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Lovegood. The first thing that struck me, was the furniture of his room.
On one peg were hung a pair of skaits with red morocco straps; on another his violin; at another place his bows and arrows were exhibited, as he was a member of an archer's club; over bis chimney-piece were piled his gun, and other accoutrements for that sport, with two or three dog-collars; then there was bis backgammon-table; his cribbage-board; and, among other pretty play-things, he had his battledores and shuttlecocks.
C. Whittingham, College House, Chiswick.
among the rest, he had one book somewhat better bound than the others, called “ The Religion of a Polite Gentleman.”
Wor. In the name of wonder, what sort of a book can that be?
Loveg. I should suppose a jumble of affectation, and religious compliments. I asked him however, out of curiosity, what were its contents. He directly answered, he had only read a little in the middle of it; but that the author plainly proved, that no gentleman should be over morose in his religion, and that this was supposed to be the fault of St. Paul, for that he was bred a Sadducee.
Wor. A Sadducee! Did he not mean a Pharisee?
Loveg. I suppose he might, but that he did not know the one from the other.
Wor. And had he no other religious publications besides?
Loveg. Sir, he had a book called “ Thesaurus Ecclesiæ Anglicanæ," written by one Ecton.
Mrs. Wor. Sir, we do not understand what these Latin titles to books of divinity mean:
Loveg. Why, madam, it means, “The Treasury of the English Church.”
Mrs. Wor. I suppose then he had one good book at least ? for in the Liturgy, Articles, and Homilies, there is a treasure of divinity, remarkably good and sound : and it is wonderful how well calculated those writings against popery are to confute the modern protestantism of the day, as you, Sir, (to Mr. Lovegood) have often remarked.
Loveg. O madam, Ecton's Thesaurus, contains nothing but an account of the worth of different livings, and all other church preferments. If I were to give it another name, it should be A Guide to Preferment Hunters; though they commonly call it among themselves, The Parson's Bible.
Wor. What could be the style of the conversation of this poor creature ?
Loveg. Sír, the most empty, and frivolous imaginable. I did not at first, (according to Mr. Reader's desire,) introduce religion too hastily, lest I should forfeit the use of the pulpit ; he supposed that I had not much more to do with it, than himself; only he conceived I might be of a more grave and phlegmatic turn of mind ; and that I was a fine orator, as he called it.
Wor. I should suppose this idea respecting your turn of mind, might have had some check upon his frothy talk,
Lovey. Not in the least; his chatter was incessant. He first began asking, if I lived in a good sporting country. I waved it, and said, that I was fond of my study, that I had a large family, and a good deal to do in my parish ; and that I had really no time for such amusements. He then said, he confessed he was of another turn; and that he could not see the need of muzzing over a set of books all the day long. Then he went on telling me what a wonderful deal of game he had killed that season, with one Esquire Madcap, a strange, wild, young fellow, who lives in those parts. Then all at once, he cried, “O Sir! you really come a day after the fair ; for Mr. Madcap, our young Esquire, who lives about three miles off, treated us with a horse-race; he is a merry fellow I can assure you; and really, Sir, we had charming sport." I answered, I supposed it might be to them that liked it. But hints of that sort were of no avail ; for on he went, crying, “Really, Sir, between the pleasures of the horse course in the mornings, and the card parties and balls in the evenings, we were all alive !"
not tell him, it was much to be lamented, that the people of his spiritual charge, could not be kept alive without the aids of cards, balls, and horse races ?
Loveg. Sir, I said to him, what was their life, would be my death; and he immediately cried, “ O my stars and garters! I think you were born under a strange planet.”
Mrs. Wor. A strange one, indeed, I suppose to him; but how did he proceed ?
Loveg. Madam, he said, I entertained very different notions of religion to Mr. Archdeacon Wildblood; for that he not only was at the horse race, but that he rode his own horse; yet he did not sport a solo, for that another clergyman, young Bob Dapper, rode his horse as well as the Archdeacon.
Wor. Indeed, this is worse than bad. What must be expected from a church, while some among its very dignitaries are not masked even with common decency! But was the rattle of this empty creature correctly stated ?
Loveg. Sir, when I asked Mr. Reader, how far this circumstance was true, he told me, that an Archdeacon, known by the name of Jack Wildblood, actually rode his own horse ; and that before common decency was insulted, by turning Jack into a Parson, and afterwards into an Archdeacon, he was an officer in the army; and that after having made his calculations, he discovered from family connections, it was probable that things spiritual, would pay him better than things temporal.*
Report also says, that while on the horse course, his stirrup unfortunately broke, and that he swore at the mob, most profanely to get out of the way, lest, as he could not manage his horse, he should ride over them;
• Report says, some of these military parsons are still on half pay.