Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

scout: and of late, it seems every sprig of divinity at either of our universities, is an Esquire, till the transmogrifying hand of the Bishop forbids that title any longer to exist. And as every Esquire has a right to his armorial bearings, from some of his renowned ancestors, no doubt, but by the assistance of a little endless genealogy, all these esquires may resume them, whenever they choose.

Though my good friend Thomas Newman may thus stand registered among the Misters, from the ecclesiastical rank to which he has been advanced, yet for my sake, higher than this, I hope he will not attempt to climb; for though he may deserve not a little credit in understanding divinity, if not in its most critical, yet in its best and purest sense, better than many a Doctor 80 called : and though very frequently a wind from the North, is apt to blow these honours over to us in large abundance, (fees being first duly paid, yet I confess I might feel it a little mortifying, were I to hear of Doctor Newman, while I must be contented to be plain Mister (alas for me !) all the days of my life. But yet I conceive, if Mister Newman really were to meet with one, who might be willing to pay the purchase money, for a Doctor's degree on his behalf; he would certainly shew his good sense and modesty in declining the honour, as many others have done before him. He and I humbly acknowledge, we have never enriched the world by our scientific knowledge, or literary pages; and therefore cannot deserve these honours, which we conceive to be well' and wisely bestowed on others whose respectable abilities and high erudition, deserve such a distinguished appellation. And while many are actually deterred from accepting such honours as would well become them, by others assuming them; these must be left to try, how far being mounted upon such lofty pedestals, as were never designed for them, will make them a single atom bigger than they really are.

But while we all rejoiced at the promotion of this engaging peasant, an unhappy event took place, which tried Farmer Littleworth and his family to the quick. The Reader will remember how Tiss Patty Littleworth was married, much against the farmer's inclination, to William Frolic; and, as might be expected, many were the calamities which resulted from this unhappy match.

After a considerable time had elapsed, the farmer went down one Monday morning to Mr. Lovegood's, with the following story.

Far. O Sir! I hope you will excuse me : I am come to tell

you

of

my fresh troubles, if you have not heard of them before : Sam Blood, Ned Sparkish, and my son-in-law, William Frolic, are all cast for death, and left for execution on Saturday next.-I think my poor daughter will break her heart.

Loveg. I feel for you exceedingly, but I heard of that news before from Mr. Worthy, who called here about half an hour ago, and I was just coming to give you a visit on this very trying event.

Far. O Sir! what can be done? My poor wife is almost in as much trouble as my daughter, for though at first, she was quite as much against the match as I could be, but when he made ever so many vows and promises that he would reform, she began to give way; and she now blames herself, that she was not more resolute against it.

Loveg. Ah, Mr. Littleworth! we have very little reason to hope for the reformation of manners, without the renovation of the heart.

Far. Aye, aye, Sir, I know that is very true.-But

what can be done? if he could only be saved from the gallows, that is all I want. He is such a wicked, wild blade, that I should not at all care if he were to be transported to Botany Bay for life, if it were only that he might be banished from his wicked companions.

Loveg. Sir, had we not better walk to the Hall, and consult with Mr. Worthy on this unhappy occasion ?

Far. If the 'Squire should not think us intruding, I should be very glad if his honour would but suffer us to trespass a little on his time, that we may have some of his good advice.

Lovey. We all know how willing he is to give his kind counsel on every needful occasion-Come, Sir, let us go directly.

Mrs. Loveg. O my dear! you must not go to Mr. Worthy's in that shabby hat and coat. [To the maid.] Nelly, step up stairs, and bring down your master's other coat and waistcoat; and his best hat.

Loveg. Never mind, my dear, Mr. Worthy won't be offended at my old coat; no man more easily dispenses with the formalities of dress.

Mrs. Loveg. But you know, Sir Thomas and Lady Friend are there, and I should be ashamed to see you go out of the house, without something better to appear in before such company.

[Mr. Lovegood submits, and is properly equipped. The Farmer and he are introduced into the library, where Mr. Worthy and Sir Thomas were in conversation over some new-invented models, for the improvement of husbandry.]

Loveg. Sir, I am afraid we interrupt you; but we wait upon you for your advice, respecting the distressing situation of Mr. Littleworth's family.--His wife and daughter are almost broken-hearted.

Wor. Come in; sit down : Sir Thomas and I were only talking over this new-invented threshing machine,

and some other improvements in husbandry; but we will lay that aside, and shall be ready to give you our best advice. I have already told Sir Thomas some of the circumstances of this unhappy event.

Sir Thos. Yes, Sir, but I don't know many of the particulars.

Loveg. We are ready to furnish you, Sir, with the best information in our power, and what are the designs of our present application.-Perhaps, Sir, we may be favoured with your assistance, as you are so well known in the county, on my distressed friend's behalf. Far. O Sir! if your honour could but lend your

aid with our worthy 'Squire, to save my poor son-in-law from the gallows, that is all I want. I confess he is unfit to live, but I am sure he is very unfit to die.

Sir Thos. How came the youth in this unhappy situation ? -What are his connections ? It is much to be lamented that your daughter made such an unfortunate choice.

Far. Ah, Sir! I did all in my power to thwart the match; and so did my wife too at the first; but somehow, at last, he contrived to get on her blind side, as we say, by making such promises and vows, how he would mend his manners, and reform his life, if we would but consent to the match. And then there was a little money in the case ; for old master Frolic, of the Nag's Head, who has always been fond of entertaining his customers, out of a set of low vulgar joke books, used to get a number of them together, and nas been making himself rich by the ruination of half the parish ; for his house was never clear from a set of tipplers and dramdrinkers, of all sorts and sizes. And then he used to tell us what famous expectations he had from an old miserly rich uncle who lived in our town, provided he did but reform.

Loveg. I can assure you, Sir Thomas, no sort of blame rests on Mr. Littleworth on that score ; for he always suspected the fallacy of the young man's resolutions and pretensions to reformation : but the young woman's foolish fondness for the unhappy rake, carried all before it, while my good old friend always disliked the man, and his connections, as bad as his occupation.

Far. Why, your honour, what could be expected from a wicked, wild young chap, who was acquainted with all the rakes up and down the country, far and wide; while his father's house was the main place of their resort ! and though my dear Harry was once almost as bad, yet there is no trusting any one till they are converted by the grace of God, as I am sure he is,-the Lord be praised.

Sir Thos. Yes, my respectable neighbour, Dr. Orderly, was telling me what a wonderful reformation had taken place in your son. It is a pity the young man could not have been persuaded to fortify his purposes of amendment with stronger resolutions after his marriage.

Loveg. Ah, Sir ! the worthy Doctor and I have had many a long conversation on that subject, but our firmest resolutions are sure to fail, while corrupted nature prevails. Good can never stand, while it has nothing but an evil heart for its foundation.

Far. Aye, in my wicked days, I was a wonderful great resolution maker, but I no sooner made them, than I was sure to break them; yet this makes me pity the poor youth to the bottom of my heart, though by his wicked ways, especially since his father's death, he has been the ruination of his mother, my daughter, and himself.

Sir Thos. What, then, is his poor father lately dead?

Far. O yes, Sir ; he died about two months after my daughter was married to his son, he was desperate ill about that time ; and though he was one of the most wicked, romancing fellows in the parish, and kept up a deal of merriment in his house to entertain his custom.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »