such a joke! (cried
our landlord) such a farce! such a denouement! such a

'Have a little patience (replied our 'squire); we are not yet
come to the catastrophe; and pray God it may not turn out a
tragedy instead of a farce. -- The captain is one of those
saturnine subjects, who have no idea of humour. -- He never laughs
in his own person; nor can he bear that other people should laugh
at his expence. Besides, if the subject had been properly chosen,
the joke was too severe in all conscience.' ''Sdeath! (cried the
knight) I could not have bated him an ace had he been my own
father; and as for the subject, such another does not present
itself once in half a century.' Here Mrs Tabitha interposing, and
bridling up, declared, she did not see that Mr Lismahago was a
fitter subject for ridicule than the knight himself; and that she
was very much afraid, he would very soon find he had mistaken his
man. -- The baronet was a good deal disconcerted by his intimation,
saying, that he must be a Goth and a barbarian, if he did not
enter into the spirit of such a happy and humourous contrivance. --
He begged, however, that Mr Bramble and his sister would bring
him to reason; and this request was reinforced by lady Bullford,
who did not fail to read the baronet a lecture upon his
indiscretion, which lecture he received with submission on one
side of his face, and a leer upon the other.

We now went to bed for the second time; and before I got up, my
uncle had visited Lismahago in the green room, and used such
arguments with him, that when we met in the parlour he seemed to
be quite appeased. He received the knight's apology with good
grace, and even professed himself pleased at finding he had
contributed to the diversion of the company. -- Sir Thomas shook
him by the hand, laughing heartily; and then desired a pinch of
snuff, in token of perfect reconciliation -- The lieutenant,
putting his hand in his waistcoat pocket, pulled out, instead of
his own Scotch mull, a very fine gold snuff-box, which he no
sooner perceived than he said, 'Here is a small mistake.' 'No
mistake at all (cried the baronet): a fair exchange is no
robbery. -- Oblige me so far, captain, as to let me keep your mull
as a memorial.' 'Sir (said the lieutenant), the mull is much at
your service; but this machine I can by no means retain. -- It
looks like compounding a sort of felony in the code of honour.
Besides, I don't know but there may be another joke in this
conveyance; and I don't find myself disposed to be brought upon
the stage again. -- I won't presume to make free with your pockets,
but I beg you will put it up again with your own hand.' So
saying, with a certain austerity of aspect, he presented the
snuffbox to the knight, who received it in some confusion, and
restored the mull, which he would by no means keep except on the
terms of exchange.

This transaction was like to give a grave cast to the
conversation, when my uncle took notice that Mr Justice Frogmore
had not made his appearance either at the night-alarm, or now at
the general rendezvous. The baronet hearing Frogmore mentioned,
'Odso! (cried he) I had forgot the justice. -- Pr'ythee, doctor, go
and bring him out of his kennel.' Then laughing till his sides
were well shaken, he said he would shew the captain, that he was
not the only person of the drama exhibited for the entertainment
of the company. As to the night-scene, it could not affect the
justice, who had been purposely lodged in the farther end of the
house, remote from the noise, and lulled with a dose of opium
into the bargain. In a few minutes, Mr Justice was led into the
parlour in his nightcap and loose morning-gown, rolling his head
from side to side, and groaning piteously all the way. -- 'Jesu!
neighbour Frogmore (exclaimed the baronet), what is the matter? --
you look as if you was not a man for this world. -- Set him down
softly on the couch -- poor gentlemen! -- Lord have mercy upon us! --
What makes him so pale, and yellow, and bloated?' 'Oh, Sir
Thomas! (cried the justice) I doubt 'tis all over with me --
Those mushrooms I eat at your table have done my business -- ah!
oh! hey!' 'Now the Lord forbid! (said the other) -- what! man, have
a good heart -- How does thy stomach feel? -- hall?'

To this interrogation he made no reply; but throwing aside his
nightgown, discovered that his waist-coat would not meet upon his
belly by five good inches at least. 'Heaven protect us all!
(cried Sir Thomas) what a melancholy spectacle! -- never did I see
a man so suddenly swelled, but when he was either just dead, or
just dying. -- Doctor, can'st thou do nothing for this poor
object?' 'I don't think the case is quite desperate (said the
surgeon), but I would advise Mr Frogmore to settle his affairs
with all expedition; the parson may come and pray by him, while I
prepare a glyster and an emetic draught.' The justice, rolling
his languid eyes, ejaculated with great fervency, 'Lord, have
mercy upon us! Christ, have mercy upon us!' -- Then he begged the
surgeon, in the name of God, to dispatch -- 'As for my worldly
affairs (said he), they are all settled but one mortgage, which
must be left to my heirs -- but my poor soul! my poor soul! what
will become of my poor soul? miserable sinner that I am!' 'Nay,
pr'ythee, my dear boy, compose thyself (resumed the knight);
consider the mercy of heaven is infinite; thou can'st not have
any sins of a very deep dye on thy conscience, or the devil's
in't.' 'Name not the devil (exclaimed the terrified Frogmore), I
have more sins to answer for than the world dreams of. -- Ah!
friend, I have been sly -- sly damn'd sly! -- Send for the parson
without loss of time, and put me to bed, for I am posting to
eternity.' -- He was accordingly raised from the couch, and
supported by two servants, who led him back to his room; but
before he quitted the parlour, he intreated the good company to
assist him with their prayers. -- He added, 'Take warning by me,
who am suddenly cut off in my prime, like a flower of the field;
and God forgive you, Sir Thomas, for suffering such poisonous
trash to be eaten at your table.'

He was no sooner removed out of hearing, than the baronet
abandoned himself to a violent fit of laughing, in which he was
joined by the greatest part of the company; but we could hardly
prevent the good lady from going to undeceive the patient, by
discovering, that while he slept his waistcoat had been
straitened by the contrivance of the surgeon; and that the
disorder in his stomach and bowels was occasioned by some
antimonial wine, which he had taken over night, under the
denomination of plague-water. She seemed to think that his
apprehension might put an end to his life: the knight swore he
was no such chicken, but a tough old rogue, that would live long
enough to plague all his neighbours. -- Upon enquiry, we found his
character did not intitle him to much compassion or respect, and
therefore we let our landlord's humour take its course. -- A
glyster was actually administered by an old woman of the family,
who had been Sir Thomas's nurse, and the patient took a draught
made with oxymel of squills to forward the operation of the
antimonial wine, which had been retarded by the opiate of the
preceding night. He was visited by the vicar, who read prayers,
and began to take an account of the state of his soul, when those
medicines produced their effect; so that the parson was obliged
to hold his nose while he poured forth spiritual consolation from
his mouth. The same expedient was used by the knight and me, who,
with the doctor, entered the chamber at this juncture, and found
Frogmore enthroned on an easing-chair, under the pressure of a
double evacuation. The short intervals betwixt every heave he
employed in crying for mercy, confessing his sins, or asking the
vicar's opinion of his case; and the vicar answered, in a solemn
snuffling tone, that heightened the ridicule of the scene. The
emetic having done its office, the doctor interfered, and ordered
the patient to be put in bed again. When he examined the egesta,
and felt his pulse, he declared that much of the virus was
discharged, and, giving him a composing draught, assured him he
had good hopes of his recovery. -- This welcome hint he received
with the tears of joy in his eyes, protesting, that if he should
recover, he would always think himself indebted for his life to
the great skill and tenderness of his doctor, whose hand he
squeezed with great fervour; and thus he was left to his repose.

We were pressed to stay dinner, that we might be witnesses of his
resuscitation; but my uncle insisted upon our departing before
noon, that we might reach this town before it should be dark. -- In
the mean-time, lady Bullford conducted us into the garden to see
a fishpond just finished, which Mr Bramble censured as being too
near the parlour, where the knight now sat by himself, dozing in
an elbow-chair after the fatigues of his morning atchievement. --
In this situation he reclined, with his feet wrapped in flannel,
and supported in a line with his body, when the door flying open
with a violent shock, lieutenant Lismahago rushed into the room
with horror in his looks, exclaiming, 'A mad dog! a mad dog!' and
throwing up the window sash, leaped into the garden -- Sir Thomas,
waked by this tremendous exclamation, started up, and forgetting
his gout, followed the lieutenant's example by a kind of
instinctive impulse. He not only bolted thro' the window like an
arrow from a bow, but ran up to his middle in the pond before he
gave the least sign of recollection. Then the captain began to
bawl, 'Lord have mercy upon us! -- pray, take care of the
gentleman! -- for God's sake, mind your footing, my dear boy! -- get
warm blankets -- comfort his poor carcase -- warm the bed in the
green room.'

Lady Bullford was thunder-struck at this phaenomenon, and the
rest of the company gazed in silent astonishment, while the
servants hastened to assist their master, who suffered himself to
be carried back into the parlour without speaking a word. -- Being
instantly accommodated with dry clothes and flannels, comforted
with a cordial, and replaced in statu quo, one of the maids was
ordered to chafe his lower extremities, an operation in
consequence of which his senses seemed to return and his good
humour to revive. -- As we had followed him into the room, he
looked at every individual in his turn, with a certain ludicrous
expression in his countenance, but fixed his eyes in particular
upon Lismahago, who presented him with a pinch of snuff, and when
he took it in silence, 'Sir Thomas Bullford (said he), I am much
obliged to you for all your favours, and some of them I have
endeavoured to repay in your own coin.' 'Give me thy hand (cried
the baronet); thou hast indeed payed me Scot and lot; and even
left a balance in my hands, for which, in presence of this
company, I promise to be accountable.' -- So saying, he laughed
very heartily, and even seemed to enjoy the retaliation which had
been exacted at his own expence; but lady Bullford looked very
grave; and in all probability thought the lieutenant had carried
his resentment too far, considering that her husband was
valetudinary -- but, according to the proverb, he that will play
at bowls must expect to meet with rubbers. I have seen a tame
bear, very diverting when properly managed, become a very
dangerous wild beast when teized for the entertainment of the
spectators. -- As for Lismahago, he seemed to think the fright and
the cold bath would have a good effect upon his patient's
constitution: but the doctor hinted some apprehension that the
gouty matter might, by such a sudden shock, be repelled from the
extremities and thrown upon some of the more vital parts of the
machine. -- I should be very sorry to see this prognostic verified
upon our facetious landlord, who told Mrs Tabitha at parting,
that he hoped she would remember him in the distribution of the
bride's favours, as he had taken so much pains to put the
captain's parts and mettle to the proof. -- After all, I am afraid
our squire will appear to be the greatest sufferer by the
baronet's wit; for his constitution is by no means calculated for
night-alarms. He has yawned and shivered all day, and gone to bed
without supper; so that, as we have got into good quarters, I
imagine we shall make a halt to-morrow; in which case, you will
have at least one day's respite from the persecution of

Oct. 3.

To Mrs MARY JONES, at Brambleton-hall.


Miss Liddy is so good as to unclose me in a kiver as fur as
Gloster, and the carrier will bring it to hand -- God send us all
safe to Monmouthshire, for I'm quite jaded with rambling -- 'Tis a
true saying, live and learn -- 0 woman, what chuckling and changing
have I seen! -- Well, there's nothing sartain in this world -- Who
would have thought that mistriss, after all the pains taken for
the good of her prusias sole, would go for to throw away her poor
body? that she would cast the heys of infection upon such a
carrying-crow as Lashmihago! as old as Mathewsullin, as dry as a
red herring, and as poor as a starved veezel -- 0, Molly, hadst
thou seen him come down the ladder, in a shurt so scanty, that it
could not kiver his nakedness! -- The young 'squire called him
Dunquickset; but he looked for all the world like Cradoc-ap-Morgan,
the ould tinker, that suffered at Abergany for steeling
of kettle -- Then he's a profane scuffle, and, as Mr Clinker says,
no better than an impfiddle, continually playing upon the pyebill
and the new-burth -- I doubt he has as little manners as money; for
he can't say a civil word, much more make me a present of a pair
of gloves for goodwill; but he looks as if he wanted to be very
forewood and familiar O! that ever a gentlewoman of years and
discretion should tare her air, and cry and disporridge herself
for such a nubjack! as the song goes

I vow she would fain have a burd
That bids such a price for an owl.

but, for sartain, he must have dealt with some Scotch musician to
bring her to this pass -- As for me, I put my trust in the Lord;
and I have got a slice of witch elm sowed in the gathers of my
under petticoat; and Mr Clinker assures me, that by the new light
of grease, I may deify the devil and all his works -- But I nose
what I nose -- If mistress should take up with Lashmyhago, this is
no sarvice for me -- Thank God, there's no want of places; and if
it wan't for wan thing, I would -- but, no matter Madam Baynar's
woman has twenty good pounds a-year and parquisites; and dresses
like a parson of distinkson -- I dined with her and the valley de
shambles, with bags and golden jackets; but there was nothing
kimfittable to eat, being as how they lived upon board, and
having nothing but a piss of could cuddling tart and some
blamangey, I was tuck with the cullick, and a murcey it was that
mistress had her viol of assings in the cox.

But, as I was saying, I think for sartain this match will go
forewood; for things are come to a creesus; and I have seen with
my own bays, such smuggling -- But I scorn for to exclose the
secrets of the family; and if it wance comes to marrying, who
nose but the frolick may go round -- I believes as how, Miss Liddy
would have no reversion if her swan would appear; and you would
be surprised, Molly, to receive a bride's fever from your humble
sarvant -- but this is all suppository, dear girl; and I have
sullenly promised to Mr Clinker, that neither man, woman, nor
child shall no that arrow said a civil thing to me in the way of
infection. I hope to drink your health at Brambleton-hall, in a
horn of October, before the month be out -- Pray let my bed be
turned once a-day, and the windore opened, while the weather is
dry; and burn a few billets with some brush in the footman's
garret, and see their mattrash be dry as a bone: for both our
gentlemen have got a sad could by lying in damp shits at sir
Tummas Ballfart's. No more at present, but my sarvice to Saul and
the rest of our fellow-sarvents,

Dear Mary Jones,
Always yours,
Oct. 4.

To Miss LAETITIA WILLIS, at Gloucester.


This method of writing to you from time to time, without any
hopes of an answer, affords me, I own, some ease and satisfaction
in the 'midst of my disquiet, as it in some degree lightens the
burthen of affliction: but it is at best a very imperfect
enjoyment of friendship, because it admits of no return of
confidence and good counsel -- I would give the whole world to have
your company for a single day -- I am heartily tired of this
itinerant way of life. I am quite dizzy with a perpetual
succession of objects -- Besides it is impossible to travel such a
length of way, without being exposed to inconveniencies, dangers,
and disagreeable accidents, which prove very grievous to a poor
creature of weak nerves like me, and make me pay very dear for
the gratification of my curiosity.

Nature never intended me for the busy world -- I long for repose
and solitude, where I can enjoy that disinterested friendship
which is not to be found among crouds, and indulge those pleasing
reveries that shun the hurry and tumult of fashionable society --
Unexperienced as I am in the commerce of life, I have seen enough
to give me a disgust to the generality of those who carry it on --
There is such malice, treachery, and dissimulation, even among
professed friends and intimate companions, as cannot fail to
strike a virtuous mind with horror; and when Vice quits the stage
for a moment, her place is immediately occupied by Folly, which
is often too serious to excite any thing but compassion. Perhaps I
ought to be silent on the foibles of my poor aunt; but with you,
my dear Willis, I have no secrets; and, truly, her weaknesses are
such as cannot be concealed. Since the first moment we arrived at
Bath, she has been employed constantly in spreading nets for the
other sex; and, at length, she has caught a superannuated
lieutenant, who is in a fair way to make her change her name -- My
uncle and my brother seem to have no objection to this
extraordinary match, which, I make no doubt, will afford
abundance of matter for conversation and mirth; for my part, I am
too sensible of my own weaknesses, to be diverted with those of
other people -- At present, I have something at heart that employs
my whole attention, and keeps my mind in the utmost terror and

Yesterday in the forenoon, as I stood with my brother at the
parlour window of an inn, where we had lodged, a person passed a
horseback, whom (gracious Heaven!) I instantly discovered to be
Wilson! He wore a white riding-coat, with the cape buttoned up to
his chin; looking remarkably pale, and passed at a round trot,
without seeming to observe us -- Indeed, he could not see us; for
there was a blind that concealed us from the view. You may guess
how I was affected at this apparition. The light forsook my eyes;
and I was seized with such a palpitation and trembling, that I
could not stand. I sat down upon a couch, and strove to compose
myself, that my brother might not perceive my agitation; but it
was impossible to escape his prying eyes -- He had observed the
object that alarmed me; and, doubtless, knew him at the first
glance -- He now looked at me with a stern countenance; then he ran
out into the street, to see what road the unfortunate horseman
had taken -- He afterwards dispatched his man for further
intelligence, and seemed to meditate some violent design. My
uncle, being out of order, we remained another night at the inn;
and all day long Jery acted the part of an indefatigable spy upon
my conduct -- He watched my very looks with such eagerness of
attention, as if he would have penetrated into the utmost
recesses of my heart -- This may be owing to his regard for my
honour, if it is not the effect of his own pride; but he is so
hot, and violent, and unrelenting, that the sight of him alone
throws me into a flutter; and really it will not be in my power
to afford him any share of my affection, if he persists in
persecuting me at this rate. I am afraid he has formed some
scheme of vengeance, which will make me completely wretched! I am
afraid he suspects some collusion from this appearance of
Wilson. -- Good God! did he really appear?
or was it only a phantom, a pale spectre to apprise me of his

O Letty, what shall I do? -- where shall I turn for advice and
consolation? shall I implore the protection of my uncle, who has
been always kind and compassionate. -- This must be my last
resource. -- I dread the thoughts of making him uneasy; and would
rather suffer a thousand deaths than live the cause of dissension
in the family. -- I cannot conceive the meaning of Wilson's coming
hither: -- perhaps, it was in quest of us, in order to disclose his
real name and situation: -- but wherefore pass without staying to
make the least enquiry? -- My dear Willis, I am lost in conjecture.
I have not closed an eye since I saw him. -- All night long have I
been tossed about from one imagination to another. The reflection
finds no resting place. -- I have prayed, and sighed, and wept
plentifully. -- If this terrible suspence continues much longer, I
shall have another fit of illness, and then the whole family will
be in confusion -- If it was consistent with the wise purposes of
Providence, would I were in my grave -- But it is my duty to be
resigned. -- My dearest Letty, excuse my weakness -- excuse these
blots -- my tears fall so fast that I cannot keep the paper dry --
yet I ought to consider that I have as yet no cause to despair
but I am such a faint-hearted timorous creature!

Thank God, my uncle is much better than he was yesterday. He is
resolved to pursue our journey strait to Wales. -- I hope we shall
take Gloucester in our way -- that hope chears my poor heart I
shall once more embrace my best beloved Willis, and pour all my
griefs into her friendly bosom. -- 0 heaven! is it possible that
such happiness is reserved for

The dejected and forlorn
Oct. 4.

To Sir WATKIN PHILLIPS, Bart. of Jesus college, Oxon.


I yesterday met with an incident which I believe you will own to
be very surprising -- As I stood with Liddy at the window of the
inn where we had lodged, who should pass by but Wilson a-horse
back! -- I could not be mistaken in the person, for I had a full
view of him as he advanced; I plainly perceived by my sister's
confusion that she recognized him at the same time. I was equally
astonished and incensed at his appearance, which I could not but
interpret into an insult, or something worse. I ran out at the
gate, and, seeing him turn the corner of the street, I dispatched
my servant to observe his motions, but the fellow was too late to
bring me that satisfaction. He told me, however, that there was
an inn, called the Red Lion, at that end of the town, where he
supposed the horseman had alighted, but that he would not enquire
without further orders. I sent him back immediately to know what
strangers were in the house, and he returned with a report that
there was one Mr Wilson lately arrived. In consequence of this
information I charged him with a note directed to that gentleman,
desiring him to meet me in half an hour in a certain field at the
town's end, with a case of pistols, in order to decide the
difference which could not be determined at our last rencounter:
but I did not think proper to subscribe the billet. My man
assured me he had delivered it into his own hand; and, that
having read it, he declared he would wait upon the gentleman at
the place and time appointed.

M'Alpine being an old soldier, and luckily sober at the time, I
entrusted him with my secret. I ordered him to be within call,
and, having given him a letter to be delivered to my uncle in
case of accident, I repaired to the rendezvous, which was an
inclosed field at a little distance from the highway. I found my
antagonist had already taken his ground, wrapped in a dark
horseman's coat, with a laced hat flapped over his eyes; but what
was my astonishment, when, throwing off this wrapper, he appeared
to be a person whom I had never seen before! He had one pistol
stuck in a leather belt, and another in his hand ready for
action, and, advancing a few steps, called to know if I was
ready -- I answered, 'No,' and desired a parley; upon which he
turned the muzzle of his piece towards the earth; then replaced
it in his belt, and met me half way -- When I assured him he was
not the man I expected to meet, he said it might be so: that he
had received a slip of paper directed to Mr Wilson, requesting
him to come hither; and that as there was no other in the place
of that name, he naturally concluded the note was intended for
him, and him only -- I then gave him to understand,
that I had been injured by a person who assumed that name, which
person I had actually seen within the hour, passing through the
street on horseback; that hearing there was a Mr Wilson at the
Red Lion, I took it for granted he was the man, and in that
belief had writ the billet; and I expressed my surprize, that he,
who was a stranger to me and my concerns, should give me such a
rendezvous, without taking the trouble to demand a previous
explanation. He replied, that there was no other of his name in
the whole country; that no such horseman had alighted at the Red
Lion since nine o'clock, when he arrived -- that having had the
honour to serve his majesty, he thought he could not decently
decline any invitation of this kind, from what quarter soever it
might come, and that if any explanation was necessary, it did not
belong to him to demand it, but to the gentleman who summoned
him into the field. Vexed as I was at this adventure, I could not
help admiring the coolness of this officer, whose open
countenance prepossessed me in his favour. He seemed to be turned
of forty; wore his own short black hair, which curled naturally
about his ears, and was very plain in his apparel -- When I begged
pardon for the trouble I had given him, he received my apology
with great good humour. -- He told me that he lived about ten miles
off, at a small farm-house, which would afford me tolerable
lodging, if I would come and take diversion of hunting with him
for a few weeks; in which case we might, perhaps, find out the
man who had given me offence -- I thanked him very sincerely for
his courteous offer, which, I told him, I was not at liberty to
accept at present, on account of my being engaged in a family
party; and so we parted, with mutual professions of good will and

Now tell me, dear knight, what am I to make of this singular
adventure? Am I to suppose that the horseman I saw was really a
thing of flesh and blood, or a bubble that vanished into air? -- or
must I imagine Liddy knows more of the matter than she chuses to
disclose? -- If I thought her capable of carrying on any
clandestine correspondence with such a fellow, I should at once
discard all tenderness, and forget that she was connected with me
by the ties of blood -- But how is it possible that a girl of her
simplicity and inexperience, should maintain such an intercourse,
surrounded, as she is, with so many eyes, destitute of all
opportunity, and shifting quarters every day of her life! --
Besides, she has solemnly promised. No -- I can't think the girl so
base -- so insensible to the honour of her family. -- What disturbs
me chiefly, is the impression which these occurrences seem to
make upon her spirits -- These are the symptoms from which I
conclude that the rascal has still a hold on her affection, surely
I have a right to call him a rascal, and to conclude that his
designs are infamous. But it shall be my fault if he does not one
day repent his presumption -- I confess I cannot think, much less
write on this subject, with any degree of temper or patience; I
shall therefore conclude with telling you, that we hope to be in
Wales by the latter end of the month: but before that period you
will probably hear again from

your affectionate
Oct. 4.

To Sir WATKIN PHILLIPS, Bart. of Jesus college, Oxon.


When I wrote you by last post, I did not imagine I should be
tempted to trouble you again so soon: but I now sit down with a
heart so full that it cannot contain itself; though I am under
such agitation of spirits, that you are to expect neither method
nor connexion in this address -- We have been this day within a
hair's breadth of losing honest Matthew Bramble, in consequence
of a cursed accident, which I will endeavour to explain. -- In
crossing the country to get into the post road, it was necessary
to ford a river, and we that were a-horseback passed without any
danger or difficulty; but a great quantity of rain having fallen
last night and this morning, there was such an accumulation of
water, that a mill-head gave way, just as the coach was passing
under it, and the flood rushed down with such impetuosity, as
first floated, and then fairly overturned the carriage in the
middle of the stream -- Lismahago and I, and the two servants,
alighting instantaneously, ran into the river to give all the
assistance in our power. -- Our aunt, Mrs Tabitha, who had the good
fortune to be uppermost, was already half way out of the coach
window, when her lover approaching, disengaged her entirely; but,
whether his foot slipt, or
the burthen was too great, they fell over head and ears in each
others' arms. He endeavoured more than once to get up, and even
to disentangle himself from her embrace, but she hung about his
neck like a mill-stone (no bad emblem of matrimony), and if my
man had not proved a stanch auxiliary, those two lovers would in
all probability have gone hand in hand to the shades below -- For
my part, I was too much engaged to take any cognizance of their
distress. -- I snatched out my sister by the hair of the head, and,
dragging her to the bank, recollected that my uncle had, not yet
appeared -- Rushing again into the stream, I met Clinker hauling
ashore Mrs Jenkins, who looked like a mermaid with her hair
dishevelled about her ears; but, when I asked if his master was
safe, he forthwith shook her from him, and she must have gone to
pot, if a miller had not seasonably come to her relief. -- As for
Humphry, he flew like lightning, to the coach, that was by this
time filled with water, and, diving into it, brought up the poor
'squire, to all appearance, deprived of life -- It is not in my
power to describe what I felt at this melancholy spectacle -- it
was such an agony as baffles all description! The faithful
Clinker, taking him up in his arms, as if he had been an infant
of six months, carried him ashore, howling most piteously all the
way, and I followed him in a transport of grief and
consternation -- When he was laid upon the grass and turned from
side to side, a great quantity of water ran out at his mouth,
then he opened his eyes, and fetched a deep sigh. Clinker
perceiving these signs of life, immediately tied up his arm with
a garter, and, pulling out a horse-fleam, let him blood in the
farrier stile. -- At first a few drops only issued from the
orifice, but the limb being chafed, in a little time the blood
began to flow in a continued stream, and he uttered some
incoherent words, which were the most welcome sounds that ever
saluted my ear. There was a country inn hard by, the landlord of
which had by this time come with his people to give their
assistance. -- Thither my uncle being carried, was undressed and
put to bed, wrapped in warm blankets; but having been moved too
soon, he fainted away, and once more lay without sense or motion,
notwithstanding all the efforts of Clinker and the landlord, who
bathed his temples with Hungary water, and held a smelling-bottle
to his nose. As I had heard of the efficacy of salt in such
cases, I ordered all that was in the house to be laid under his
head and body; and whether this application had the desired
effect, or nature of herself prevailed, he, in less than a
quarter of an hour, began to breathe regularly, and soon
retrieved his recollection, to the unspeakable joy of all the by-standers.
As for Clinker, his brain seemed to be affected. -- He
laughed, and wept, and danced about in such a distracted manner,
that the landlord very judiciously conveyed him out of the room.
My uncle, seeing me dropping wet, comprehended the whole of what
had happened, and asked if all the company was safe? -- Being
answered in the affirmative, he insisted upon my putting on dry
clothes; and, having swallowed a little warm wine, desired he
might be left to his repose. Before I went to shift myself, I
inquired about the rest of the family -- I found Mrs Tabitha still
delirious from her fright, discharging very copiously the water
she had swallowed. She was supported by the captain, distilling
drops from his uncurled periwig, so lank and so dank, that he
looked like Father Thames without his sedges, embracing Isis,
while she cascaded in his urn. Mrs Jenkins was present also, in a
loose bed gown, without either cap or handkerchief; but she
seemed to be as little compos mentis as her mistress, and acted
so many cross purposes in the course of her attendance, that,
between the two, Lismahago had occasion for all his philosophy.
As for Liddy, I thought the poor girl would have actually lost
her senses. The good woman of the house had shifted her linen,
and put her into bed; but she was seized with the idea that her
uncle had perished, and in this persuasion made a dismal out-cry;
nor did she pay the least regard to what I said, when I solemnly
assured her he was safe. Mr Bramble hearing the noise, and being
informed of her apprehension, desired she might be brought into
his chamber; and she no sooner received this intimation, than she
ran thither half naked, with the wildest expression of eagerness
in her countenance -- Seeing the 'squire sitting up in the bed, she
sprung forwards and throwing her arms about his neck, exclaimed
in a most pathetic tone, 'Are you -- Are you indeed my uncle -- My
dear uncle! -- My best friend! My father! -- Are you really living?
or is it an illusion of my poor brain!' Honest Matthew was so
much affected, that he could not help shedding tears, while he
kissed her forehead, saying, 'My dear Liddy, I hope I shall live
long enough to shew how sensible I am of your affection -- But your
spirits are fluttered, child -- You want rest -- Go to bed and
compose yourself' -- 'Well, I will (she replied) but still methinks
this cannot be real -- The coach was full of water -- My uncle was
under us all -- Gracious God! -- You was under water -- How did you get
out; -- tell me that? or I shall think this is all a deception' --
'In what manner I was brought out, I know as little as you do, my
dear (said the 'squire); and, truly, that is a circumstance of
which I want to be informed.' I would have given him a detail of
the whole adventure, but he would not hear me until I should
change my clothes; so that I had only time to tell him, that he
owed his life to the courage and fidelity of Clinker: and having
given him this hint, I conducted my sister to her own chamber.

This accident happened about three o'clock in the afternoon, and
in little more than an hour the hurricane was all over; but as
the carriage was found to be so much damaged, that it could not
proceed without considerable repairs, a blacksmith and
wheelwright were immediately sent for to the next market-town,
and we congratulated ourselves upon being housed at an inn,
which, though remote from the post-road, afforded exceeding good
lodging. The women being pretty well composed, and the men all a-foot,
my uncle sent for his servant, and, in the presence of
Lismahago and me, accosted him in these words -- 'So, Clinker, I
find you are resolved I shan't die by water -- As you have fished
me up from the bottom at your own risque, you are at least
entitled to all the money that was in my pocket, and there it
is' -- So saying, he presented him with a purse containing thirty
guineas, and a ring nearly of the same value -- 'God forbid! (cried
Clinker), your honour shall excuse me -- I am a poor fellow, but I
have a heart O! if your honour did but know how I rejoice to see --
Blessed be his holy name, that made me the humble instrument --
But as for the lucre of gain, I renounce it -- I have done no more
than my duty -- No more than I would have done for the most
worthless of my fellow-creatures -- No more than I would have done
for captain Lismahago, or Archy Macalpine, or any sinner upon
earth -- But for your worship, I would go through fire as well as
water' -- 'I do believe it, Humphry (said the 'squire); but as you
think it was your duty to save my life at the hazard of your own,
I think it is mine to express the sense I have of your
extraordinary fidelity and attachment -- I insist upon your
receiving this small token of my gratitude; but don't imagine
that I look upon this as an adequate recompence for the service
you have done me -- I have determined to settle thirty pounds a-year
upon you for life; and I desire these gentlemen will bear
witness to this my intention, of which I have a memorandum in my
pocketbook.' 'Lord make me thankful for all these mercies! (cried
Clinker, sobbing), I have been a poor bankrupt from the
beginning -- your honour's goodness found me, when I was -- naked
when I was -- sick and forlorn -- I understand your honour's looks -- I
would not give offence -- but my heart is very full -- and if your
worship won't give me leave to speak, -- I must vent it in prayers
to heaven for my benefactor.' When he quitted the room, Lismahago
said, he should have a much better opinion of his honesty, if he
did not whine and cant so abominably; but that he had always
observed those weeping and praying fellows were hypocrites at
bottom. Mr Bramble made no reply to this sarcastic remark,
proceeding from the lieutenant's resentment of Clinker having, in
pure simplicity of heart, ranked him with M'Alpine and the
sinners of the earth -- The landlord being called to receive some
orders about the beds, told the 'squire that his house was very
much at his service, but he was sure he should not have the
honour to lodge him and his company. He gave us to understand
that his master who lived hard by, would not suffer us to be at a
public house, when there was accommodation for us at his own; and
that, if he had not dined abroad in the neighbourhood he would
have undoubtedly come to offer his services at our first arrival.
He then launched out in praise of that gentleman, whom he had
served as butler, representing him as a perfect miracle of
goodness and generosity. He said he was a person of great
learning, and allowed to be the best farmer in the country: -- that
he had a lady who was as much beloved as himself, and an only
son, a very hopeful young gentleman, just recovered from a
dangerous fever, which had like to have proved fatal to the whole
family; for, if the son had died, he was sure the parents would
not have survived their loss -- He had not yet finished the
encomium of Mr Dennison, when this gentleman arrived in a post-chaise,
and his appearance seemed to justify all that had been
said in his favour. He is pretty well advanced in years, but
hale, robust, and florid, with an ingenuous countenance,
expressive of good sense and humanity. Having condoled with us on
the accident which had happened, he said he was come to conduct
us to his habitation, where we should be less incommoded than at
such a paultry inn, and expressed his hope that the ladies would
not be the worse for going thither in his carriage, as the
distance was not above a quarter of a mile. My uncle having made
a proper return to this courteous exhibition, eyed him
attentively, and then asked if he had not been at Oxford, a
commoner of Queen's college? When Mr Dennison answered, 'Yes,'
with some marks of surprise -- 'Look at me then (said our squire)
and let us see if you can recollect the features of an old
friend, whom you have not seen these forty years.' -- The
gentleman, taking him by the hand, and gazing at him earnestly, --
'I protest (cried he), I do think I recall the idea of Matthew
Loyd of Glamorganshire, who was student of Jesus.' 'Well
remembered, my dear friend, Charles Dennison (exclaimed my uncle,
pressing him to his breast), I am that very identical Matthew
Loyd of Glamorgan.' Clinker, who had just entered the room with
some coals for the fire, no sooner heard these words, than
throwing down the scuttle on the toes of Lismahago, he began to
caper as if he was mad, crying -- 'Matthew Loyd of Glamorgan! -- O
Providence! -- Matthew Loyd of Glamorgan!' -- Then, clasping my
uncle's knees, he went on in this manner -- 'Your worship must
forgive me -- Matthew Loyd of Glamorgan! -- O Lord, Sir! I can't
contain myself! -- I shall lose my senses' -- 'Nay, thou hast lost
them already, I believe (said the 'squire, peevishly), prithee,
Clinker, be quiet -- What is the matter?' -- Humphry, fumbling in his
bosom, pulled out an old wooden snuff-box, which he presented in
great trepidation to his master, who, opening it immediately,
perceived a small cornelian seal, and two scraps of paper -- At
sight of these articles he started, and changed colour, and
casting his eye upon the inscriptions -- 'Ha! -- how! -- what! where
(cried he) is the person here named?' Clinker, knocking his own
breast, could hardly pronounce these words -- 'Here -- here -- here is
Matthew Loyd, as the certificate sheweth -- Humphry Clinker was the
name of the farrier that took me 'prentice' -- 'And who gave you
these tokens?' said my uncle hastily -- 'My poor mother on her
death-bed' -- replied the other -- 'And who was your mother?'
'Dorothy Twyford, an please your honour, heretofore bar-keeper at
the Angel at Chippenham.' -- 'And why were not these tokens
produced before?' 'My mother told me she had wrote to
Glamorganshire, at the time of my birth, but had no answer; and
that afterwards, when she made enquiry, there was no such person
in that county.' 'And so in consequence of my changing my name
and going abroad at that very time, thy poor mother and thou have
been left to want and misery -- I am really shocked at the
consequence of my own folly.' -- Then, laying his hand on Clinker's
head, he added, 'Stand forth, Matthew Loyd -- You see, gentlemen,
how the sins of my youth rise up in judgment against me -- Here is
my direction written with my own hand, and a seal which I left at
the woman's request; and this is a certificate of the child's
baptism, signed by the curate of the parish.' The company were
not a little surprised at this discovery, upon which Mr Dennison
facetiously congratulated both the father and the son: for my
part, I shook my new-found cousin heartily by the hand, and
Lismahago complimented him with the tears in his eyes, for he had
been hopping about the room, swearing in broad Scotch, and
bellowing with the pain occasioned by the fall of the coalscuttle
upon his foot. He had even vowed to drive the saul out of the
body of that mad rascal: but, perceiving the unexpected turn
which things had taken, he wished him joy of his good fortune,
observing that it went very near his heart, as he was like to be
a great toe out of pocket by the discovery -- Mr Dennison now
desired to know for what reason my uncle had changed the name by
which he knew him at Oxford, and our 'squire satisfied him, by
answering to this effect -- 'I took my mother's name, which was
Loyd, as heir to her lands in Glamorganshire; but when I came of
age, I sold that property, in order to clear my paternal estate,
and resumed my real name; so that I am now Matthew Bramble of
Brambleton-hall in Monmouthshire, at your service; and this is my
nephew, Jeremy Melford of Belfield, in the county of Glamorgan.'
At that instant the ladies entering the room, he presented Mrs
Tabitha as his sister, and Liddy as his niece. The old gentleman
saluted them very cordially, and seemed struck with the
appearance of my sister, whom he could not help surveying with a
mixture of
complacency and surprize -- 'Sister (said my uncle), there is a
poor relation that recommends himself to your good graces -- The
quondam Humphry Clinker is metamorphosed into Matthew Loyd; and
claims the honour of being your carnal kinsman -- in short, the
rogue proves to be a crab of my own planting in the days of hot
blood and unrestrained libertinism.' Clinker had by this time
dropt upon one knee, by the side of Mrs Tabitha, who, eyeing him
askance, and flirting her fan with marks of agitation, thought
proper, after some conflict, to hold out her hand for him to
kiss, saying, with a demure aspect, 'Brother, you have been very
wicked: but I hope you'll live to see the folly of your ways -- I
am very sorry to say the young man, whom you have this day
acknowledged, has more grace and religion, by the gift of God,
than you with all your profane learning, and repeated
opportunity -- I do think he has got the trick of the eye, and the
tip of the nose of my uncle Loyd of Flluydwellyn; and as for the
long chin, it is the very moral of the governor's -- Brother, as
you have changed his name pray change his dress also; that livery
doth not become any person that hath got our blood in his
veins.' -- Liddy seemed much pleased with this acquisition to the
family. -- She took him by the hand, declaring she should always be
proud to own her connexion with a virtuous young man, who had
given so many proofs of his gratitude and affection to her
uncle. -- Mrs. Winifred Jenkins, extremely fluttered between her
surprize at this discovery, and the apprehension of losing her
sweet-heart, exclaimed in a giggling tone, -- 'I wish you joy Mr
Clinker -- Floyd -- I would say -- hi, hi, hi! -- you'll be so proud you
won't look at your poor fellow servants, oh, oh, oh!' Honest
Clinker owned he was overjoyed at his good fortune, which was
greater than he deserved -- 'But wherefore should I be proud? (said
he) a poor object conceived in sin, and brought forth in
iniquity, nursed in a parish workhouse, and bred in a smithy.
Whenever I seem proud, Mrs Jenkins, I beg of you to put me in
mind of the condition I was in, when I first saw you between
Chippenham and Marlborough.'

When this momentous affair was discussed to the satisfaction of
all parties concerned, the weather being dry, the ladies declined
the carriage; so that we walked all together to Mr Dennison's
house, where we found the tea ready prepared by his lady, an
amiable matron, who received us with all the benevolence of
hospitality. The house is old fashioned and irregular, but
lodgeable and commodious. To the south it has the river in front,
at the distance of a hundred paces; and on the north, there is a
rising ground covered with an agreeable plantation; the greens
and walks are kept in the nicest order, and all is rural and
romantic. I have not yet seen the young gentleman, who is on a
visit to a friend in the neighbourhood, from whose house he is
not expected 'till to-morrow.

In the mean time, as there is a man going to the next market town
with letters for the post, I take this opportunity to send you
the history of this day, which has been remarkably full of
adventures; and you will own I give you them like a beef-steak at
Dolly's, hot and hot, without ceremony and parade, just as they
come from the recollection of




Since the last trouble I gave you, I have met with a variety of
incidents, some of them of a singular nature, which I reserve as
a fund for conversation; but there are others so interesting,
that they will not keep in petto till meeting.

Know then, it was a thousand pounds to a sixpence, that you
should now be executing my will, instead of perusing my letter!
Two days ago, our coach was overturned in the midst of a rapid
river, where my life was saved with the utmost difficulty, by the
courage, activity, and presence of mind of my servant Humphry
Clinker -- But this is not the most surprising circumstance of the
adventure -- The said Humphry Clinker proves to be Matthew Loyd,
natural son of one Matthew Loyd of Glamorgan, if you know any
such person -- You see, Doctor, that notwithstanding all your
philosophy, it is not without some reason that the Welchmen
ascribe such energy to the force of blood -- But we shall discuss
this point on some future occasion.

This is not the only discovery which I made in consequence of our
disaster -- We happened to be wrecked upon a friendly shore -- The
lord of the manor is no other than Charles Dennison, our fellow-rake
at Oxford -- We are now happily housed with that gentleman,
who has really attained to that pitch of rural felicity, at which
I have been aspiring these twenty years in vain. He is blessed
with a consort, whose disposition is suited to his own in all
respects; tender, generous, and benevolent -- She, moreover,
possesses an uncommon share of understanding, fortitude, and
discretion, and is admirably qualified to be his companion,
confidant, counsellor, and coadjutrix. These excellent persons
have an only son, about nineteen years of age, just such a youth
as they could have wished that Heaven would bestow to fill up the
measure of their enjoyment -- In a word, they know no other allay
to their happiness, but their apprehension and anxiety about the
life and concerns of this beloved object.

Our old friend, who had the misfortune to be a second brother,
was bred to the law, and even called to the bar; but he did not
find himself qualified to shine in that province, and had very
little inclination for his profession -- He disobliged his father,
by marrying for love, without any consideration of fortune; so
that he had little or nothing to depend upon for some years but
his practice, which afforded him a bare subsistence; and the
prospect of an increasing family, began to give him disturbance
and disquiet. In the mean time, his father dying, was succeeded
by his elder brother, a fox-hunter and a sot, who neglected his
affairs, insulted and oppressed his servants, and in a few years
had well nigh ruined the estate, when he was happily carried off
by a fever, the immediate consequence of a debauch. Charles, with
the approbation of his wife, immediately determined to quit
business, and retire into the country, although this resolution
was strenuously and zealously opposed by every individual, whom
he consulted on the subject. Those who had tried the experiment,
assured him that he could not pretend to breathe in the country
for less than the double of what his estate produced; that, in
order to be upon the footing of a gentleman, he would be obliged
to keep horses, hounds, carriages, with a suitable number of
servants, and maintain an elegant table for the entertainment of
his neighbours; that farming was a mystery, known only to those
who had been bred up to it from the cradle, the success of it
depending not only upon skill and industry, but also upon such
attention and oeconomy as no gentleman could be supposed to give
or practise; accordingly, every attempt made by gentlemen
miscarried, and not a few had been ruined by their prosecution of
agriculture -- Nay, they affirmed that he would find it cheaper to
buy hay and oats for his cattle, and to go to market for poultry,
eggs, kitchen herbs, and roots, and every the most inconsiderable
article of house-keeping, than to have those articles produced on
his own ground.

These objections did not deter Mr Dennison, because they were
chiefly founded on the supposition, that he would be obliged to
lead a life of extravagance and dissipation, which he and his
consort equally detested, despised, and determined to avoid -- The
objects he had in view, were health of body, peace of mind, and
the private satisfaction of domestic quiet, unallayed by actual
want, and uninterrupted by the fears of indigence -- He was very
moderate in his estimate of the necessaries, and even of the
comforts of life -- He required nothing but wholesome air, pure
water, agreeable exercise, plain diet, convenient lodging, and
decent apparel. He reflected, that if a peasant without
education, or any great share of natural sagacity, could maintain
a large family, and even become opulent upon a farm, for which he
payed an annual rent of two or three hundred pounds to the
landlord, surely he himself might hope for some success from his
industry, having no rent to pay, but, on the contrary, three or
four hundred pounds a year to receive. He considered, that the
earth was an indulgent mother, that yielded her fruits to all her
children without distinction. He had studied the theory of
agriculture with a degree of eagerness and delight; and he could
not conceive there was any mystery in the practice, but what he
should be able to disclose by dint of care and application. With
respect to houshold expence, he entered into a minute detail and
investigation, by which he perceived the assertions of his
friends were altogether erroneous -- He found he should save sixty
pounds a year in the single article of house-rent, and as much
more in pocket-money and contingencies; that even butcher's-meat
was twenty per cent cheaper in the country than in London; but
that poultry, and almost every other circumstance of house-keeping,
might be had for less than one-half of
what they cost in town; besides, a considerable saving on the
side of dress, in being delivered from the oppressive imposition
of ridiculous modes, invented by ignorance, and adopted by folly.

As to the danger of vying with the rich in pomp and equipage, it
never gave him the least disturbance. He was now turned of forty,
and, having lived half that time in the busy scenes of life, was
well skilled in the science of mankind. There cannot be in nature
a more contemptible figure than that of a man, who, with five
hundred a year, presumes to rival in expence a neighbour who
possesses five times that income -- His ostentation, far from
concealing, serves only to discover his indigence, and render his
vanity the more shocking; for it attracts the eyes of censure,
and excites the spirit of inquiry. There is not a family in the
county nor a servant in his own house, nor a farmer in the
parish, but what knows the utmost farthing that his lands
produce, and all these behold him with scorn or compassion. I am
surprised that these reflections do not occur to persons in this
unhappy dilemma, and produce a salutary effect; but the truth is,
of all the passions incident to human nature, vanity is that
which most effectually perverts the faculties of the
understanding; nay, it sometimes becomes so incredibly depraved,
as to aspire at infamy, and find pleasure in bearing the stigmas
of reproach.

I have now given you a sketch of the character and situation of
Mr Dennison, when he came down to take possession of this estate;
but as the messenger, who carries the letters to the next town,
is just setting off, I shall reserve what further I have to say
on this subject, till the next post, when you shall certainly
hear from

Yours always,
Oct. 8.


Once more, dear doctor, I resume the pen for your amusement. It
was on the morning after our arrival that, walking out with my
friend, Mr Dennison, I could not help breaking forth into the
warmest expressions of applause at the beauty of the scene, which
is really inchanting; and I signified, in particular, how much I
was pleased with the disposition of some detached groves, that
afforded at once shelter and ornament to his habitation.

'When I took possession of these lands, about two and twenty
years ago (said he), there was not a tree standing within a mile
of the house, except those of an old neglected orchard, which
produced nothing but leaves and moss. -- It was in the gloomy month
of November, when I arrived, and found the house in such a
condition, that it might have been justly stiled the tower of
desolation. -- The court-yard was covered with nettles and docks ,
and the garden exhibited such a rank plantation of weeds as I had
never seen before; -- the window-shutters were falling in pieces, --
the sashes broken; -- and owls and jack-daws had taken possession
of the chimnies. -- The prospect within was still more dreary -- All
was dark, and damp, and dirty beyond description; -- the rain
penetrated in several parts of the roof; -- in some apartments the
very floors had given way; -- the hangings were parted from the
walls, and shaking in mouldy remnants; the glasses were dropping
out of their frames; -- the family-pictures were covered with dust.
and all the chairs and tables worm-eaten and crazy. -- There was
not a bed in the house that could be used, except one old-fashioned
machine, with a high gilt tester and fringed curtains
of yellow mohair, which had been, for aught I know, two centuries
in the family. -- In short, there was no furniture but the utensils
of the kitchen; and the cellar afforded nothing but a few empty
butts and barrels, that stunk so abominably, that I would not
suffer any body to enter it until I had flashed a considerable
quantity of gunpowder to qualify the foul air within.

'An old cottager and his wife, who were hired to lie in the
house, had left it with precipitation, alledging, among other
causes of retreat, that they could not sleep for frightful
noises, and that my poor brother certainly walked after his
death. -- In a word, the house appeared uninhabitable; the barn,
stable, and outhouses were in ruins; all the fences broken down,
and the fields lying waste.

'The farmer who kept the key never dreamed I had any intention to
live upon the spot -- He rented a farm of sixty pounds, and his
lease was just expiring. -- He had formed a scheme of being
appointed bailiff to the estate, and of converting the house and
the adjacent grounds to his own use. --A hint of his intention I
received from the curate at my first arrival; I therefore did not
pay much regard to what he said by way of discouraging me from
coming to settle in the country; but I was a little startled
when he gave me warning that he should quit the farm at the
expiration of his lease, unless I could abate considerably in the

'At this period I accidentally became acquainted with a person,
whose friendship laid the foundation of all my prosperity. In the
next market-town I chanced to dine at an inn with a Mr Wilson,
who was lately come to settle in the neighbourhood. -- He had been
lieutenant of a man of war, but quitted the sea in some disgust,
and married the only daughter of farmer Bland, who lives in this
parish, and has acquired a good fortune in the way of husbandry. --
Wilson is one of the best natured men I ever knew; brave, frank,
obliging, and ingenuous -- He liked my conversation, I was charmed
with his liberal manner; and acquaintance immediately commenced,
and this was soon improved into a friendship without reserve. --
There are characters which, like similar particles of matter,
strongly attract each other. -- He forthwith introduced me to his
father-in-law, farmer Bland, who was well acquainted with every
acre of my estate, of consequence well qualified to advise me on
this occasion. -- Finding I was inclined to embrace a country life,
and even to amuse myself with the occupation of farming, he
approved of my design -- He gave me to understand that all my farms
were underlett; that the estate was capable of great improvement;
that there was plenty of chalk in the neighbourhood; and that my
own ground produced excellent marle for manure. -- With respect to
the farm, which was like to fall into my hands, he said he would
willingly take it at the present rent; but at the same time
owned, that if I would expend two hundred pounds in enclosure, it
would be worth more than double the sum.

'Thus encouraged, I began the execution of my scheme without
further delay, and plunged into a sea of expence, though I had no
fund in reserve, and the whole produce of the estate did not
exceed three hundred pounds a year -- In one week, my house was
made weather-tight, and thoroughly cleansed from top to bottom;
then it was well ventilated by throwing all the doors and windows
open, and making blazing fires of wood in every chimney from the
kitchen to the garrets. The floors were repaired, the sashes new
glazed, and out of the old furniture of the whole house, I made
shift to fit up a parlour and three chambers in a plain yet
decent manner. -- The court-yard was cleared of weeds and rubbish,
and my friend Wilson charged himself with the dressing of the
garden; bricklayers were set at work upon the barn and stable;
and labourers engaged to restore the fences, and begin the work
of hedging and ditching, under the direction of farmer Bland, at
whose recommendation I hired a careful hind to lie in the house,
and keep constant fires in the apartments.

'Having taken these measures, I returned to London, where I
forthwith sold off my household-furniture, and, in three weeks
from my first visit, brought my wife hither to keep her
Christmas. -- Considering the gloomy season of the year, the
dreariness of the place, and the decayed aspect of our
habitation, I was afraid that her resolution would sink under the
sudden transition from a town life to such a melancholy state of
rustication; but I was agreeably disappointed. -- She found the
reality less uncomfortable than the picture I had drawn. -- By this
time indeed, things were mended in appearance -- The out-houses had
risen out of their ruins; the pigeon-house was rebuilt, and
replenished by Wilson, who also put my garden in decent order,
and provided a good stock of poultry, which made an agreeable
figure in my yard; and the house, on the whole, looked like the
habitation of human creatures. -- Farmer Bland spared me a milch
cow for my family, and an ordinary saddle-horse for my servant to
go to market at the next town. -- I hired a country lad for a
footman, the hind's daughter was my house-maid, and my wife had
brought a cook-maid from London.

'Such was my family when I began house-keeping in this place,
with three hundred pounds in my pocket, raised from the sale of
my superfluous furniture. -- I knew we should find occupation
enough through the day to employ our time; but I dreaded the long
winter evenings; yet, for those too we found a remedy: The
curate, who was a single man, soon became so naturalized to the
family, that he generally lay in the house; and his company was
equally agreeable and useful. He was a modest man, a good
scholar, and perfectly well qualified to instruct me in such
country matters as I wanted to know. -- Mr Wilson brought his wife
to see us, and she became so fond of Mrs Dennison, that she said
she was never so happy as when she enjoyed the benefit of her
conversation. -- She was then a fine buxom country lass,

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