Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

VILLAGE DÍALOGUES.

DIALOGUE I.

COTTAGE PIETY; OR THE GOOD ORDER OF THOMAS NEWMAN'S FAMILY.

FARMER LITTLEWORTH AND THOMAS NEWMAN.

The Farmer goes after his Labourers, and finds Thomas at his Work, singing.

Farmer. WE ELL, Thomas, you seem very mer

ry; what are you singing? Thomas. Why, master, I am singing one of the Songs of Sion.

Far. What sort of songs are they?

Tho. I am singing his praises who hath redeemed me by his blood, sanctified me by his Spirit, and leads me to his glory and while I am singing I am cheerful, and then I can work the better. Besides these good songs keep bad thoughts out of my heart; and you know, master, bad thoughts are bad things, and bring about bad actions.

Far. Why, Thomas, I wonder how you can be so merry in these hard times?

Tho. Hard! master! Why we never mind hard times while we can but live with a joyful hope of a happy eternity; we need" be careful for nothing, while with prayer and thanksgiving we can make our requests known unto God."

[blocks in formation]

Far. I am sure my wife and I have care enough; what between my son, who is gone to sea, and my three daughters, whom I can never keep at home, unless they have twenty gossips, and fine misses with them though I have such a good farm, yet it all goes as fast as it comes in.

Tho. O master, you want a proper housekeeper. Far. Nay, Thomas, you should not say so, for my old dame is as good a housekeeper as any in the parish, if my children did not turn out so untowardly.

Tho. The housekeeper I mean, is, Mr. Godlyfear; and I trust, by the blessing of God, I know the worth of that gentleman very well, he has lived in my house almost ever since Mr. Lovegood has been vicar of our parish; and Mr. Codly fear charges nothing for his wages; though he provides us with more bread and cheese, in these hard times, than ever we had when times were better. And, master, if so be I may be plain with you, had you and madam the same housekeeper, he might have kept your son from running into wickedness, and then he need not have gone to sea; and he would have made your daughters keep at home and mind the business of the house.

Far. Why, Thomas, you are not the worse for hearing your parson. I confess he has made you a better man than when you came home drunk with me from Mapleton fair.

Tho. A thousand, and a thousand times I have thought, that we were worse than the hogs we went to buy, and which I drove home the next day.

Far. Ah! Thomas, that was partly my fault. Tho. But, master, if you think I am the better for hearing our minister, why won't you come and hear him too?

Far. Why, if I did, I should be jeer'd at all the mar

ket over. You know, Thomas, your cottage is not in our parish; and what would our rector say, if I was to leave our church to hear Mr. Lovegood? for you know he hates him mortally; calls him all sorts of names; says he is a 'Thusiast; but what he means by it I cannot tell: and I should have as good a peel about my ears from my wife and daughters, as ever I should have from the parson..

Tho. What of all that, master, if you could but get good to your soul? for there is no good like it.

Far. Ah, Thomas! this is fine talk, for if I was to quarrel with our parson, I should never have any peace in the parish, and he would raise my tythes directly.

Tho. Why since I have been blessed with the fear of God, I have been kept from the fear of man; and it has been a thousand times better with me ever since. Now I am a poor man, and had need fear every body, and you have a good farm and need fear nobody. If Mr. Godlyfear had lived in your house, he would have kept from you far enough such fears as these.

Far. I confess, at times I should be glad of such a guest, for he seems to have kept your house very well,-How many children have you?

Tho. Thank God, master, I have six, and another a-coming.

Far. Why, how do you provide for them all?
Tho. By prayer and patience.

Far. I am sure you must have something better

than that.

Tho. Better, master! I am directed to pray for my daily bread, and wait with patience, till it comes; and the Lord is as good as his.promise; for if we "seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, all these things shall be added unto us.” am poor, and a little pinched at one time, I have plenty at another. To be sure it was to admiration

If I

what a sight of things were sent us, when my wife, the fourth time she lay-in, was brought to bed of twins. Just as we began to mistrust what we should do, when the children came so fast, in came madam Trusty, 'Squire Worthy's housekeeper, with such a nice bundle of baby-linen, and other things for my wife, that she and the children were soon dressed like gentlefolks; and, I am told, the Miss Worthies made these nice clothes with their own hands. Then two days afterwards, two of the young ladies came themselves to our cottage, and gave my wife half-acrown a piece; and the same day, Mrs. Traffick of the shop, sent her such a large pitcherful of nice smoking-hot caudle, it would have done your heart good only to have smelt it; and said, that when the pitcher was empty, we were to send it back, and she would fill it again. Our dear minister too went about and got us money enough to buy coals, to serve us all the winter: and at the christening, he gave us five shillings to help us on: so that I was never better off in all my life; for the faster the children came, the better we were provided for. I will promise you, master, we had enough and enough to do to praise God for his mercies on these occasions. And though I say it that should not, our poor children look as decent and as healthy, as any children in our parish, or the next to it.

Far. Well, Thomas, you had need mind your hits to breed them all up.

Tho. Why, master, you know the old proverb, "God helps them that help themselves:" for first, I always put the children to work as soon as they are able: they either spin or knit; and my second son, Billy, has got a loom, which our worthy 'squire gave him; and he weaves very tidily, and my wife always keeps us well mended; she can put on many a patch, but she will never let us appear ragged: but then,

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »