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The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith

Part 2 out of 4

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Mr Burchell is found to be an enemy; for he has the confidence to
give disagreeable advice

Our family had now made several attempts to be fine; but some
unforeseen disaster demolished each as soon as projected. I
endeavoured to take the advantage of every disappointment, to
improve their good sense in proportion as they were frustrated in
ambition. 'You see, my children,' cried I, 'how little is to be
got by attempts to impose upon the world, in coping with our
betters. Such as are poor and will associate with none but the
rich, are hated by those they avoid, and despised by these they
follow. Unequal combinations are always disadvantageous to the
weaker side: the rich having the pleasure, and the poor the
inconveniencies that result from them. But come, Dick, my boy,
and repeat the fable that you were reading to-day, for the good
of the company.'.

'Once upon a time,' cried the child, 'a Giant and a Dwarf were
friends, and kept together. They made a bargain that they would
never forsake each other, but go seek adventures. The first
battle they fought was with two Saracens, and the Dwarf, who was
very courageous, dealt one of the champions a most angry blow. It
did the Saracen but very little injury, who lifting up his sword,
fairly struck off the poor Dwarf's arm. He was now in a woeful
plight; but the Giant coming to his assistance, in a short time
left the two Saracens dead on the plain, and the Dwarf cut off
the dead man's head out of spite. They then travelled on to
another adventure. This was against three bloody-minded Satyrs,
who were carrying away a damsel in distress. The Dwarf was not
quite so fierce now as before; but for all that, struck the first
blow, which was returned by another, that knocked out his eye:
but the Giant was soon up with them, and had they not fled, would
certainly have killed them every one. They were all very joyful
for this victory, and the damsel who was relieved fell in love
with the Giant, and married him. They now travelled far, and
farther than I can tell, till they met with a company of robbers.
The Giant, for the first time, was foremost now; but the Dwarf
was not far behind. The battle was stout and long. Wherever the
Giant came all fell before him; but the Dwarf had like to have
been killed more than once. At last the victory declared for the
two adventurers; but the Dwarf lost his leg. The Dwarf was now
without an arm, a leg, and an eye, while the Giant was without a
single wound. Upon which he cried out to his little companion, My
little heroe, this is glorious sport; let us get one victory
more, and then we shall have honour for ever. No, cries the Dwarf
who was by this time grown wiser, no, I declare off; I'll fight
no more; for I find in every battle that you get all the honour
and rewards, but all the blows fall upon me.'

I was going to moralize this fable, when our attention was called
off to a warm dispute between my wife and Mr Burchell, upon my
daughters intended expedition to town. My wife very strenuously
insisted upon the advantages that would result from it. Mr
Burchell, on the contrary, dissuaded her with great ardor, and I
stood neuter. His present dissuasions seemed but the second part
of those which were received with so ill a grace in the morning.
The dispute grew high while poor Deborah, instead of reasoning
stronger, talked louder, and at last was obliged to take shelter
from a defeat in clamour. The conclusion of her harangue,
however, was highly displeasing to us all: she knew, she said, of
some who had their own secret reasons for what they advised; but,
for her part, she wished such to stay away from her house for the
future.--'Madam,' cried Burchell, with looks of great composure,
which tended to enflame her the more, 'as for secret reasons, you
are right: I have secret reasons, which I forbear to mention,
because you are not able to answer those of which I make no
secret: but I find my visits here are become troublesome; I'll
take my leave therefore now, and perhaps come once more to take a
final farewell when I am quitting the country.' Thus saying, he
took up his hat, nor could the attempts of Sophia, whose looks
seemed to upbraid his precipitancy, prevent his going.

When gone, we all regarded each other for some minutes with
confusion. My wife, who knew herself to be the cause, strove to
hide her concern with a forced smile, and an air of assurance,
which I was willing to reprove: 'How, woman,' cried I to her, 'is
it thus we treat strangers? Is it thus we return their kindness?
Be assured, my dear, that these were the harshest words, and to
me the most unpleasing that ever escaped your lips!'--'Why would
he provoke me then,' replied she; 'but I know the motives of his
advice perfectly well. He would prevent my girls from going to
town, that he may have the pleasure of my youngest daughter's
company here at home. But whatever happens, she shall chuse
better company than such low-lived fellows as he.'--'Low-lived,
my dear, do you call him,' cried I, 'it is very possible we may
mistake this man's character: for he seems upon some occasions
the most finished gentleman I ever knew.--Tell me, Sophia, my
girl, has he ever given you any secret instances of his
attachment?'-- 'His conversation with me, sir,' replied my
daughter, 'has ever been sensible, modest, and pleasing. As to
aught else, no, never. Once, indeed, I remember to have heard him
say he never knew a woman who could find merit in a man that
seemed poor.' 'Such, my dear,' cried I, 'is the common cant of
all the unfortunate or idle. But I hope you have been taught to
judge properly of such men, and that it would be even madness to
expect happiness from one who has been so very bad an oeconomist
of his own. Your mother and I have now better prospects for you.
The next winter, which you will probably spend in town, will give
you opportunities of making a more prudent choice.' What Sophia's
reflections were upon this occasion, I can't pretend to
determine; but I was not displeased at the bottom that we were
rid of a guest from whom I had much to fear. Our breach of
hospitality went to my conscience a little: but I quickly
silenced that monitor by two or three specious reasons, which
served to satisfy and reconcile me to myself. The pain which
conscience gives the man who has already done wrong, is soon got
over. Conscience is a coward, and those faults it has not
strength enough to prevent, it seldom has justice enough to


Fresh mortifications, or a demonstration that seeming calamities
may be real blessings

The journey of my daughters to town was now resolved upon, Mr
Thornhill having kindly promised to inspect their conduct
himself, and inform us by letter of their behaviour. But it was
thought indispensably necessary that their appearance should
equal the greatness of their expectations, which could not be
done without expence. We debated therefore in full council what
were the easiest methods of raising money, or, more properly
speaking, what we could most conveniently sell. The deliberation
was soon finished, it was found that our remaining horse was
utterly useless for the plow, without his companion, and equally
unfit for the road, as wanting an eye, it was therefore
determined that we should dispose of him for the purposes
above-mentioned, at the neighbouring fair, and, to prevent
imposition, that I should go with him myself. Though this was one
of the first mercantile transactions of my life, yet I had no
doubt about acquitting myself with reputation. The opinion a man
forms of his own prudence is measured by that of the company he
keeps, and as mine was mostly in the family way, I had conceived
no unfavourable sentiments of my worldly wisdom. My wife,
however, next morning, at parting, after I had got some paces
from the door, called me back, to advise me, in a whisper, to
have all my eyes about me. I had, in the usual forms, when I came
to the fair, put my horse through all his paces; but for some
time had no bidders. At last a chapman approached, and, after he
had for a good while examined the horse round, finding him blind
of one eye, he would have nothing to say to him: a second came
up; but observing he had a spavin, declared he would not take him
for the driving home: a third perceived he had a windgall, and
would bid no money: a fourth knew by his eye that he had the
botts: a fifth, wondered what a plague I could do at the fair
with a blind, spavined, galled hack, that was only fit to be cut
up for a dog kennel.' By this time I began to have a most hearty
contempt for the poor animal myself, and was almost ashamed at
the approach of every customer; for though I did not entirely
believe all the fellows told me; yet I reflected that the number
of witnesses was a strong presumption they were right, and St
Gregory, upon good works, professes himself to be of the same

I was in this mortifying situation, when a brother clergyman, an
old acquaintance, who had also business to the fair, came up, and
shaking me by the hand, proposed adjourning to a public-house and
taking a glass of whatever we could get. I readily closed with
the offer, and entering an ale-house, we were shewn into a little
back room, where there was only a venerable old man, who sat
wholly intent over a large book, which he was reading. I never in
my life saw a figure that prepossessed me more favourably. His
locks of silver grey venerably shaded his temples, and his green
old age seemed to be the result of health and benevolence.
However, his presence did not interrupt our conversation; my
friend and I discoursed on the various turns of fortune we had
met: the Whistonean controversy, my last pamphlet, the
archdeacon's reply, and the hard measure that was dealt me. But
our attention was in a short time taken off by the appearance of
a youth, who, entering the room, respectfully said something
softly to the old stranger. 'Make no apologies, my child,' said
the old man, 'to do good is a duty we owe to all our fellow
creatures: take this, I wish it were more; but five pounds will
relieve your distress, and you are welcome.' The modest youth
shed tears of gratitude, and yet his gratitude was scarce equal
to mine. I could have hugged the good old man in my arms, his
benevolence pleased me so. He continued to read, and we resumed
our conversation, until my companion, after some time,
recollecting that he had business to transact in the fair,
promised to be soon back; adding, that he always desired to have
as much of Dr Primrose's company as possible. The old gentleman,
hearing my name mentioned, seemed to look at me with attention,
for some time, and when my friend was gone, most respectfully
demanded if I was any way related to the great Primrose, that
courageous monogamist, who had been the bulwark of the church.
Never did my heart feel sincerer rapture than at that moment.
'Sir,' cried I, 'the applause of so good a man, as I am sure you
are, adds to that happiness in my breast which your benevolence
has already excited. You behold before you, Sir, that Doctor
Primrose, the monogamist, whom you have been pleased to call
great. You here see that unfortunate Divine, who has so long, and
it would ill become me to say, successfully, fought against the
deuterogamy of the age.' 'Sir,' cried the stranger, struck with
awe, 'I fear I have been too familiar; but you'll forgive my
curiosity, Sir: I beg pardon.' 'Sir,' cried I, grasping his hand,
'you are so far from displeasing me by your familiarity, that I
must beg you'll accept my friendship, as you already have my
esteem.'--'Then with gratitude I accept the offer,' cried he,
squeezing me by the hand, 'thou glorious pillar of unshaken
orthodoxy; and do I behold- -' I here interrupted what he was
going to say; for tho', as an author, I could digest no small
share of flattery, yet now my modesty would permit no more.
However, no lovers in romance ever cemented a more instantaneous
friendship. We talked upon several subjects: at first I thought
he seemed rather devout than learned, and began to think he
despised all human doctrines as dross. Yet this no way lessened
him in my esteem; for I had for some time begun privately to
harbour such an opinion myself. I therefore took occasion to
observe, that the world in general began to be blameably
indifferent as to doctrinal matters, and followed human
speculations too much--'Ay, Sir,' replied he, as if he had
reserved all his learning to that moment, 'Ay, Sir, the world is
in its dotage, and yet the cosmogony or creation of the world has
puzzled philosophers of all ages. What a medly of opinions have
they not broached upon the creation of the world? Sanconiathon,
Manetho, Berosus, and Ocellus Lucanus, have all attempted it in
vain. The latter has these words, Anarchon ara kai atelutaion to
pan, which imply that all things have neither beginning nor end.
Manetho also, who lived about the time of Nebuchadon-Asser, Asser
being a Syriac word usually applied as a sirname to the kings of
that country, as Teglat Phael-Asser, Nabon-Asser, he, I say,
formed a conjecture equally absurd; for as we usually say ek to
biblion kubernetes, which implies that books will never teach the
world; so he attempted to investigate--But, Sir, I ask pardon, I
am straying from the question.'--That he actually was; nor could
I for my life see how the creation of the world had any thing to
do with the business I was talking of; but it was sufficient to
shew me that he was a man of letters, and I now reverenced him
the more. I was resolved therefore to bring him to the
touch-stone; but he was too mild and too gentle to contend for
victory. Whenever I made any observation that looked like a
challenge to controversy, he would smile, shake his head, and say
nothing; by which I understood he could say much, if he thought
proper. The subject therefore insensibly changed from the
business of antiquity to that which brought us both to the fair;
mine I told him was to sell an horse, and very luckily, indeed,
his was to buy one for one of his tenants. My horse was soon
produced, and in fine we struck a bargain. Nothing now remained
but to pay me, and he accordingly pulled out a thirty pound note,
and bid me change it. Not being in a capacity of complying with
his demand, he ordered his footman to be called up, who made his
appearance in a very genteel livery. 'Here, Abraham,' cried he,
'go and get gold for this; you'll do it at neighbour Jackson's,
or any where.' While the fellow was gone, he entertained me with
a pathetic harangue on the great scarcity of silver, which I
undertook to improve, by deploring also the great scarcity of
gold; so that by the time Abraham returned, we had both agreed
that money was never so hard to be come at as now. Abraham
returned to inform us, that he had been over the whole fair and
could not get change, tho' he had offered half a crown for doing
it. This was a very great disappointment to us all; but the old
gentleman having paused a little, asked me if I knew one Solomon
Flamborough in my part of the country: upon replying that he was
my next door neighbour, 'if that be the case then,' returned he,
'I believe we shall deal. You shall have a draught upon him,
payable at sight; and let me tell you he is as warm a man as any
within five miles round him. Honest Solomon and I have been
acquainted for many years together. I remember I always beat him
at threejumps; but he could hop upon one leg farther than I.' A
draught upon my neighbour was to me the same as money; for I was
sufficiently convinced of his ability: the draught was signed and
put into my hands, and Mr Jenkinson, the old gentleman, his man
Abraham, and my horse, old Blackberry, trotted off very well
pleased with each other.

After a short interval being left to reflection, I began to
recollect that I had done wrong in taking a draught from a
stranger, and so prudently resolved upon following the purchaser,
and having back my horse. But this was now too late: I therefore
made directly homewards, resolving to get the draught changed
into money at my friend's as fast as possible. I found my honest
neighbour smoking his pipe at his own door, and informing him
that I had a small bill upon him, he read it twice over. 'You can
read the name, I suppose,' cried I, 'Ephraim Jenkinson.' 'Yes,'
returned he, 'the name is written plain enough, and I know the
gentleman too, the greatest rascal under the canopy of heaven.
This is the very same rogue who sold us the spectacles. Was he
not a venerable looking man, with grey hair, and no flaps to his
pocket-holes? And did he not talk a long string of learning about
Greek and cosmogony, and the world?' To this I replied with a
groan. 'Aye,' continued he, 'he has but that one piece of
learning in the world, and he always talks it away whenever he
finds a scholar in company; but I know the rogue, and will catch
him yet.' Though I was already sufficiently mortified, my
greatest struggle was to come, in facing my wife and daughters.
No truant was ever more afraid of returning to school, there to
behold the master's visage, than I was of going home. I was
determined, however, to anticipate their fury, by first falling
into a passion myself.

But, alas! upon entering, I found the family no way disposed for
battle. My wife and girls were all in tears, Mr Thornhill having
been there that day to inform them, that their journey to town
was entirely over. The two ladies having heard reports of us from
some malicious person about us, were that day set out for London.
He could neither discover the tendency, nor the author of these,
but whatever they might be, or whoever might have broached them,
he continued to assure our family of his friendship and
protection. I found, therefore, that they bore my disappointment
with great resignation, as it was eclipsed in the greatness of
their own. But what perplexed us most was to think who could be
so base as to asperse the character of a family so harmless as
ours, too humble to excite envy, and too inoffensive to create


All, Mr Burchell's villainy at once detected. The folly of being

That evening and a part of the following day was employed in
fruitless attempts to discover our enemies: scarce a family in
the neighbourhood but incurred our suspicions, and each of us had
reasons for our opinion best known to ourselves. As we were in
this perplexity, one of our little boys, who had been playing
abroad, brought in a letter-case, which he found on the green. It
was quickly known to belong to Mr Burchell, with whom it had been
seen, and, upon examination, contained some hints upon different
subjects; but what particularly engaged our attention was a
sealed note, superscribed, 'The copy of a letter to be sent to
the two ladies at Thornhill-castle.' It instantly occurred that
he was the base informer, and we deliberated whether the note
should not be broke open. I was against it; but Sophia, who said
she was sure that of all men he would be the last to be guilty of
so much baseness, insisted upon its being read, In this she was
seconded by the rest of the family, and, at their joint
solicitation, I read as follows:--

'Ladies,--The bearer will sufficiently satisfy you as to the
person from whom this comes: one at least the friend of
innocence, and ready to prevent its being seduced. I am informed
for a truth, that you have some intention of bringing two young
ladies to town, whom I have some knowledge of, under the
character of companions. As I would neither have simplicity
imposed upon, nor virtue contaminated, I must offer it as my
opinion, that the impropriety of such a step will be attended
with dangerous consequences. It has never been my way to treat
the infamous or the lewd with severity; nor should I now have
taken this method of explaining myself, or reproving folly, did
it not aim at guilt. Take therefore the admonition of a friend,
and seriously reflect on the consequences of introducing infamy
and vice into retreats where peace and innocence have hitherto
resided.' Our doubts were now at an end. There seemed indeed
something applicable to both sides in this letter, and its
censures might as well be referred to those to whom it was
written, as to us; but the malicious meaning was obvious, and we
went no farther. My wife had scarce patience to hear me to the
end, but railed at the writer with unrestrained resentment.
Olivia was equally severe, and Sophia seemed perfectly amazed at
his baseness. As for my part, it appeared to me one of the vilest
instances of unprovoked ingratitude I had met with. Nor could I
account for it in any other manner than by imputing it to his
desire of detaining my youngest daughter in the country, to have
the more frequent opportunities of an interview. In this manner
we all sate ruminating upon schemes of vengeance, when our other
little boy came running in to tell us that Mr Burchell was
approaching at the other end of the field. It is easier to
conceive than describe the complicated sensations which are felt
from the pain of a recent injury, and the pleasure of approaching
vengeance. Tho' our intentions were only to upbraid him with his
ingratitude; yet it was resolved to do it in a manner that would
be perfectly cutting. For this purpose we agreed to meet him with
our usual smiles, to chat in the beginning with more than
ordinary kindness, to amuse him a little; and then in the midst
of the flattering calm to burst upon him like an earthquake, and
overwhelm him with the sense of his own baseness. This being
resolved upon, my wife undertook to manage the business herself,
as she really had some talents for such an undertaking. We saw
him approach, he entered, drew a chair, and sate down.--'A fine
day, Mr Burchell.'--'A very fine day, Doctor; though I fancy we
shall have some rain by the shooting of my corns.'--'The shooting
of your horns,' cried my wife, in a loud fit of laughter, and
then asked pardon for being fond of a joke.--'Dear madam,'
replied he, 'I pardon you with all my heart; for I protest I
should not have thought it a joke had you not told me.'--'Perhaps
not, Sir,' cried my wife, winking at us, 'and yet I dare say you
can tell us how many jokes go to an ounce.'--'I fancy, madam,'
returned Burchell, 'you have been reading a jest book this
morning, that ounce of jokes is so very good a conceit; and yet,
madam, I had rather see half an ounce of understanding.'--'I
believe you might,' cried my wife, still smiling at us, though
the laugh was against her; 'and yet I have seen some men pretend
to understanding that have very little.'--'And no doubt,' replied
her antagonist, 'you have known ladies set up for wit that had
none.'--I quickly began to find that my wife was likely to gain
but little at this business; so I resolved to treat him in a
stile of more severity myself. 'Both wit and understanding" cried
I, 'are trifles, without integrity: it is that which gives value
to every character. The ignorant peasant, without fault, is
greater than the philosopher with many; for what is genius or
courage without an heart? An honest man is the noblest work of

'I always held that hackney'd maxim of Pope,' returned Mr
Burchell, 'as very unworthy a man of genius, and a base desertion
of his own superiority. As the reputation of books is raised not
by their freedom from defect, but the greatness of their
beauties; so should that of men be prized not for their exemption
from fault, but the size of those virtues they are possessed of.
The scholar may want prudence, the statesman may have pride, and
the champion ferocity; but shall we prefer to these the low
mechanic, who laboriously plods on through life, without censure
or applause? We might as well prefer the tame correct paintings
of the Flemish school to the erroneous, but sublime animations of
the Roman pencil.'

'Sir,' replied I, 'your present observation is just, when there
are shining virtues and minute defects; but when it appears that
great vices are opposed in the same mind to as extraordinary
virtues, such a character deserves contempt.' 'Perhaps,' cried
he, 'there may be some such monsters as you describe, of great
vices joined to great virtues; yet in my progress through life, I
never yet found one instance of their existence: on the contrary,
I have ever perceived, that where the mind was capacious, the
affections were good. And indeed Providence seems kindly our
friend in this particular, thus to debilitate the understanding
where the heart is corrupt, and diminish the power where there is
the will to do mischief. This rule seems to extend even to other
animals: the little vermin race are ever treacherous, cruel, and
cowardly, whilst those endowed with strength and power are
generous, brave, and gentle.'

'These observations sound well,' returned I, 'and yet it would be
easy this moment to point out a man,' and I fixed my eye
stedfastly upon him, 'whose head and heart form a most detestable
contrast. Ay, Sir,' continued I, raising my voice, 'and I am glad
to have this opportunity of detecting him in the midst of his
fancied security. Do you know this, Sir, this pocket-book?'--
'Yes, Sir,' returned he, with a face of impenetrable assurance,
'that pocket-book is mine, and I am glad you have found it.'--
'And do you know,' cried I, 'this letter? Nay, never falter man;
but look me full in the face: I say, do you know this letter?'--
'That letter,' returned he, 'yes, it was I that wrote that
letter.'--'And how could you,' said I, 'so basely, so
ungratefully presume to write this letter?'--'And how came you,'
replied he, with looks of unparallelled effrontery, 'so basely to
presume to break open this letter? Don't you know, now, I could
hang you all for this? All that I have to do, is to swear at the
next justice's, that you have been guilty of breaking open the
lock of my pocket-book, and so hang you all up at his door.' This
piece of unexpected insolence raised me to such a pitch, that I
could scare govern my passion. 'Ungrateful wretch, begone, and no
longer pollute my dwelling with thy baseness. Begone, and never
let me see thee again: go from my doors, and the only punishment
I wish thee is an allarmed conscience, which will be a sufficient
tormentor!' So saying, I threw him his pocket-book, which he took
up with a smile, and shutting the clasps with the utmost
composure, left us, quite astonished at the serenity of his
assurance. My wife was particularly enraged that nothing could
make him angry, or make him seem ashamed of his villainies. 'My
dear,' cried I, willing to calm those passions that had been
raised too high among us, 'we are not to be surprised that bad
men want shame; they only blush at being detected in doing good,
but glory in their vices.

'Guilt and shame, says the allegory, were at first companions,
and in the beginning of their journey inseparably kept together.
But their union was soon found to be disagreeable and
inconvenient to both; guilt gave shame frequent uneasiness, and
shame often betrayed the secret conspiracies of guilt. After long
disagreeement, therefore, they at length consented to part for
ever. Guilt boldly walked forward alone, to overtake fate, that
went before in the shape of an executioner: but shame being
naturally timorous, returned back to keep company with virtue,
which, in the beginning of their journey, they had left behind.
Thus, my children, after men have travelled through a few stages
in vice, shame forsakes them, and returns back to wait upon the
few virtues they have still remaining.'


The family use art, which is opposed with, still greater

Whatever might have been Sophia's sensations, the rest of the
family was easily consoled, for Mr Burchell's absence by the
company of our landlord, whose visits now became more frequent
and longer. Though he had been disappointed in procuring my
daughters the amusements of the town, as he designed, he took
every opportunity of supplying them with those little recreations
which our retirement would admit of. He usually came in the
morning, and while my son and I followed our occupations abroad,
he sat with the family at home, and amused them by describing the
town, with every part of which he was particularly acquainted. He
could repeat all the observations that were retailed in the
atmosphere of the playhouses, and had all the good things of the
high wits by rote long before they made way into the jest-books.
The intervals between conversation were employed in teaching my
daughters piquet, or sometimes in setting my two little ones to
box to make them sharp, as he called it: but the hopes of having
him for a son-in-law, in some measure blinded us to all his
imperfections. It must be owned that my wife laid a thousand
schemes to entrap him, or, to speak it more tenderly, used every
art to magnify the merit of her daughter. If the cakes at tea eat
short and crisp, they were made by Olivia: if the gooseberry wine
was well knit, the gooseberries were of her gathering: it was her
fingers which gave the pickles their peculiar green; and in the
composition of a pudding, it was her judgment that mix'd the
ingredients. Then the poor woman would sometimes tell the
'Squire, that she thought him and Olivia extremely of a size, and
would bid both stand up to see which was tallest. These instances
of cunning, which she thought impenetrable, yet which every body
saw through, were very pleasing to our benefactor, who gave every
day some new proofs of his passion, which though they had not
arisen to proposals of marriage, yet we thought fell but little
short of it; and his slowness was attributed sometimes to native
bashfulness, and sometimes to his fear of offending his uncle. An
occurrence, however, which happened soon after, put it beyond a
doubt that he designed to become one of our family, my wife even
regarded it as an absolute promise.

My wife and daughters happening to return a visit to neighbour
Flamborough's, found that family had lately got their pictures
drawn by a limner, who travelled the country, and took likenesses
for fifteen shillings a head. As this family and ours had long a
sort of rivalry in point of taste, our spirit took the alarm at
this stolen march upon us, and notwithstanding all I could say,
and I said much, it was resolved that we should have our pictures
done too. Having, therefore, engaged the limner, for what could I
do? our next deliberation was to shew the superiority of our
taste in the attitudes. As for our neighbour's family, there were
seven of them, and they were drawn with seven oranges, a thing
quite out of taste, no variety in life, no composition in the
world. We desired to have something in a brighter style, and,
after many debates, at length came to an unanimous resolution of
being drawn together, in one large historical family piece. This
would be cheaper, since one frame would serve for all, and it
would be infinitely more genteel; for all families of any taste
were now drawn in the same manner. As we did not immediately
recollect an historical subject to hit us, we were contented each
with being drawn as independent historical figures. My wife
desired to be represented as Venus, and the painter was desired
not to be too frugal of his diamonds in her stomacher and hair.
Her two little ones were to be as Cupids by her side, while I, in
my gown and band, was to present her with my books on the
Whistonian controversy. Olivia would be drawn as an Amazon,
sitting upon a bank of flowers, drest in a green joseph, richly
laced with gold, and a whip in her hand. Sophia was to be a
shepherdess, with as many sheep as the painter could put in for
nothing; and Moses was to be drest out with an hat and white
feather. Our taste so much pleased the 'Squire, that he insisted
on being put in as one of the family in the character of
Alexander the great, at Olivia's feet. This was considered by us
all as an indication of his desire to be introduced into the
family, nor could we refuse his request. The painter was
therefore set to work, and as he wrought with assiduity and
expedition, in less than four days the whole was compleated. The
piece was large, and it must be owned he did not spare his
colours; for which my wife gave him great encomiums. We were all
perfectly satisfied with his performance; but an unfortunate
circumstance had not occurred till the picture was finished,
which now struck us with dismay. It was so very large that we had
no place in the house to fix it. How we all came to disregard so
material a point is inconceivable; but certain it is, we had been
all greatly remiss. The picture, therefore, instead of gratifying
our vanity, as we hoped, leaned, in a most mortifying manner,
against the kitchen wall, where the canvas was stretched and
painted, much too large to be got through any of the doors, and
the jest of all our neighhours. One compared it to Robinson
Crusoe's long-boat, too large to be removed; another thought it
more resembled a reel in a bottle; some wondered how it could be
got out, but still more were amazed how it ever got in.

But though it excited the ridicule of some, it effectually raised
more malicious suggestions in many. The 'Squire's portrait being
found united with ours, was an honour too great to escape envy.
Scandalous whispers began to circulate at our expence, and our
tranquility was continually disturbed by persons who came as
friends to tell us what was said of us by enemies. These reports
we always resented with becoming spirit; but scandal ever
improves by opposition.

We once again therefore entered into a consultation upon
obviating the malice of our enemies, and at last came to a
resolution which had too much cunning to give me entire
satisfaction. It was this: as our principal object was to
discover the honour of Mr Thornhill's addresses, my wife
undertook to sound him, by pretending to ask his advice in the
choice of an husband for her eldest daughter. If this was not
found sufficient to induce him to a declaration, it was then
resolved to terrify him with a rival. To this last step, however,
I would by no means give my consent, till Olivia gave me the most
solemn assurances that she would marry the person provided to
rival him upon this occasion, if he did not prevent it, by taking
her himself. Such was the scheme laid, which though I did not
strenuously oppose, I did not entirely approve.

The next time, therefore, that Mr Thornhill came to see us, my
girls took care to be out of the way, in order to give their
mamma an opportunity of putting her scheme in execution; but they
only retired to the next room, from whence they could over-hear
the whole conversation: My wife artfully introduced it, by
observing, that one of the Miss Flamboroughs was like to have a
very good match of it in Mr Spanker. To this the 'Squire
assenting, she proceeded to remark, that they who had warm
fortunes were always sure of getting good husbands: 'But heaven
help,' continued she, 'the girls that have none. What signifies
beauty, Mr Thornhill? or what signifies all the virtue, and all
the qualifications in the world, in this age of self-interest? It
is not, what is she? but what has she? is all the cry.'

'Madam,' returned he, 'I highly approve the justice, as well as
the novelty, of your remarks, and if I were a king, it should be
otherwise. It should then, indeed, be fine times with the girls
without fortunes: our two young ladies should be the first for
whom I would provide.' 'Ah, Sir!' returned my wife, 'you are
pleased to be facetious: but I wish I were a queen, and then I
know where my eldest daughter should look for an husband. But
now, that you have put it into my head, seriously Mr Thornhill,
can't you recommend me a proper husband for her? She is now
nineteen years old, well grown and well educated, and, in my
humble opinion, does not want for parts.' 'Madam,' replied he,
'if I were to chuse, I would find out a person possessed of every
accomplishment that can make an angel happy. One with prudence,
fortune, taste, and sincerity, such, madam, would be, in my
opinion, the proper husband.' 'Ay, Sir,' said she, 'but do you
know of any such person?'--'No, madam,' returned he, 'it is
impossible to know any person that deserves to be her husband:
she's too great a treasure for one man's possession: she's a
goddess. Upon my soul, I speak what I think, she's an angel.'--
'Ah, Mr Thornhill, you only flatter my poor girl: but we have
been thinking of marrying her to one of your tenants, whose
mother is lately dead, and who wants a manager: you know whom I
mean, farmer Williams; a warm man, Mr Thornhill, able to give her
good bread; and who has several times made her proposals: (which
was actually the case) but, Sir,' concluded she, 'I should be
glad to have your approbation of our choice.'--'How, madam,'
replied he, 'my approbation! My approbation of such a choice!
Never. What! Sacrifice so much beauty, and sense, and goodness,
to a creature insensible of the blessing! Excuse me, I can never
approve of such a piece of injustice And I have my reasons!'--
'Indeed, Sir,' cried Deborah, 'if you have your reasons, that's
another affair; but I should be glad to know those reasons.'--
'Excuse me, madam,' returned he, 'they lie too deep for
discovery: (laying his hand upon his bosom) they remain buried,
rivetted here.'

After he was gone, upon general consultation, we could not tell
what to make of these fine sentiments. Olivia considered them as
instances of the most exalted passion; but I was not quite so
sanguine: it seemed to me pretty plain, that they had more of
love than matrimony in them: yet, whatever they might portend, it
was resolved to prosecute the scheme of farmer Williams, who,
from my daughter's first appearance in the country, had paid her
his addresses.


Scarce any virtue found to resist the power of long and pleasing

As I only studied my child's real happiness, the assiduity of Mr
Williams pleased me, as he was in easy circumstances, prudent,
and sincere. It required but very little encouragement to revive
his former passion; so that in an evening or two he and Mr
Thornhill met at our house, and surveyed each other for some time
with looks of anger: but Williams owed his landlord no rent, and
little regarded his indignation. Olivia, on her side, acted the
coquet to perfection, if that might be called acting which was
her real character, pretending to lavish all her tenderness on
her new lover. Mr Thornhill appeared quite dejected at this
preference, and with a pensive air took leave, though I own it
puzzled me to find him so much in pain as he appeared to be, when
he had it in his power so easily to remove the cause, by
declaring an honourable passion. But whatever uneasiness he
seemed to endure, it could easily be perceived that Olivia's
anguish was still greater. After any of these interviews between
her lovers, of which there were several, she usually retired to
solitude, and there indulged her grief. It was in such a
situation I found her one evening, after she had been for some
time supporting a fictitious gayety.--'You now see, my child,'
said I, 'that your confidence in Mr Thornhill's passion was all a
dream: he permits the rivalry of another, every way his inferior,
though he knows it lies in his power to secure you to himself by
a candid declaration.'--'Yes, pappa,' returned she, 'but he has
his reasons for this delay: I know he has. The sincerity of his
looks and words convince me of his real esteem. A short time, I
hope, will discover the generosity of his sentiments, and
convince you that my opinion of him has been more just than
yours.'--'Olivia, my darling,' returned I, 'every scheme that has
been hitherto pursued to compel him to a declaration, has been
proposed and planned by yourself, nor can you in the least say
that I have constrained you. But you must not suppose, my dear,
that I will ever be instrumental in suffering his honest rival to
be the dupe of your ill-placed passion. Whatever time you require
to bring your fancied admirer to an explanation shall be granted;
but at the expiration of that term, if he is still regardless, I
must absolutely insist that honest Mr Williams shall be rewarded
for his fidelity. The character which I have hitherto supported
in life demands this from me, and my tenderness, as a parent,
shall never influence my integrity as a man. Name then your day,
let it be as distant as you think proper, and in the mean time
take care to let Mr Thornhill know the exact time on which I
design delivering you up to another. If he really loves you, his
own good sense will readily suggest that there is but one method
alone to prevent his losing you forever.'--This proposal, which
she could not avoid considering as perfectly just, was readily
agreed to. She again renewed her most positive promise of
marrying Mr Williams, in case of the other's insensibility; and
at the next opportunity, in Mr Thornhill's presence, that day
month was fixed upon for her nuptials with his rival.

Such vigorous proceedings seemed to redouble Mr Thornhill's
anxiety: but what Olivia really felt gave me some uneasiness. In
this struggle between prudence and passion, her vivacity quite
forsook her, and every opportunity of solitude was sought, and
spent in tears. One week passed away; but Mr Thornhill made no
efforts to restrain her nuptials. The succeeding week he was
still assiduous; but not more open. On the third he discontinued
his visits entirely, and instead of my daughter testifying any
impatience, as I expected, she seemed to retain a pensive
tranquillity, which I looked upon as resignation. For my own
part, I was now sincerely pleased with thinking that my child was
going to be secured in a continuance of competence and peace, and
frequently applauded her resolution, in preferring happiness to

It was within about four days of her intended nuptials, that my
little family at night were gathered round a charming fire,
telling stories of the past, and laying schemes for the future.
Busied in forming a thousand projects, and laughing at whatever
folly came uppermost, 'Well, Moses,' cried I, 'we shall soon, my
boy, have a wedding in the family, what is your opinion of
matters and things in general?'--'My opinion, father, is, that
all things go on very well; and I was just now thinking, that
when sister Livy is married to farmer Williams, we shall then
have the loan of his cyder-press and brewing tubs for nothing.'--
'That we shall, Moses,' cried I, 'and he will sing us Death and
the Lady, to raise our spirits into the bargain.'--'He has taught
that song to our Dick,' cried Moses; 'and I think he goes thro'
it very prettily.' --'Does he so,' cried I, then let us have it:
where's little Dick? let him up with it boldly.'--'My brother
Dick,' cried Bill my youngest, 'is just gone out with sister
Livy; but Mr Williams has taught me two songs, and I'll sing them
for you, pappa. Which song do you chuse, the Dying Swan, or the
Elegy on the death of a mad dog?' 'The elegy, child, by all
means,' said I, 'I never heard that yet; and Deborah, my life,
grief you know is dry, let us have a bottle of the best
gooseberry wine, to keep up our spirits. I have wept so much at
all sorts of elegies of late, that without an enlivening glass I
am sure this will overcome me; and Sophy, love, take your guitar,
and thrum in with the boy a little.'

An Elegy on the Death of a Mad Dog.

Good people all, of every sort,
Give ear unto my song;
And if you find it wond'rous short,
It cannot hold you long.

In Isling town there was a man,
Of whom the world might say,
That still a godly race he ran,
Whene'er he went to pray.

A kind and gentle heart he had,
To comfort friends and foes;
The naked every day he clad,
When he put on his cloaths.

And in that town a dog was found,
As many dogs there be,
Both mungrel, puppy, whelp, and hound,
And curs of low degree.

This dog and man at first were friends;
But when a pique began,
The dog, to gain some private ends,
Went mad and bit the man.

Around from all the neighbouring streets,
The wondering neighbours ran,
And swore the dog had lost his wits,
To bite so good a man.

The wound it seem'd both sore and sad,
To every Christian eye;
And while they swore the dog was mad,
They swore the man would die.

But soon a wonder came to light,
That shew'd the rogues they lied,
The man recovered of the bite,
The dog it was that dy'd.

'A very good boy, Bill, upon my word, and an elegy that may truly
be called tragical. Come, my children, here's Bill's health, and
may he one day be a bishop.'

'With all my heart,' cried my wife; 'and if he but preaches as
well as he sings, I make no doubt of him. The, most of his
family, by the mother's side, could sing a good song: it was a
common saying in our country, that the family of the Blenkinsops
could never look strait before them, nor the Huginsons blow out a
candle; that there were none of the Grograms but could sing a
song, or of the Marjorams but could tell a story.'--'However that
be,' cried I, 'the most vulgar ballad of them all generally
pleases me better than the fine modern odes, and things that
petrify us in a single stanza; productions that we at once detest
and praise. Put the glass to your brother, Moses.--The great
fault of these elegiasts is, that they are in despair for griefs
that give the sensible part of mankind very little pain. A lady
loses her muff, her fan, or her lap-dog, and so the silly poet
runs home to versify the disaster.'

'That may be the mode,' cried Moses, 'in sublimer compositions;
but the Ranelagh songs that come down to us are perfectly
familiar, and all cast in the same mold: Colin meets Dolly, and
they hold a dialogue together; he gives her a fairing to put in
her hair, and she presents him with a nosegay; and then they go
together to church, where they give good advice to young nymphs
and swains to get married as fast as they can.'

'And very good advice too,' cried I, 'and I am told there is not
a place in the world where advice can be given with so much
propriety as there; for, as it persuades us to marry, it also
furnishes us with a wife; and surely that must be an excellent
market, my boy, where we are told what we want, and supplied with
it when wanting.'

'Yes, Sir,' returned Moses, 'and I know but of two such markets
for wives in Europe, Ranelagh in England, and Fontarabia in
Spain.' The Spanish market is open once a year, but our English
wives are saleable every night.'

'You are right, my boy,' cried his mother, 'Old England is the
only place in the world for husbands to get wives.'--'And for
wives to manage their husbands,' interrupted I. 'It is a proverb
abroad, that if a bridge were built across the sea, all the
ladies of the Continent would come over to take pattern from
ours; for there are no such wives in Europe as our own. 'But let
us have one bottle more, Deborah, my life, and Moses give us a
good song. What thanks do we not owe to heaven for thus bestowing
tranquillity, health, and competence. I think myself happier now
than the greatest monarch upon earth. He has no such fire-side,
nor such pleasant faces about it. Yes, Deborah, we are now
growing old; but the evening of our life is likely to be happy.
We are descended from ancestors that knew no stain, and we shall
leave a good and virtuous race of children behind us. While we
live they will be our support and our pleasure here, and when we
die they will transmit our honour untainted to posterity. Come,
my son, we wait for a song: let us have a chorus. But where is my
darling Olivia? That little cherub's voice is always sweetest in
the concert.'--Just as I spoke Dick came running in. 'O pappa,
pappa, she is gone from us, she is gone from us, my sister Livy
is gone from us for ever'--'Gone, child'--'Yes, she is gone off
with two gentlemen in a post chaise, and one of them kissed her,
and said he would die for her; and she cried very much, and was
for coming back; but he persuaded her again, and she went into
the chaise, and said, O what will my poor pappa do when he knows
I am undone!'--'Now then,' cried I, 'my children, go and be
miserable; for we shall never enjoy one hour more. And O may
heaven's everlasting fury light upon him and his! Thus to rob me
of my child! And sure it will, for taking back my sweet innocent
that I was leading up to heaven. Such sincerity as my child was
possest of. But all our earthly happiness is now over! Go, my
children, go, and be miserable and infamous; for my heart is
broken within me!'--'Father,' cried my son, "is this your
fortitude?'--'Fortitude, child! Yes, he shall see I have
fortitude! Bring me my pistols. I'll pursue the traitor. While he
is on earth I'll pursue him. Old as I am, he shall find I can
sting him yet. The villain! The perfidious villain!'--I had by
this time reached down my pistols, when my poor wife, whose
passions were not so strong as mine, caught me in her arms. 'My
dearest, dearest husband,' cried she, 'the bible is the only
weapon that is fit for your old hands now. Open that, my love,
and read our anguish into patience, for she has vilely deceived
us.'--'Indeed, Sir,' resumed my son, after a pause, 'your rage is
too violent and unbecoming. You should be my mother's comforter,
and you encrease her pain. It ill suited you and your reverend
character thus to curse your greatest enemy: you should not have
curst him, villian as he is.'--'I did not curse him, child, did
I?'--'Indeed, Sir, you did; you curst him twice.'--'Then may
heaven forgive me and him if I did. And now, my son, I see it was
more than human benevolence that first taught us to bless our
enemies! Blest be his holy name for all the good he hath given,
and for all that he hath taken away. But it is not, it is not, a
small distress that can wring tears from these old eyes, that
have not wept for so many years. My Child!--To undo my darling!
May confusion seize! Heaven forgive me, what am I about to say!
You may remember, my love, how good she was, and how charming;
till this vile moment all her care was to make us happy. Had she
but died! But she is gone, the honour of our family contaminated,
and I must look out for happiness in other worlds than here. But
my child, you saw them go off: perhaps he forced her away? If he
forced her, she may 'yet be innocent.'--'Ah no, Sir!' cried the
child; 'he only kissed her, and called her his angel, and she
wept very much, and leaned upon his arm, and they drove off very
fast.' --'She's an ungrateful creature,' cried my wife, who could
scarce speak for weeping, 'to use us thus. She never had the
least constraint put upon her affections. The vile strumpet has
basely deserted her parents without any provocation, thus to
bring your grey hairs to the grave, and I must shortly follow.'

In this manner that night, the first of our real misfortunes, was
spent in the bitterness of complaint, and ill supported sallies
of enthusiasm. I determined, however, to find out our betrayer,
wherever he was, and reproach his baseness. The next morning we
missed our wretched child at breakfast, where she used to give
life and cheerfulness to us all. My wife, as before, attempted to
ease her heart by reproaches. 'Never,' cried she, 'shall that
vilest stain of our family again darken those harmless doors. I
will never call her daughter more. No, let the strumpet live with
her vile seducer: she may bring us to shame but she shall never
more deceive us.'

'Wife,' said I, 'do not talk thus hardly: my detestation of her
guilt is as great as yours; but ever shall this house and this
heart be open to a poor returning repentant sinner. The sooner
she returns from her transgression, the more welcome shall she be
to me. For the first time the very best may err; art may
persuade, and novelty spread out its charm. The first fault is
the child of simplicity; but every other the offspring of guilt.
Yes, the wretched creature shall be welcome to this heart and
this house, tho' stained with ten thousand vices. I will again
hearken to the music of her voice, again will I hang fondly on
her bosom, if I find but repentance there. My son, bring hither
my bible and my staff, I will pursue her, wherever she is, and
tho' I cannot save her from shame, I may prevent the continuance
of iniquity.'


The pursuit of a father to reclaim a lost child to virtue

Tho' the child could not describe the gentleman's person who
handed his sister into the post-chaise, yet my suspicions fell
entirely upon our young landlord, whose character for such
intrigues was but too well known. I therefore directed my steps
towards Thornhill-castle, resolving to upbraid him, and, if
possible, to bring back my daughter: but before I had reached his
seat, I was met by one of my parishioners, who said he saw a
young lady resembling my daughter in a post-chaise with a
gentleman, whom, by the description, I could only guess to be Mr
Burchell, and that they drove very fast. This information,
however, did by no means satisfy me. I therefore went to the
young 'Squire's, and though it was yet early, insisted upon
seeing him immediately: he soon appeared with the most open
familiar air, and seemed perfectly amazed at my daughter's
elopement, protesting upon his honour that he was quite a
stranger to it. I now therefore condemned my former suspicions,
and could turn them only on Mr Burchell, who I recollected had of
late several private conferences with her: but the appearance of
another witness left me no room to doubt of his villainy, who
averred, that he and my daughter were actually gone towards the
wells, about thirty miles off, where there was a great deal of
company. Being driven to that state of mind in which we are more
ready to act precipitately than to reason right, I never debated
with myself, whether these accounts might not have been given by
persons purposely placed in my way, to mislead me, but resolved
to pursue my daughter and her fancied deluder thither. I walked
along with earnestness, and enquired of several by the way; but
received no accounts, till entering the town, I was met by a
person on horseback, whom I remembered to have seen at the
'Squire's, and he assured me that if I followed them to the
races, which were but thirty miles farther, I might depend upon
overtaking them; for he had seen them dance there the night
before, and the whole assembly seemed charmed with my daughter's
performance. Early the next day I walked forward to the races,
and about four in the afternoon I came upon the course. The
company made a very brilliant appearance, all earnestly employed
in one pursuit, that of pleasure; how different from mine, that
of reclaiming a lost child to virtue! I thought I perceived Mr
Burchell at some distance from me; but, as if he dreaded an
interview, upon my approaching him, he mixed among a crowd, and I
saw him no more. I now reflected that it would be to no purpose
to continue my pursuit farther, and resolved to return home to an
innocent family, who wanted my assistance. But the agitations of
my mind, and the fatigues I had undergone, threw me into a fever,
the symptoms of which I perceived before I came off the course.
This was another unexpected stroke, as I was more than seventy
miles distant from home: however, I retired to a little ale-house
by the road-side, and in this place, the usual retreat of
indigence and frugality, I laid me down patiently to wait the
issue of my disorder. I languished here for near three weeks; but
at last my constitution prevailed, though I was unprovided with
money to defray the expences of my entertainment. It is possible
the anxiety from this last circumstance alone might have brought
on a relapse, had I not been supplied by a traveller, who stopt
to take a cursory refreshment. This person was no other than the
philanthropic bookseller in St Paul's church-yard, who has
written so many little books for children: he called himself
their friend; but he was the friend of all mankind. He was no
sooner alighted, but he was in haste to be gone; for he was ever
on business of the utmost importance, and was at that time
actually compiling materials for the history of one Mr Thomas
Trip. I immediately recollected this good-natured man's red
pimpled face; for he had published for me against the
Deuterogamists of the age, and from him I borrowed a few pieces,
to be paid at my return. Leaving the inn, therefore, as I was yet
but weak, I resolved to return home by easy journies of ten miles
a day. My health and usual tranquillity were almost restored, and
I now condemned that pride which had made me refractory to the
hand of correction. Man little knows what calamities are beyond
his patience to bear till he tries them; as in ascending the
heights of ambition, which look bright from below, every step we
rise shews us some new and gloomy prospect of hidden
disappointment; so in our descent from the summits of pleasure,
though the vale of misery below may appear at first dark and
gloomy, yet the busy mind, still attentive to its own amusement,
finds as we descend something to flatter and to please. Still as
we approach, the darkest objects appear to brighten, and the
mental eye becomes adapted to its gloomy situation.

I now proceeded forward, and had walked about two hours, when I
perceived what appeared at a distance like a waggon, which I was
resolved to overtake; but when I came up with it, found it to be
a strolling company's cart, that was carrying their scenes and
other theatrical furniture to the next village, where they were
to exhibit. The cart was attended only by the person who drove
it, and one of the company, as the rest of the players were to
follow the ensuing day. Good company upon the road, says the
proverb, is the shortest cut, I therefore entered into
conversation with the poor player; and as I once had some
theatrical powers myself, I disserted on such topics with my
usual freedom: but as I was pretty much unacquainted with the
present state of the stage, I demanded who were the present
theatrical writers in vogue, who the Drydens and Otways of the
day.--'I fancy, Sir,' cried the player, 'few of our modern
dramatists would think themselves much honoured by being compared
to the writers you mention. Dryden and Row's manner, Sir, are
quite out of fashion; our taste has gone back a whole century,
Fletcher, Ben Johnson, and all the plays of Shakespear, are the
only things that go down.'--'How,' cried I, 'is it possible the
present age can be pleased with that antiquated dialect, that
obsolete humour, those overcharged characters, which abound in
the works you mention?'--'Sir,' returned my companion, 'the
public think nothing about dialect, or humour, or character; for
that is none of their business, they only go to be amused, and
find themselves happy when they can enjoy a pantomime, under the
sanction of Johnson's or Shakespear's name.'--'So then, I
suppose,' cried I, 'that our modern dramatists are rather
imitators of Shakespear than of nature.'-- 'To say the truth,'
returned my companion, 'I don't know that they imitate any thing
at all; nor, indeed does the public require it of them: it is not
the composition of the piece, but the number of starts and
attitudes that may be introduced into it that elicits applause. I
have known a piece, with not one jest in the whole, shrugged into
popularity, and another saved by the poet's throwing in a fit of
the gripes. No, Sir, the works of Congreve and Farquhar have too
much wit in them for the present taste; our modern dialect is
much more natural.'

By this time the equipage of the strolling company was arrived at
the village, which, it seems, had been apprised of our approach,
and was come out to gaze at us; for my companion observed, that
strollers always have more spectators without doors than within.
I did not consider the impropriety of my being in such company
till I saw a mob gather about me. I therefore took shelter, as
fast as possible, in the first ale-house that offered, and being
shewn into the common room, was accosted by a very well-drest
gentleman, who demanded whether I was the real chaplain of the
company, or whether it was only to be my masquerade character in
the play. Upon informing him of the truth, and that I did not
belong in any sort to the company, he was condescending enough to
desire me and the player to partake in a bowl of punch, over
which he discussed modern politics with great earnestness and
interest. I set him down in my mind for nothing less than a
parliament-man at least; but was almost confirmed in my
conjectures, when upon my asking what there was in the house for
supper, he insisted that the Player and I should sup with him at
his house, with which request, after some entreaties, we were
prevailed on to comply.


The description of a person discontented with the present
government, and apprehensive of the loss of our liberties

The house where we were to be entertained, lying at a small
distance from the village, our inviter observed, that as the
coach was not ready, he would conduct us on foot, and we soon
arrived at one of the most magnificent mansions I had seen in
that part of the country. The apartment into which we were shewn
was perfectly elegant and modern; he went to give orders for
supper, while the player, with a wink, observed that we were
perfectly in luck. Our entertainer soon returned, an elegant
supper was brought in, two or three ladies, in an easy
deshabille, were introduced, and the conversation began with some
sprightliness. Politics, however, was the subject on which our
entertainer chiefly expatiated; for he asserted that liberty was
at once his boast and his terror. After the cloth was removed, he
asked me if I had seen the last Monitor, to which replying in the
negative, 'What, nor the Auditor, I suppose?' cried he. 'Neither,
Sir,' returned I. 'That's strange, very strange,' replied my
entertainer. 'Now, I read all the politics that come out. The
Daily, the Public, the Ledger, the Chronicle, the London Evening,
the Whitehall Evening, the seventeen magazines, and the two
reviews; and though they hate each other, I love them all.
Liberty, Sir, liberty is the Briton's boast, and by all my coal
mines in Cornwall, I reverence its guardians.' 'Then it is to be
hoped,' cried I, 'you reverence the king.' 'Yes,' returned my
entertainer, 'when he does what we would have him; but if he goes
on as he has done of late, I'll never trouble myself more with
his matters. I say nothing. I think only. I could have directed
some things better. I don't think there has been a sufficient
number of advisers: he should advise with every person willing to
give him advice, and then we should have things done in
anotherguess manner.'

'I wish,' cried I, 'that such intruding advisers were fixed in
the pillory. It should be the duty of honest men to assist the
weaker side of our constitution, that sacred power that has for
some years been every day declining, and losing its due share of
influence in the state. But these ignorants still continue the
cry of liberty, and if they have any weight basely throw it into
the subsiding scale.'

'How,' cried one of the ladies, 'do I live to see one so base, so
sordid, as to be an enemy to liberty, and a defender of tyrants?
Liberty, that sacred gift of heaven, that glorious privilege of

'Can it be possible,' cried our entertainer, 'that there should
be any found at present advocates for slavery? Any who are for
meanly giving up the privileges of Britons? Can any, Sir, be so

'No, Sir,' replied I, 'I am for liberty, that attribute of Gods!
Glorious liberty! that theme of modem declamation. I would have
all men kings. I would be a king myself. We have all naturally an
equal right to the throne: we are all originally equal. This is
my opinion, and was once the opinion of a set of honest men who
were called Levellers.' They tried to erect themselves into a
community, where all should be equally free. But, alas! it would
never answer; for there were some among them stronger, and some
more cunning than others, and these became masters of the rest;
for as sure as your groom rides your horses, because he is a
cunninger animal than they, so surely will the animal that is
cunninger or stronger than he, sit upon his shoulders in turn.
Since then it is entailed upon humanity to submit, and some are
born to command, and others to obey, the question is, as there
must be tyrants, whether it is better to have them in the same
house with us, or in the same village, or still farther off, in
the metropolis. Now, Sir, for my own part, as I naturally hate
the face of a tyrant, the farther off he is removed from me, the
better pleased am I. The generality of mankind also are of my way
of thinking, and have unanimously created one king, whose
election at once diminishes the number of tyrants, and puts
tyranny at the greatest distance from the greatest number of
people. Now the great who were tyrants themselves before the
election of one tyrant, are naturally averse to a power raised
over them, and whose weight must ever lean heaviest on the
subordinate orders. It is the interest of the great, therefore,
to diminish kingly power as much as possible; because whatever
they take from that is naturally restored to themselves; and all
they have to do in the state, is to undermine the single tyrant,
by which they resume their primaeval authority. Now, the state
may be so circumstanced, or its laws may be so disposed, or its
men of opulence so minded, as all to conspire in carrying on this
business of undermining monarchy. For, in the first place, if the
circumstances of our state be such, as to favour the accumulation
of wealth, and make the opulent still more rich, this will
encrease their ambition. An accumulation of wealth, however, must
necessarily be the consequence, when as at present more riches
flow in from external commerce, than arise from internal
industry: for external commerce can only be managed to advantage
by the rich, and they have also at the same time all the
emoluments arising from internal industry: so that the rich, with
us, have two sources of wealth, whereas the poor have but one.
For this reason, wealth in all commercial states is found to
accumulate, and all such have hitherto in time become
aristocratical. Again, the very laws also of this country may
contribute to the accumulation of wealth; as when by their means
the natural ties that bind the rich and poor together are broken,
and it is ordained that the rich shall only marry with the rich;
or when the learned are held unqualified to serve their country
as counsellors merely from a defect of opulence, and wealth is
thus made the object of a wise man's ambition; by these means I
say, and such means as these, riches will accumulate. Now the
possessor of accumulated wealth, when furnished with the
necessaries and pleasures of life, has no other method to employ
the superfluity of his fortune but in purchasing power. That is,
differently speaking, in making dependents, by purchasing the
liberty of the needy or the venal, of men who are willing to bear
the mortification of contiguous tyranny for bread. Thus each very
opulent man generally gathers round him a circle of the poorest
of the people; and the polity abounding in accumulated wealth,
may be compared to a Cartesian system, each orb with a vortex of
its own. Those, however, who are willing to move in a great man's
vortex, are only such as must be slaves, the rabble of mankind,
whose souls and whose education are adapted to servitude, and who
know nothing of liberty except the name. But there must still be
a large number of the people without the sphere of the opulent
man's influence, namely, that order of men which subsists between
the very rich and the very rabble; those men who are possest of
too large fortunes to submit to the neighbouring man in power,
and yet are too poor to set up for tyranny themselves. In this
middle order of mankind are generally to be found all the arts,
wisdom, and virtues of society. This order alone is known to be
the true preserver of freedom, and may be called the People. Now
it may happen that this middle order of mankind may lose all its
influence in a state, and its voice be in a manner drowned in
that of the rabble: for if the fortune sufficient for qualifying
a person at present to give his voice in state affairs, be ten
times less than was judged sufficient upon forming the
constitution, it is evident that greater numbers of the rabble
will thus be introduced into the political system, and they ever
moving in the vortex of the great, will follow where greatness
shall direct. In such a state, therefore, all that the middle
order has left, is to preserve the prerogative and privileges of
the one principal governor with the most sacred circumspection.
For he divides the power of the rich, and calls off the great
from falling with tenfold weight on the middle order placed
beneath them. The middle order may be compared to a town of which
the opulent are forming the siege, and which the governor from
without is hastening the relief. While the besiegers are in dread
of an enemy over them, it is but natural to offer the townsmen
the most specious terms; to flatter them with sounds, and amuse
them with privileges: but if they once defeat the governor from
behind, the walls of the town will be but a small defence to its
inhabitants. What they may then expect, may be seen by turning
our eyes to Holland, Genoa, or Venice, where the laws govern the
poor, and the rich govern the law. I am then for, and would die
for, monarchy, sacred monarchy; for if there be any thing sacred
amongst men, it must be the anointed sovereign of his people, and
every diminution of his power in war, or in peace, is an
infringement upon the real liberties of the subject. The sounds
of liberty, patriotism, and Britons, have already done much, it
is to be hoped that the true sons of freedom will prevent their
ever doing more. I have known many of those pretended champions
for liberty in my time, yet do I not remember one that was not in
his heart and in his family a tyrant.'

My warmth I found had lengthened this harangue beyond the rules
of good breeding: but the impatience of my entertainer, who often
strove to interrupt it, could be restrained no longer. 'What,'
cried he, 'then I have been all this while entertaining a Jesuit
in parson's cloaths; but by all the coal mines of Cornwall, out
he shall pack, if my name be Wilkinson.' I now found I had gone
too far, and asked pardon for the warmth with which I had spoken.
'Pardon,' returned he in a fury: 'I think such principles demand
ten thousand pardons. What, give up liberty, property, and, as
the Gazetteer says, lie down to be saddled with wooden shoes!
Sir, I insist upon your marching out of this house immediately,
to prevent worse consequences, Sir, I insist upon it.' I was
going to repeat my rernonstrances; but just then we heard a
footman's rap at the door, and the two ladies cried out, 'As sure
as death there is our master and mistress come home.' It seems my
entertainer was all this while only the butler, who, in his
master's absence, had a mind to cut a figure, and be for a while
the gentleman himself; and, to say the truth, he talked politics
as well as most country gentlemen do. But nothing could now
exceed my confusion upon seeing the gentleman, and his lady,
enter, nor was their surprize, at finding such company and good
cheer, less than ours. 'Gentlemen,' cried the real master of the
house, to me and my companion, 'my wife and I are your most
humble servants; but I protest this is so unexpected a favour,
that we almost sink under the obligation.' However unexpected our
company might be to them, theirs, I am sure, was still more so to
us, and I was struck dumb with the apprehensions of my own
absurdity, when whom should I next see enter the room but my dear
miss Arabella Wilmot, who was formerly designed to be married to
my son George; but whose match was broken off, as already
related. As soon as she saw me, she flew to my arms with the
utmost joy. 'My dear sir,' cried she, 'to what happy accident is
it that we owe so unexpected a visit? I am sure my uncle and aunt
will be in raptures when they find they have the good Dr Primrose
for their guest.' Upon hearing my name, the old gentleman and
lady very politely stept up, and welcomed me with most cordial
hospitality. Nor could they forbear smiling upon being informed
of the nature of my present visit: but the unfortunate butler,
whom they at first seemed disposed to turn away, was, at my
intercession, forgiven.

Mr Arnold and his lady, to whom the house belonged, now insisted
upon having the pleasure of my stay for some days, and as their
niece, my charming pupil, whose mind, in some measure, had been
formed under my own instructions, joined in their entreaties. I
complied. That night I was shewn to a magnificent chamber, and
the next morning early Miss Wilmot desired to walk with me in the
garden, which was decorated in the modern manner. After some time
spent in pointing out the beauties of the place, she enquired
with seeming unconcern, when last I had heard from my son George.
'Alas! Madam,' cried I, 'he has now been near three years absent,
without ever writing to his friends or me. Where he is I know
not; perhaps I shall never see him or happiness more. No, my dear
Madam, we shall never more see such pleasing hours as were once
spent by our fire-side at Wakefield. My little family are now
dispersing very fast, and poverty has brought not only want, but
infamy upon us.' The good-natured girl let fall a tear at this
account; but as I saw her possessed of too much sensibility, I
forbore a more minute detail of our sufferings. It was, however,
some consolation to me to find that time had made no alteration
in her affections, and that she had rejected several matches that
had been made her since our leaving her part of the country. She
led me round all the extensive improvements of the place,
pointing to the several walks and arbours, and at the same time
catching from every object a hint for some new question relative
to my son. In this manner we spent the forenoon, till the bell
summoned us in to dinner, where we found the manager of the
strolling company that I mentioned before, who was come to
dispose of tickets for the Fair Penitent, which was to be acted
that evening, the part of Horatio by a young gentleman who had
never appeared on any stage. He seemed to be very warm in the
praises of the new performer, and averred, that he never saw any
who bid so fair for excellence. Acting, he observed, was not
learned in a day; 'But this gentleman,' continued he, 'seems born
to tread the stage. His voice, his figure, and attitudes, are all
admirable. We caught him up accidentally in our journey down.'
This account, in some measure, excited our curiosity, and, at the
entreaty of the ladies, I was prevailed upon to accompany them to
the play-house, which was no other than a barn. As the company
with which I went was incontestably the chief of the place, we
were received with the greatest respect, and placed in the front
seat of the theatre; where we sate for some time with no small
impatience to see Horatio make his appearance. The new performer
advanced at last, and let parents think of my sensations by their
own, when I found it was my unfortunate son. He was going to
begin, when, turning his eyes upon the audience, he perceived
Miss Wilmot and me, and stood at once speechless and immoveable.
The actors behind the scene, who ascribed this pause to his
natural timidity, attempted to encourage him; but instead of
going on, he burst into a flood of tears, and retired off the
stage. I don't know what were my feelings on this occasion; for
they succeeded with too much rapidity for description: but I was
soon awaked from this disagreeable reverie by Miss Wilmot, who,
pale and with a trembling voice, desired me to conduct her back
to her uncle's. When got home, Mr Arnold, who was as yet a
stranger to our extraordinary behaviour, being informed that the
new performer was my son, sent his coach, and an invitation, for
him; and as he persisted in his refusal to appear again upon the
stage, the players put another in his place, and we soon had him
with us. Mr Arnold gave him the kindest reception, and I received
him with my usual transport; for I could never counterfeit false
resentment. Miss Wilmot's reception was mixed with seeming
neglect, and yet I could perceive she acted a studied part. The
tumult in her mind seemed not yet abated; she said twenty giddy
things that looked like joy, and then laughed loud at her own
want of meaning. At intervals she would take a sly peep at the
glass, as if happy in the consciousness of unresisting beauty,
and often would ask questions, without giving any manner of
attention to the answers.


The history of a philosophic vagabond, pursuing novelty, but
losing content

After we had supped, Mrs Arnold politely offered to send a couple
of her footmen for my son's baggage, which he at first seemed to
decline; but upon her pressing the request, he was obliged to
inform her, that a stick and a wallet were all the moveable
things upon this earth that he could boast of. 'Why, aye my son,'
cried I, 'you left me but poor, and poor I find you are come
back; and yet I make no doubt you have seen a great deal of the
world.'-- 'Yes, Sir,' replied my son, 'but travelling after
fortune, is not the way to secure her; and, indeed, of late, I
have desisted from the pursuit.'--'I fancy, Sir,' cried Mrs
Arnold, 'that the account of your adventures would be amusing:
the first part of them I have often heard from my niece; but
could the company prevail for the rest, it would be an additional
obligation.'--'Madam,' replied my son, 'I promise you the
pleasure you have in hearing, will not be half so great as my
vanity in repeating them; and yet in the whole narrative I can
scarce promise you one adventure, as my account is rather of what
I saw than what I did. The first misfortune of my life, which you
all know, was great; but tho' it distrest, it could not sink me.
No person ever had a better knack at hoping than I. The less kind
I found fortune at one time, the more I expected from her
another, and being now at the bottom of her wheel, every new
revolution might lift, but could not depress me. I proceeded,
therefore, towards London in a fine morning, no way uneasy about
tomorrow, but chearful as the birds that caroll'd by the road,
and comforted myself with reflecting that London was the mart
where abilities of every kind were sure of meeting distinction
and reward.

'Upon my arrival in town, Sir, my first care was to deliver your
letter of recommendation to our cousin, who was himself in little
better circumstances than I. My first scheme, you know, Sir, was
to be usher at an academy, and I asked his advice on the affair.
Our cousin received the proposal with a true Sardonic grin. Aye,
cried he, this is indeed a very pretty career, that has been
chalked out for you. I have been an usher at a boarding school
myself; and may I die by an anodyne necklace, but I had rather be
an under turnkey in Newgate. I was up early and late: I was brow-
beat by the master, hated for my ugly face by the mistress,
worried by the boys within, and never permitted to stir out to
meet civility abroad. But are you sure you are fit for a school?
Let me examine you a little. Have you been bred apprentice to the
business? No. Then you won't do for a school. Can you dress the
boys hair? No. Then you won't do for a school. Have you had the
small-pox? No. Then you won't do for a school. Can you lie three
in a bed? No. Then you will never do for a school. Have you got a
good stomach? Yes. Then you will by no means do for a school. No,
Sir, if you are for a genteel easy profession, bind yourself
seven years as an apprentice to turn a cutler's wheel; but avoid
a school by any means. Yet come, continued he, I see you are a
lad of spirit and some learning, what do you think of commencing
author, like me? You have read in books, no doubt, of men of
genius starving at the trade: At present I'll shew you forty very
dull fellows about town that live by it in opulence. All honest
joggtrot men, who go on smoothly and dully, and write history and
politics, and are praised; men, Sir, who, had they been bred
coblers, would all their lives have only mended shoes, but never
made them.

'Finding that there was no great degree of gentility affixed to
the character of an usher, I resolved to accept his proposal; and
having the highest respect for literature, hailed the antiqua
mater of Grub-street with reverence. I thought it my glory to
pursue a track which Dryden and Otway trod before me. I
considered the goddess of this region as the parent of
excellence; and however an intercourse with the world might give
us good sense, the poverty she granted I supposed to be the nurse
of genius! Big with these reflections, I sate down, and finding
that the best things remained to be said on the wrong side, I
resolved to write a book that should be wholly new. I therefore
drest up three paradoxes with some ingenuity. They were false,
indeed, but they were new. The jewels of truth have been so often
imported by others, that nothing was left for me to import but
some splendid things that at a distance looked every bit as well.
Witness you powers what fancied importance sate perched upon my
quill while I was writing. The whole learned world, I made no
doubt, would rise to oppose my systems; but then I was prepared
to oppose the whole learned world. Like the porcupine I sate self
collected, with a quill pointed against every opposer.'

'Well said, my boy,' cried I, 'and what subject did you treat
upon? I hope you did not pass over the importance of Monogamy.
But I interrupt, go on; you published your paradoxes; well, and
what did the learned world say to your paradoxes?'

'Sir,' replied my son, 'the learned world said nothing to my
paradoxes; nothing at all, Sir. Every man of them was employed in
praising his friends and himself, or condemning his enemies; and
unfortunately, as I had neither, I suffered the cruellest
mortification, neglect.

'As I was meditating one day in a coffee-house on the fate of my
paradoxes, a little man happening to enter the room, placed
himself in the box before me, and after some preliminary
discourse, finding me to be a scholar, drew out a bundle of
proposals, begging me to subscribe to a new edition he was going
to give the world of Propertius, with notes. This demand
necessarily produced a reply that I had no money; and that
concession led him to enquire into the nature of my expectations.
Finding that my expectations were just as great as my purse, I
see, cried he, you are unacquainted with the town, I'll teach you
a part of it. Look at these proposals, upon these very proposals
I have subsisted very comfortably for twelve years. The moment a
nobleman returns from his travels, a Creolian arrives from
Jamaica, or a dowager from her country seat, I strike for a
subscription. I first besiege their hearts with flattery, and
then pour in my proposals at the breach. If they subscribe
readily the first time, I renew my request to beg a dedication
fee. If they let me have that, I smite them once more for
engraving their coat of arms at the top. Thus, continued he, I
live by vanity, and laugh at it. But between ourselves, I am now
too well known, I should be glad to borrow your face a bit: a
nobleman of distinction has just returned from Italy; my face is
familiar to his porter; but if you bring this copy of verses, my
life for it you succeed, and we divide the spoil.'

'Bless us, George,' cried I, 'and is this the employment of poets
now! Do men of their exalted talents thus stoop to beggary! Can
they so far disgrace their calling, as to make a vile traffic of
praise for bread?'

'O no, Sir,' returned he, 'a true poet can never be so base; for
wherever there is genius there is pride. The creatures I now
describe are only beggars in rhyme. The real poet, as he braves
every hardship for fame, so he is equally a coward to contempt,
and none but those who are unworthy protection condescend to
solicit it.

'Having a mind too proud to stoop to such indignities, and yet a
fortune too humble to hazard a second attempt for fame, I was
now, obliged to take a middle course, and write for bread. But I
was unqualified for a profession where mere industry alone was to
ensure success. I could not suppress my lurking passion for
applause; but usually consumed that time in efforts after
excellence which takes up but little room, when it should have
been more advantageously employed in the diffusive productions of
fruitful mediocrity. My little piece would therefore come forth
in the mist of periodical publication, unnoticed and unknown. The
public were more importantly employed, than to observe the easy
simplicity of my style, of the harmony of my periods. Sheet after
sheet was thrown off to oblivion. My essays were buried among the
essays upon liberty, eastern tales, and cures for the bite of a
mad dog; while Philautos, Philalethes, Philelutheros, and
Philanthropos, all wrote better, because they wrote faster, than

'Now, therefore, I began to associate with none but disappointed
authors, like myself, who praised, deplored, and despised each
other. The satisfaction we found in every celebrated writer's
attempts, was inversely as their merits. I found that no genius
in another could please me. My unfortunate paradoxes had entirely
dried up that source of comfort. I could neither read nor write
with satisfaction; for excellence in another was my aversion, and
writing was my trade.

'In the midst of these gloomy reflections, as I was one day
sitting on a bench in St James's park, a young gentleman of
distinction, who had been my intimate acquaintance at the
university, approached me. We saluted each other with some
hesitation, he almost ashamed of being known to one who made so
shabby an appearance, and I afraid of a repulse. But my
suspicions soon vanished; for Ned Thornhill was at the bottom a
very good-natured fellow.

'What did you say, George?' interrupted I. 'Thornhill, was not
that his name? It can certainly be no other than my landlord.'--
'Bless me,' cried Mrs Arnold, 'is Mr Thornhill so near a
neighbour of yours? He has long been a friend in our family, and
we expect a visit from him shortly.'

'My friend's first care,' continued my son, 'was to alter my
appearance by a very fine suit of his own cloaths, and then I was
admitted to his table upon the footing of half-friend, half-
underling. My business was to attend him at auctions, to put him
in spirits when he sate for his picture, to take the left hand in
his chariot when not filled by another, and to assist at
tattering a kip, as the phrase was, when we had a mind for a
frolic. Beside this, I had twenty other little employments in the
family. I was to do many small things without bidding; to carry
the cork screw; to stand godfather to all the butler's children;
to sing when I was bid; to be never out of humour; always to be
humble, and, if I could, to be very happy.

'In this honourable post, however, I was not without a rival. A
captain of marines, who was formed for the place by nature,
opposed me in my patron's affections. His mother had been
laundress to a man of quality, and thus he early acquired a taste
for pimping and pedigree. As this gentleman made it the study of
his life to be acquainted with lords, though he was dismissed
from several for his stupidity; yet he found many of them who
were as dull as himself, that permitted his assiduities. As
flattery was his trade, he practised it with the easiest address
imaginable; but it came aukward and stiff from me; and as every
day my patron's desire of flattery encreased, so every hour being
better acquainted with his defects, I became more unwilling to
give it. Thus I was once more fairly going to give up the field
to the captain, when my friend found occasion for my assistance.
This was nothing less than to fight a duel for him, with a
gentleman whose sister it was pretended he had used ill. I
readily complied with his request, and tho' I see you are
displeased at my conduct, yet as it was a debt indispensably due
to friendship, I could not refuse. I undertook the affair,
disarmed my antagonist, and soon after had the pleasure of
finding that the lady was only a woman of the town, and the
fellow her bully and a sharper. This piece of service was repaid
with the warmest professions of gratitude; but as my friend was
to leave town in a few days, he knew no other method of serving
me, but by recommending me to his uncle Sir William Thornhill,
and another nobleman of great distinction, who enjoyed a post
under the government. When he was gone, my first care was to
carry his recommendatory letter to his uncle, a man whose
character for every virtue was universal, yet just. I was
received by his servants with the most hospitable smiles; for the
looks of the domestics ever transmit their master's benevolence.
Being shewn into a grand apartment, where Sir William soon came
to me, I delivered my message and letter, which he read, and
after pausing some minutes, Pray, Sir, cried he, inform me what
you have done for my kinsman, to deserve this warm
recommendation? But I suppose, Sir, I guess your merits, you have
fought for him; and so you would expect a reward from me, for
being the instrument of his vices. I wish, sincerely wish, that
my present refusal may be some punishment for your guilt; but
still more, that it may be some inducement to your repentance.--
The severity of this rebuke I bore patiently, because I knew it
was just. My whole expectations now, therefore, lay in my letter
to the great man. As the doors of the nobility are almost ever
beset with beggars, all ready to thrust in some sly petition, I
found it no easy matter to gain admittance. However, after
bribing the servants with half my worldly fortune, I was at last
shewn into a spacious apartment, my letter being previously sent
up for his lordship's inspection. During this anxious interval I
had full time to look round me. Every thing was grand, and of
happy contrivance: the paintings, the furniture, the gildings,
petrified me with awe, and raised my idea of the owner. Ah,
thought I to myself, how very great must the possessor of all
these things be, who carries in his head the business of the
state, and whose house displays half the wealth of a kingdom:
sure his genius must be unfathomable! During these awful
reflections I heard a step come heavily forward. Ah, this is the
great man himself! No, it was only a chambermaid. Another foot
was heard soon after. This must be He! No, it was only the great
man's valet de chambre. At last his lordship actually made his
appearance. Are you, cried he, the bearer of this here letter? I
answered with a bow. I learn by this, continued he, as how that--
But just at that instant a servant delivered him a card, and
without taking farther notice, he went out of the room, and left
me to digest my own happiness at leisure. I saw no more of him,
till told by a footman that his lordship was going to his coach
at the door. Down I immediately followed, and joined my voice to
that of three or four more, who came, like me, to petition for
favours. His lordship, however, went too fast for us, and was
gaining his Chariot door with large strides, when I hallowed out
to know if I was to have any reply. He was by this time got in,
and muttered an answer, half of which only I heard, the other
half was lost in the rattling of his chariot wheels. I stood for
some time with my neck stretched out, in the posture of one that
was listening to catch the glorious sounds, till looking round
me, I found myself alone at his lordship's gate.

'My patience,' continued my son, 'was now quite exhausted: stung
with the thousand indignities I had met with, I was willing to
cast myself away, and only wanted the gulph to receive me. I
regarded myself as one of those vile things that nature designed
should be thrown by into her lumber room, there to perish in
obscurity. I had still, however, half a guinea left, and of that
I thought fortune herself should not deprive me: but in order to
be sure of this, I was resolved to go instanily and spend it
while I had it, and then trust to occurrences for the rest. As I
was going along with this resolution, it happened that Mr
Cripse's office seemed invitingly open to give me a welcome
reception. In this office Mr Cripse kindly offers all his
majesty's subjects a generous promise of 30 pounds a year, for
which promise all they give in return is their liberty for life,
and permission to let him transport them to America as slaves. I
was happy at finding a place where I could lose my fears in
desperation, and entered this cell, for it had the appearance of
one, with the devotion of a monastic. Here I found a number of
poor creatures, all in circumstances like myself, expecting the
arrival of Mr Cripse, presenting a true epitome of English
impatience. Each untractable soul at variance with fortune,
wreaked her injuries on their own hearts: but Mr Cripse at last
came down, and all our murmurs were hushed. He deigned to regard
me with an air of peculiar approbation, and indeed he was the
first man who for a month past talked to me with smiles. After a
few questions, he found I was fit for every thing in the world.
He paused a while upon the properest means of providing for me,
and slapping his forehead, as if he had found it, assured me,
that there was at that time an embassy talked of from the synod
of Pensylvania to the Chickasaw Indians, and that he would use
his interest to get me made secretary. I knew in my own heart
that the fellow lied, and yet his promise gave me pleasure, there
was something so magnificent in the sound. I fairly, therefore,
divided my half guinea, one half of which went to be added to his
thirty thousand pound, and with the other half I resolved to go
to the next tavern, to be there more happy than he.

'As I was going out with that resolution, I was met at the door
by the captain of a ship, with whom I had formerly some little
acquaintance, and he agreed to be my companion over a bowl of
punch. As I never chose to make a secret of my circumstances, he
assured me that I was upon the very point of ruin, in listening
to the office-keeper's promises; for that he only designed to
sell me to the plantations. But, continued he, I fancy you might,
by a much shorter voyage, be very easily put into a genteel way
of bread. Take my advice. My ship sails to-morrow for Amsterdam;
What if you go in her as a passenger? The moment you land all you
have to do is to teach the Dutchmen English, and I'll warrant
you'll get pupils and money enough. I suppose you understand
English, added he, by this time, or the deuce is in it. I
confidently assured him of that; but expressed a doubt whether
the Dutch would be willing to learn English. He affirmed with an
oath that they were fond of it to distraction; and upon that
affirmation I agreed with his proposal, and embarked the next day
to teach the Dutch English in Holland. The wind was fair, our
voyage short, and after having paid my passage,with half my
moveables, I found myself, fallen as from the skies, a stranger
in one of the principal streets of Amsterdam. In this situation I
was unwilling to let any time pass unemployed in teaching. I
addressed myself therefore to two or three of those I met whose
appearance seemed most promising; but it was impossible to make
ourselves mutually understood. It was not till this very moment I
recollected, that in order to teach Dutchmen English, it was
necessary that they should first teach me Dutch. How I came to
overlook so obvious an objection, is to me amazing; but certain
it is I overlooked it

'This scheme thus blown up, I had some thoughts of fairly
shipping back to England again; but happening into company with
an Irish student, who was returning from Louvain, our
conversation turning upon topics of literature, (for by the way
it may be observed that I always forgot the meanness of my
circumstances when I could converse upon such subjects) from him
I learned that there were not two men in his whole university who
understood Greek. This amazed me. I instantly resolved to travel
to Louvain, and there live by teaching Greek; and in this design
I was heartened by my brother student, who threw out some hints
that a fortune might be got by it. 'I set boldly forward the next
morning. Every day lessened the burthen of my moveables, like
Aesop and his basket of bread; for I paid them for my lodgings to
the Dutch as I travelled on. When I came to Louvain, I was
resolved not to go sneaking to the lower professors, but openly
tendered my talents to the principal himself. I went, had
admittance, and offered him my service as a master of the Greek
language, which I had been told was a desideratum in his
university. The principal seemed at first to doubt of my
abilities; but of these I offered to convince him, by turning a
part of any Greek author he should fix upon into Latin. Finding
me perfectly earnest in my proposal, he addressed me thus: You
see me, young man, continued he, I never learned Greek, and I
don't find that I have ever missed it. I have had a doctor's cap
and gown without Greek: I have ten thousand florins a year
without Greek; I eat heartily without Greek, and in short,
continued he, as I don't know Greek, I do not believe there is
any good in it.

'I was now too far from home to think of returning; so I resolved
to go forward. I had some knowledge of music, with a tolerable
voice, and now turned what was once my amusement into a present
means of subsistence. I passed among the harmless peasants of
Flanders, and among such of the French as were poor enough to be
very merry; for I ever found them sprightly in proportion to
their wants. Whenever I approached a peasant's house towards
night- fall, I played one of my most merry tunes, and that
procured me not only a lodging, but subsistence for the next day.
I once or twice attempted to play for people of fashion; but they
always thought my performance odious, and never rewarded me even
with a trifle. This was to me the more extraordinary, as whenever
I used in better days to play for company, when playing was my
amusement, my music never failed to throw them into raptures, and
the ladies especially; but as it was now my only means, it was
received with contempt: a proof how ready the world is to under
rate those talents by which a man is supported.

'In this manner I proceeded to Paris, with no design but just to
look about me, and then to go forward. The people of Paris are
much fonder of strangers that have money, than of those that have
wit. As I could not boast much of either, I was no great
favourite. After walking about the town four or five days, and
seeing the outsides of the best houses, I was preparing to leave
this retreat of venal hospitality, when passing through one of
the principal streets, whom should I meet but our cousin, to whom
you first recommended me. This meeting was very agreeable to me,
and I believe not displeasing to him. He enquired into the nature
of my journey to Paris, and informed me of his own business
there, which was to collect pictures, medals, intaglios, and
antiques of all kinds, for a gentleman in London, who had just
stept into taste and a large fortune. I was the more surprised at
seeing our cousin pitched upon for this office, as he himself had
often assured me he knew nothing of the matter. Upon my asking
how he had been taught the art of a connoscento so very suddenly,
he assured me that nothing was more easy. The whole secret
consisted in a strict adherence to two rules: the one always to
observe, that the picture might have been better if the painter
had taken more pains; and the other, to praise the works of
Pietro Perugino. But, says he, as I once taught you how to be an
author in London, I'll now undertake to instruct you in the art
of picture buying at Paris.

'With this proposal I very readily closed, as it was a living,
and now all my ambition was to live. I went therefore to his
lodgings, improved my dress by his assistance, and after some
time, accompanied him to auctions of pictures, where the English
gentry were expected to be purchasers. I was not a little
surprised at his intimacy with people of the best fashion, who
referred themselves to his judgment upon every picture or medal,
as to an unerring standard of taste. He made very good use of my
assistance upon these occasions; for when asked his opinion, he
would gravely take me aside, and ask mine, shrug, look wise,
return, and assure the company, that he could give no opinion
upon an affair of so much importance. Yet there was sometimes an
occasion for a more supported assurance. I remember to have seen
him, after giving his opinion that the colouring of a picture was
not mellow enough, very deliberately take a brush with brown
varnish, that was accidentally lying by, and rub it over the
piece with great composure before all the company, and then ask
if he had not improved the tints.

'When he had finished his commission in Paris, he left me
strongly recommended to several men of distinction, as a person
very proper for a travelling tutor; and after some time I was
employed in that capacity by a gentleman who brought his ward to
Paris, in order to set him forward on his tour through Europe. I
was to be the young gentleman's governor, but with a proviso that
he should always be permitted to govern himself. My pupil in fact
understood the art of guiding in money concerns much better than
I. He was heir to a fortune of about two hundred thousand pounds,
left him by an uncle in the West Indies; and his guardians, to
qualify him for the management of it, had bound him apprentice to
an attorney. Thus avarice was his prevailing passion: all his
questions on the road were how money might be saved, which was
the least expensive course of travel; whether any thing could be
bought that would turn to account when disposed of again in
London. Such curiosities on the way as could be seen for nothing
he was ready enough to look at; but if the sight of them was to
be paid for, he usually asserted that he had been told they were
not worth seeing. He never paid a bill, that he would not
observe, how amazingly expensive travelling was, and all this
though he was not yet twenty-one. When arrived at Leghorn, as we
took a walk to look at the port and shipping, he enquired the
expence of the passage by sea home to England. This he was
informed was but a trifle, compared to his returning by land, he
was therefore unable to withstand the temptation; so paying me
the small part of my salary that was due, he took leave, and
embarked with only one attendant for London.

'I now therefore was left once more upon the world at large, but
then it was a thing I was used to. However my skill in music
could avail me nothing in a country where every peasant was a
better musician than I; but by this time I had acquired another
talent, which answered my purpose as well, and this was a skill
in disputation. In all the foreign universities and convents,
there are upon certain days philosophical theses maintained
against every adventitious disputant; for which, if the champion
opposes with any dexterity, he can claim a gratuity in money, a
dinner, and a bed, for one night. In this manner therefore I
fought my way towards England, walked along from city to city,
examined mankind more nearly, and, if I may so express it, saw
both sides of the picture. My remarks, however, are but few: I
found that monarchy was the best government for the poor to live
in, and commonwealths for the rich. I found that riches in
general were in every country another name for freedom; and that
no man is so fond of liberty himself as not to be desirous of
subjecting the will of some individuals in society to his own.

'Upon my arrival in England, I resolved to pay my respects first
to you, and then to enlist as a volunteer in the first expedition
that was going forward; but on my journey down my resolutions
were changed, by meeting an old acquaintance, who I found
belonged to a company of comedians, that were going to make a
summer campaign in the country. The company seemed not much to
disapprove of me for an associate. They all, however, apprized me
of the importance of the task at which I aimed; that the public
was a many headed monster, and that only such as had very good
heads could please it: that acting was not to be learnt in a day;
and that without some traditional shrugs, which had been on the
stage, and only on the stage, these hundred years, I could never
pretend to please. The next difficulty was in fitting me with
parts, as almost every character was in keeping. I was driven for
some time from one character to another, till at last Horatio was
fixed upon, which the presence of the present company has happily
hindered me from acting.'


The short continuance of friendship amongst the vicious, which is
coeval only with mutual satisfaction

My son's account was too long to be delivered at once, the first
part of it was begun that night, and he was concluding the rest
after dinner the next day, when the appearance of Mr Thornhill's
equipage at the door seemed to make a pause in the general
satisfaction. The butler, who was now become my friend in the
family, informed me with a whisper, that the 'Squire had already
made some overtures to Miss Wilmot, and that her aunt and uncle
seemed highly to approve the match. Upon Mr Thornhill's entering,
he seemed, at seeing my son and me, to start back; but I readily
imputed that to surprize, and not displeasure. However, upon our
advancing to salute him, he returned our greeting with the most
apparent candour; and after a short time, his presence served
only to encrease the general good humour.

After tea he called me aside, to enquire after my daughter; but
upon my informing him that my enquiry was unsuccessful, he seemed
greatly surprised; adding, that he had been since frequently at
my house, in order to comfort the rest of my family, whom he left
perfectly well. He then asked if I had communicated her
misfortune to Miss Wilmot, or my son; and upon my replying that I
had not told them as yet, he greatly approved my prudence and
precaution, desiring me by all means to keep it a secret: 'For at
best,' cried he, 'it is but divulging one's own infamy; and
perhaps Miss Livy may not be so guilty as we all imagine.' We
were here interrupted by a servant, who came to ask the 'Squire
in, to stand up at country dances; so that he left me quite
pleased with the interest he seemed to take in my concerns. His
addresses, however, to Miss Wilmot, were too obvious to be
mistaken; and yet she seemed not perfectly pleased, but bore them
rather in compliance to the will of her aunt, than from real
inclination. I had even the satisfaction to see her lavish some
kind looks upon my unfortunate son, which the other could neither
extort by his fortune nor assiduity. Mr Thornhill's seeming
composure, however, not a little surprised me: we had now
continued here a week, at the pressing instances of Mr Arnold;
but each day the more tenderness Miss Wilmot shewed my son, Mr
Thomhill's friendship seemed proportionably to encrease for him.

He had formerly made us the most kind assurances of using his
interest to serve the family; but now his generosity was not
confined to promises alone: the morning I designed for my
departure, Mr Thornhill came to me with looks of real pleasure to
inform me of a piece of service he had done for his friend
George. This was nothing less than his having procured him an
ensign's commission in one of the regiments that was going to the
West Indies, for which he had promised but one hundred pounds,
his interest having been sufficient to get an abatement of the
other two. 'As for this trifling piece of service,' continued the
young gentleman, 'I desire no other reward but the pleasure of
having served my friend; and as for the hundred pound to be paid,
if you are unable to raise it yourselves, I will advance it, and
you shall repay me at your leisure.' This was a favour we wanted
words to express our sense of. I readily therefore gave my bond
for the money, and testified as much gratitude as if I never
intended to pay.

George was to depart for town the next day to secure his
commission, in pursuance of his generous patron's directions, who
judged it highly expedient to use dispatch, lest in the mean time
another should step in with more advantageous proposals. The next
morning, therefore, our young soldier was early prepared for his
departure, and seemed the only person among us that was not
affected by it. Neither the fatigues and dangers he was going to
encounter, nor the friends and mistress, for Miss Wilmot actually
loved him, he was leaving behind, any way damped his spirits.
After he had taken leave of the rest of the company, I gave him
all I had, my blessing. 'And now, my boy,' cried I, 'thou art
going to fight for thy country, remember how thy brave
grandfather fought for his sacred king, when loyalty among
Britons was a virtue. Go, my boy, and immitate him in all but his
misfortunes, if it was a misfortune to die with Lord Falkland.
Go, my boy, and if you fall, tho' distant, exposed and unwept by
those that love you, the most precious tears are those with which
heaven bedews the unburied head of a soldier.'

The next morning I took leave of the good family, that had been
kind enough to entertain me so long, not without several
expressions of gratitude to Mr Thornhill for his late bounty. I
left them in the enjoyment of all that happiness which affluence
and good breeding procure, and returned towards home, despairing
of ever finding my daughter more, but sending a sigh to heaven to
spare and to forgive her. I was now come within about twenty
miles of home, having hired an horse to carry me, as I was yet
but weak, and comforted myself with the hopes of soon seeing all
I held dearest upon earth. But the night coming on, I put up at a
little public-house by the roadside, and asked for the landlord's
company over a pint of wine. We sate beside his kitchen fire,
which was the best room in the house, and chatted on politics and
the news of the country. We happened, among other topics, to talk
of young 'Squire Thornhill, who the host assured me was hated as
much as his uncle Sir William, who sometimes came down to the
country, was loved. He went on to observe, that he made it his
whole study to betray the daughters of such as received him to
their houses, and after a fortnight or three weeks possession,
turned them out unrewarded and abandoned to the world. As we
continued our discourse in this manner, his wife, who had been
out to get change, returned, and perceiving that her husband was
enjoying a pleasure in which she was not a sharer, she asked him,
in an angry tone, what he did there, to which he only replied in
an ironical way, by drinking her health. 'Mr Symmonds,' cried
she, 'you use me very ill, and I'll bear it no longer. Here three
parts of the business is left for me to do, and the fourth left
unfinished; while you do nothing but soak with the guests all day
long, whereas if a spoonful of liquor were to cure me of a fever,
I never touch a drop.' I now found what she would be at, and
immediately poured her out a glass, which she received with a
curtesy, and drinking towards my good health, 'Sir,' resumed she,
'it is not so much for the value of the liquor I am angry, but
one cannot help it, when the house is going out of the windows.
If the customers or guests are to be dunned, all the burthen lies
upon my back, he'd as lief eat that glass as budge after them
himself.' There now above stairs, we have a young woman who has
come to take up her lodgings here, and I don't believe she has
got any money by her over-civility. I am certain she is very slow
of payment, and I wish she were put in mind of it.'--'What
signifies minding her,' cried the host, 'if she be slow, she is
sure.'--'I don't know that,' replied the wife; 'but I know that I
am sure she has been here a fortnight, and we have not yet seen
the cross of her money.'--'I suppose, my dear,' cried he, 'we
shall have it all in a, lump.'--'In a lump!' cried the other, 'I
hope we may get it any way; and that I am resolved we will this
very night, or out she tramps, bag and baggage.'--'Consider, my
dear,' cried the husband, 'she is a gentlewoman, and deserves
more respect.'--'As for the matter of that,' returned the
hostess, 'gentle or simple, out she shall pack with a sassarara.
Gentry may be good things where they take; but for my part I
never saw much good of them at the sign of the Harrow.'--Thus
saying, she ran up a narrow flight of stairs, that went from the
kitchen to a room over-head, and I soon perceived by the loudness
of her voice, and the bitterness of her reproaches, that no money
was to be had from her lodger. I could hear her remonstrances
very distinctly: 'Out I say, pack out this moment, tramp thou
infamous strumpet, or I'll give thee a mark thou won't be the
better for this three months. What! you trumpery, to come and
take up an honest house, without cross or coin to bless yourself
with; come along I say.'--'O dear madam,' cried the stranger,
'pity me, pity a poor abandoned creature for one night, and death
will soon do the rest.' I instantly knew the voice of my poor
ruined child Olivia. I flew to her rescue, while the woman was
dragging her along by the hair, and I caught the dear forlorn
wretch in my arms.--'Welcome, any way welcome, my dearest lost
one, my treasure, to your poor old father's bosom. Tho' the
vicious forsake thee, there is yet one in the world that will
never forsake thee; tho' thou hadst ten thousand crimes to answer
for, he will forget them all.'--'O my own dear'--for minutes she
could no more--'my own dearest good papa! Could angels be kinder!
How do I deserve so much! The villain, I hate him and myself, to
be a reproach to such goodness. You can't forgive me. I know you
cannot.'--'Yes, my child, from my heart I do forgive thee! Only

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