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PARSON DOLITTLE, FALLING FROM HIS HORSE, WHILE HUNTING

Madam Toog. Why Sir, you are not prepared: you can't go away from the card-table, to administer the holy sacrament?

Spitef. Well, I cannot help it, I must take it as I find it; I wish I had been at something else.

[Mr. Wisehead, twisting his thumbs one over the other, sat and said nothing.]

Madam Toog. But I hope Sir, nothing material has happened to Mr. Dolittle: do stop awhile and tell us before you go: if it is not too bold, I should be glad to know what he says of this unfortunate accident.

Spitef. Well well, as the whole of it must soon be known, far and wide, you may take and read the letter if you like.

[The letter is handed to MadamToogood, and she gives it to Miss Prateapace.]

Madam Toog. Becky Prateapace, my dear, will you read it? My eyes are got very dim, and I don't like to read by candle light. [The letter is read out.]

Madam Toog. O, poor gentleman! but Mr. Sipteful, did you not hear of it before you left Mapleton ? Spitef. I heard that he had a bad fall from his horse, but nothing of the particulars.

Consid. Hear of it madam? I suppose it is all the town over by now. But as Mr. Spiteful had so much to say against Mr. Lovegood, I thought I would have the less to say against Mr. Dolittle; especially as you so much admire him as a Minister.

Madam Toog. Why to be sure Sir, he is an excellent man in the pulpit.

Consid. A thousand pities madam, if that be the case, but that he should always be kept in it, and never let out again, when he is once found there. In my opinion however, a bad man out of the pulpit, can never be a good man in the pulpit.

Madam Toog. I am very sorry Mr. Dolittle should

have been so let down.

Consid. Why, by all accounts, he has been com pletely let down, and let down more than once on the VOL. II.

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same unfortunate day; for after the Rector was with some difficulty heaved out of the ditch, neither his hat nor wig could be found for a considerable time as they were both driven or trodden so deep into the mire, by those that helped him out.

Madam Toog. Dear Sir, I hope the Rector was not obliged to ride home without his hat and wig.

Consid. Why ma'am, as good luck would have it, there was an old woman gathering some sticks, up and down the headge, and after she had lent a helping hand to scrape off some of the dirt, she next kindly took her red cloak from off her own back, and put it round Mr. Dolittle's head and shoulders: but as for his riding home, that was quite out of the question, for as soon as his mare found herself at liberty, she took to her heels, and soon arrived at her own stable door at Mapleton: and that first gave the alarm to the town, to see the mare return with her saddle and bridle, and without her master. Besides, had she stopped for her master, he was too much bruised to mount her again.

Madam Toog. Poor gentleman, how did he get home?

Consid. Why if not in a very creditable, yet as it then proved, a very convenient carriage. It was in a dung cart madam, which happened just then to be employed in carrying dung into some of the neighbouring fields.

Madam Toog. O dear! why did they not send to Mapleton for a chaise? or why could not Mr. Bluster have sent home for his chaise? I would have sooner parted with twenty pounds out of my pocket, than that he should have been carried in that manner.

Consid. Why madam, would you have had him to have continued trembling and quaking, all over mud and dirt, in the cold, till a chaise could have been brought? How could they do better under such circumstances, than put the Rector in the cart, and then drive him home as fast as he could bear it? though

to be sure, had he been brought home in a chaise, he would have escaped his second let down.

Madam Toog. Dear Sir! what was that? it quite frightens me. Becky Prateapace, reach me my smelling bottle. [The old lady takes a snift.]

Consid. Why, you know madam, calamities of this sort seldom come alone; and so it happened now: for the Rector was first hoisted into the cart, and seated on the old woman's bundle of sticks, while she sat on the one side, and Mr. Bluster's servant on the other, as his supporters. Thus he rode to Revel Hall, shivering with cold, and groaning with pain all the time; but through the carelesness of the plough boy, who drove the cart, which was made to tilt the dung into the field, (not having properly attended to the pin,) while they were preparing to heave the Rector out, they were all tilted down together; and what between the groanings of the Rector and the laughing of the spectators, to see him and the old woman, with her bundle of sticks, and the servant, all sprawling together on the ground, such a sight I suppose, was never exhibited in that yard before.

Madam Toog I am afraid this will make a sad talk about the town, especially as Mr. Dolittle made such a fine sermon last Sunday, proving that our clergy were the successors of our Saviour, and his apostles. Spitef. Aye, and all this will be nuts for Lovegood, and his schismatical crew.

Consid. Indeed Sir, you ill know the character of that good man; no person can be more grieved at the improper conduct of the pretended Ministers of the Gospel, than himself; and if all acted as he does, I am sure, the blessed cause of Christianity would not suffer half the jeer and contempt it now sustains, on account of the bad lives of its professors, especially of its professing ministers, however denominated; and instead of a set of people belonging to any church, urging the foolish boast that they are the successors of our Lord and his Apostles, it would he much more to the point, if they would but preach their doctrines,

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