« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
FOOL of QUALITY;
C R, THE
HENRY Earl of MORELAND.
The HISTORY of a REPROBATE.
KNOW not, Gentlemen, faid he, who my parents were. I was found, when an infant, wrapped in rags on a cobler's bulk, in Weftminster. The parishofficers fent me to the poor-houfe; and, when I was capable of inftruction, they fent me to the charity-school.
When I had learned to read and write, I was bound, for a fervant, to Mr Skinner, a neighbouring attorney. My mistress
grew fond of me; fhe was a very holy woman; the taught me my prayers and catechifm, and made me read to her every night, and repeat chapters and pfalms, till 1 had nearly got half the Bible by rote.
As my mafter ufed to fend me on many errands and meffages, and to entrust me with little matters of money on fuch occafions, on finding me always punctual and honeft to him, he began to love me almost as much as my good mistress did.
But now came on my firft falling away from all goodnefs. I was about twelve years old, when, in a curfed hour, my mafter fent me to a diftant part of the town, with a bill to pay fome money, and bring to him back the change. The change amounted to about four pounds in glittering filver. It appeared a mint of money. I never had been in poffeffion of fo large a heap; and I fighed, and faid to myself, How bleffed must they be who are become the rich owners of fo much money! Then fome one feemed to whifper me, that I was the owner; and again fome one feemed to whisper me, that I was not the owner. Then I would go forward toward my mafter; and again I would ftop and go afide. Then I would thruft
thruft my hand into my pocket, and feel the greatness of my treasure, then turn to the wall, and lay the brightness of it before my eyes. Then I would run a piece off, as hurried away by the force of the temptation; and again I would delay, and stop, and turn, and strive to force myself homeward. Till, what with doubting and delaying, and struggling off and on, and going backward and forward, I confidered, that if I went home, I fhould now get nothing but blame and beating; and fo I took a head, and ran into the country as fast as my feet could
As I ran myself out of breath, from time to time, I would look back and look back, and run on and run on, in the thought that my mafter, or fome one from him, was at my heels. But often fince, I have reflected, and was perfuaded in my mind, that my kind mafter and miftrefs had not the leaft fufpicion of ine, but rather inquired and forrowed after me, as being murdered or kidnapped from them; and this alfo was, at times, a great grief of heart to me.
When I was quite tired and jaded, and night came on, i turned up to a forry kind of an inn, or rather alehouse, wnin I happened to be near. But, as I feared A 3 every