Imágenes de páginas

friends to tell us what was said of us by ene- dam,” returned he, “ it is impossible to know mies. These reports were always resented with any person that deserves to be her husband : becoming spirit; but scandal ever improves by she's too great a treasure for one man's possesopposition.

sion; she is a goddess. Upon my soul, I speak We once, again, therefore, entered into con- what I think, she is angel.”—“Ah, Mr Thornsultation upon obviating the malice of our ene- hill, you only flatter my poor girl: but we have mies, and at last came to a resolution which had been thinking of marrying her to one of your too much cunning to give me entire satisfaction. tenants, whose mother is lately dead, and who It was this : as our principal object was to dis- wants a manager ; you know whom I mean, cover the honour of Mr Thornhill's addresses, Farmer Williams; a warm man, Mr Thornmy wife undertook to sound him, by pretende hill, able to give her good bread; and who has ing to ask his advice in the choice of a husband several times made her proposals :” (which was for her eldest daughter. If this was not found actually the case.). “ But, sir,” concluded she, sufficient to induce him to a declaration, it was “ I should be glad to have your approbation of then resolved to terrify him with a rival. To our choice.”_" How, madam,” replied he, this last step, however, I would by no means my approbation ! My approbation of such give my consent, till Olivia gave me the most a choice? Never. What! sacrifice so much solemn assurances that she would marry the beauty, and sense, and goodness, to a creature person provided to rival him upon this occasion, insensible of the blessing! Excuse me, I can if he did not prevent it by taking her himself. never approve of such a piece of injustice ! And Such was the scheme laid, which, though I did I have my reasons"_" Indeed, sir,” cried not strenuously oppose, I did not entirely ap- Deborah, “ if you have your reasons, that's anprove.

other affair; but I should be glad to know those The next time, therefore, that Mr Thornhill reasons."- “Excuse me, madam,” returned he, came to see us, my girls took care to be out of they lie too deep for discovery,” (laying his the way, in order to give their mamma an op- hand upon his bosom,)“ they remain buried, portunity of putting her scheme in execution; rivetted here.” but they only retired to the next room, from After he was gone, upon a general consultawhence they could overhear the whole conver- tion, we could not tell what to make of these sation : my wife artfully introduced it by ob- fine sentiments. Olivia considered them as inserving, that one of the Miss Flamboroughs stances of the most exalted passion ; but I was was like to have a very good match of it in Mr not quite so sanguine : it seemed to me pretty Spanker. To this the Squire assenting, she pro- plain, that they had more of love than matriceeded to remark, that they who had warm for- mony in them; yet, whatever they might portunes were always sure of getting good hus- tend, it was resolved to prosecute the scheme of bands :—" But Heaven help,” continued she, Farmer Williams, who, from my daughter's “ the girls who have done! What signifies first appearance in the country, had paid her his beauty, Mr Thornhill? or what signifies all the addresses. virtue and all the qualifications in the

world, in this age of self-interest ? It is not, What is she? but what has she? is all the cry."

CHAP. XVII. Madam,” returned he, “ I highly approve the justice, as well as the novelty, of your re- Scarcely any Virtue found to resist the power of marks; and if I were king, it should be other- long and pleasing Temptation. wise. It should then, indeed, be fine times for the girls without fortunes ; our two young la- As I only studied my child's real happiness, dies should be the first for whom I would pro- the assiduity of Mr Williams pleased me, as he vide.”

was in easy circumstances, prudent, and sincere. “ Ah! sir," returned my wife, “.

you are It required but very little encouragement to repleased to be facetious: but I wish I were a vive his former passion; so that in an evening queen, and then I know where my eldest daugh- or two he and Mr Thornhill met at our house, ter should look for a husband. But now that and surveyed each other for some time with you have put it into my head, seriously, Mr looks of anger : but Williams owed his landThornhill, can't you recommend me a proper lord no rent, and little regarded his indignation. husband for her she is now nineteen years Olivia, on her side, acted the coquet to perfecold, well grown, and well educated; and, in tion, if that might be called acting which was my humble opinion, does not want for parts." her real character, pretending to lavish all her

“Madam," replied he, “ if I were to choose, tenderness on her new lover. Mr Thornhill I would find out a person possessed of every appeared quite dejected at this preference, and, accomplishment that can make an angel happy. with a pensive air, took leave; though I own One with prudence, fortune, taste, and sinceri- it puzzled me to find him in so much pain as ty: such, madam, would be, in my opinion, the he appeared to be, when he had it in his

power proper husband.”—“Ay, sir,” said she, “but so easily to remove the cause, by declaring an do you know of any such person ?"-"No, ma- honourable passion. But whatever uneasiness he seemed to endure, it could easily be percei- lity, which I looked upon as resignation. For ved that Olivia's anguish was much greater my own part, I was now sincerely pleased with After any of these interviews between her thinking that my child was going to be secured lovers, of which there were several, she usually in a continuance of competence and peace, and retired to solitude, and there indulged her frequently applauded her resolution, in prefergrief. It was in such a situation I found her ring happiness to ostentation. one evening, after she had been for some time It was within about four days of her intendsupporting a fictitious gaiety. “ You now see, ed nuptials, that my little family at night were my child," said I, “ that your confidence in Mr gathered round a charming fire, telling stories Thornhill's passion was all a dream ; he per- of the past, and laying schemes for the future; mits the rivalry of another, every way his in- busied in forming a thousand projects, and ferior, though he knows it lies in his power to laughing at whatever folly came uppermost. secure you to himself by a candid declaration.' “ Well, Moses,” cried I, we shall soon, my -“Yes, papa,” returned she, “but he has his boy, have a wedding in the family ; what is reasons for this delay; I know he has. The your opinion of matters, and things in gesincerity of his looks and words convinces me neral ?”—" My opinion, father, is, that all of his real esteem. A short time, I hope, will things go on very well; and I was just now discover the generosity of his sentiments, and thinking, that when sister Livy is married to convince you that my opinion of him has been Farmer Williams, we shall then have the loan more just than yours.”—“ Olivia, my darling,” of his cyder-press and brewing-tubs for noreturned I, “every scheme that has been hi- thing"-" That we shall, Moses,” cried I, therto pursued to compel him to a declaration, “and he will sing us Death and the Lady, to has been proposed and planned by yourself, nor raise our spirits, into the bargain.”—" He has can you in the least say that I have constrained taught that song to our Dick,” cried Moses, you. But you must not suppose, my dear, that

« and I think he goes through it very pretti1 will ever be instrumental in suffering his ly.”—“ Does he so?" cried 1, " then let us honest rival to be the dupe of your ill-placed have it: where is little Dick ? let him up with passion. Whatever time you require to bring it boldly.”.

.” “My brother Dick,” cried Bill, my your fancied admirer to an explanation, shall youngest, " is just gone out with sister Livy; be granted; but at the expiration of that term, but Mr Williams has taught me two songs, and if he is still regardless, I must absolutely insist I'll sing them for you, papa. Which song do that honest Mr Williams shall be rewarded for you choose The Dying Swan; or the Elegy his fidelity. The character which I have hi- on the Death of a Mad Dog ?

- The elegy, therto supported in life demands this from me; child, by all means,” said Í, “ I never heard and my tenderness as a parent shall never in- that yet and Deborah, my life, grief, you fluence my integrity as a man. Name, then, know, is dry; let us have a bottle of the best your day ; let it be as distant as you think pro- gooseberry-wine, to keep up our spirits. I per, and in the meantime take care to let Mr have wept so much at all sorts of elegies of late, Thornbill know the exact time on which I de- that, without an enlivening glass, I am sure sign delivering you up to another. If he really this will overcome me. And Sophy, love, take loves you, his own good sense will readily sug your guitar, and thrum in with the boy a little." gest that there is but one method alone to prevent his losing you for ever.” This proposal,

AN ELEGY which she could not avoid considering as perfectly just, was readily agreed to. She again

On the Death of a Mad Dog. renewed her most positive promise of marrying

Good people all, of every sort, Mr Williams, in case of the other's insensi

Give ear unto my song ; bility; and at the next opportunity, in Mr

And if you find it wondrous short, Thornhill's presence, that day month was fixed It cannot hold you long. upon for her nuptials with his rival.

Such vigorous proceedings seemed to re- In Islington there was a man, double Mr Thornhill's anxiety : but what Oli

Of whom the world might say, via really felt gave me some uneasiness. In That still a godly race he ran, this struggle between prudence and passion,

Whene'er he went to pray. her vivacity quite forsook her, and every opportunity of solitude was sought, and spent in

A kind and gentle heart he had,

To comfort friends and foes ; tears. One week passed away; but Mr Thornhill made no efforts to restrain her nuptials.

The naked every day he clad,

When he put on his clothes. The succeeding week he was still assiduous, but not more open. On the third, he discon

And in that town a dog was found; tinued his visits entirely; and instead of my As many dogs there be, daughter testifying any impatience, as I ex- Both mongrel, puppy, whelp, and hound, pected, she seemed to retain a pensive tranquil- And cur of low degree.

This dog and man at first were friends ; but of two such markets for wives in Europe But when a pique began,

Ranelagh in England, and Fontarabia in Spain. The dog, to gain some private ends,

The Spanish market is open once a-year, but Went mad, and bit the man !'

our English wives are saleable every night.” Around from all the neighb'ring streets

“You are right, my boy,” cried his mother ; The wond'ring neighbours ran ;

“Old England is the only place in the world And swore the dog had lost his wits,

for husbands to get wives.”—“ And for wives To bite so good a man.

to manage their husbands,” interrupted I. “It

is a proverb abroad, that if a bridge were built The wound it seem'd both sore and sad, across the sea, all the ladies of the continent To every Christian eye ;

would come over to take pattern from ours; for And while they swore the dog was mad, there are no such wives in Europe as our own. They swore the man would die.

But let us have one bottle more, Deborah, my

life-and, Moses, give us a good song. What But soon a wonder came to light,

thanks do we not owe to heaven for thus bestow That show'd the rogues they lied ;

ing tranquillity, health, and competence! I think The man recover'd' of the bite, The dog it was that died.

myself happier now than the greatest monarch upon earth. He has no such fire-side, nor such

pleasant faces about it. Yes, Deborah, we are "A very good boy, Bill, upon my word; and now growing old : but the evening of our life an elegy that may truly be called tragical— is likely to be happy. We are descended from Come, my children, here's Bill's health, and ancestors that knew no stain, and we shall leave may he one day be a bishop!”

a good and virtuous race of children behind us. • With all my heart,” cried my wife ; "and While we live they will be our support and our if he but preaches as well as he sings, I make pleasure here, and when we die they will trans· no doubt of him. The most of his family, by mit our honour untainted to posterity. Come,

the mother's side, could sing a good song; it my son, we wait for a song ; let us have a chowas a common saying, in our country, that the rus.—But where is my darling Olivia ? That family of the Blenkinsops could never look little cherub's voice is always sweetest in the straight before them; nor the Hugginsons blow concert.” out a candle ; that there were none of the Gro- Just as I spoke, Dick came running ingrams but could sing a song, or of the Marjo- “O papa, papa, she is gone from us—she is rams but could tell a story.” -“ However that

gone from us; my sister Livy is gone from us be,” cried I, “ the most vulgar ballad of all ge- for ever !"_" Gone, child !_“Yes; she is nerally pleases 'me better than the fine modern gone off with two gentlemen in a post-chaiseodes, and things that petrify us in a single and one of them kissed her, and said he would stanza : productions that we at once detest and die for her; and she cried very much, and was praise. Put the glass to your brother, Moses. for coming back ; but he persuaded her again,

The great fault of these elegiasts is, that they and she went into the chaise, and said, Oh! are in despair for griefs that give the sensible what will my poor papa do when he knows I am part of mankind very little pain. A lady loses undone?””Now, then,” cried I,“my childher muff, her fan, or her lap-dog, and so the ren, go and be iniserable ; for we shall never silly poet runs home to versify the disaster.” enjoy one hour more. And, 0, may heaven's

That may be the mode,” cried Moses, “in everlasting fury light upon him and his! Thus sublimer compositions: but the Ranelagh songs to rob me of my child !-And sure it will-for that come down to us are perfectly familiar, and taking back my sweet innocent that I was lead, all cast in the same mould ; Colin meets Dolly, ing up to heaven! Such sincerity as my child and they hold a dialogue together; he gives her was possessed of! But all our earthly happiness a fairing to put in her hair, and she presents is now over! Go, my children, go and be miserhim with a nose-gay; and then they go toge- able and infamous—for my heart is broken ther to church, where they give good advice to within me!”—“Father,” cried my son, "is this young nymphs and swains to get married as fast your fortitude?”—“ Fortitude, child !--Yes, he as they can.

shall see I have fortitude-bring me my pistols “ And very good advice too,” cried I; -I'll pursue the traitor-while he is on earth, I am told there is not a place in the world where i'll pursue him !-Old as I am, he shall find i advice can be given with so much propriety as can sting him yet—the villain the perfidious there : for, as it persuades us to marry, it also villain !" I had' by this time reached down my furnishes us with a wife; and surely that must pistols, when my poor wife, whose passions were be an excellent market, my boy, where we are not so strong as mine, caught me in her arms. told what we want, and supplied with it when My dearest, dearest husband,” cried she, wanting."

“ the Bible is the only weapon that is fit for “ Yes, sir,” returned Moses, “and I know your old hands now. Open that, my love, and

i and

[ocr errors]

read our anguish into patience, for she has vile- offspring of guilt. Yes, the wretched creature
ly deceived us."-" Indeed, sir," resumed my shall be welcome to this heart and this house,
son, after a pause, “ your rage is too violent though stained with ten thousand vices. I wilí.
and unbecoming. You should be my mother's again hearken to the music of her voice, again
comforter, and you increase her pain. It ill. will I hang fondly on her bosom, if I find but re-
suited you and your reverend character, thus to pentance there.-My son, bring hither my Bible
curse your greatest enemy ;-you should not and my staff; I will pursue her, wherever she is;
have cursed him, villain as he is.”—“I did not and though I cannot save her from shame, Í
curse him, child, did I?”—“ Indeed, sir, you may prevent the continuance of her iniquity.”
did; you cursed him twice.”—" Then may
heaven forgive me and him if I did. And now,
my son, I see it was more than human benevo-

lence, that first taught us to bless our enemies:
-Blessed be his holy name for all the good he The pursuit of a Father to reclaim a lost Child to
hath given, and for all that he hath taken away!

But it is not-it is not a small distress that can
wring tears from these old eyes, that have not

Though the child could not describe the wept for so many years. My child—to undo gentleman's person who handed his sister into my darling! May confusion seize-Heaven for- the post-chaise, yet my suspicions fell entirely, give me ;-what am I about to say ?-You may upon our young landlord, whose character for remember, my love, how good she was, and how such intrigues was but too well known. I therecharming ; till this vile moment, all' her care fore directed my steps towards Thornhill Castle, was to make us happy. Had she but died- resolving to upbraid him, and, if possible, to But she is gone; the honour of our family is bring back my daughter ; but before I had contaminated, and I must look out for happi- reached his seat, I was met by one of my paness in other worlds than here. But, my child, rishioners, who said he saw a young lady reyou saw them go off ; perhaps he forced her sembling my daughter, in a post-chaise with a away. If he forced her, she may yet be inno- gentleman, whom, by the description, I could cent." Ah, no, sir,” cried the child; “he only guess to be Mr Burchell, and that they only kissed her, and called her his angel, and drove very fast. This information, however, she wept very much, and leaned upon his arm, did by no means satisfy me; I therefore went and they drove off very fast.”—“She's an un- to the young Squire's, and, though it was yet grateful creature,” cried my wife, who could early, insisted upon seeing him immediately. scarce speak for weeping, " to use us thus ; she He soon appeared with the most open familiar never had the least constraint put upon her af, air, and seemed perfectly amazed at my daughfections. The vile strumpet has basely deserted ter’s elopement, protesting upon his honour that her parents without any provocation—thus to he was quite a stranger to it. I now therefore bring your grey hairs to the grave, and I must condemned my former suspicions, and could shortly follow."

turn them only on Mr Burchell, who, I recolIn this manner that night, the first of our lected, had of late several private conferences real misfortunes, was spent in the bitterness of with her; but the appearance of another witness complaint, and ill-supported sallies of enthusi- left me no room to doubt of his villainy, who

I determined, however, to find out our averred that he and my daughter were actually betrayer, wherever he was, and reproach his gone towards the Wells, about thirty miles off, baseness. The next morning we missed our where there was a great deal of company. Being wretched child at breakfast, where she used to driven to that state of mind in which we are give life and cheerfulness to us all. My wife, more ready to act precipitately than to reason as before, attempted to ease her heart by re- right, I never debated with myself, whether proaches. “ Never,” cried she, “ shall that these accounts might not have been given by vilest stain of our family again darken these persons purposely placed in my way, to mislead harmless doors. I will never call her daughter me, but resolved to pursue my daughter and more. No! let the strumpet live with her vile her fancied deluder thither. I walked along seducer :-she may bring us to shame, but she with earnestness, and inquired of several by the shall never more deceive us."

way; but received no accounts, till entering th Wife,” said I, “ do not talk thus hardly; town I was met by a person on horseback, whom my detestation of her guilt is as great as yours; I remembered to have seen at the Squire's, and but ever shall this house and this heart be open he assured me, that if I followed them to the to a poor returning repentant sinner. The soon- races, which were but thirty miles farther, I er she returns from her transgression, the more might depend upon overtaking them; for he welcome shall she be to me. For the first time had seen them dance there the night before, and the very best may err; art may persuade, and the whole assembly seemed charmed with my novelty spread out its charms. The first fault daughter's performance. Early the next day Í is the child of simplicity ; but every other the walked forward to the races, and about four in


and re

the afternoon I came upon the course.

The ed at a distance like a waggon, which I was recompany made a very brilliant appearance, all solved to overtake; but when I came up with it earnestly employed in one pursuit, that of plea- found it to be a strolling company's cart, that sure: how different from mine, that of reclaim- was carrying their scenes and other theatrical ing a lost child to virtue! I thought I perceived furniture to the next village, where they were Mr Burchell at some distance from me ; but as to exhibit. if he dreaded an interview, upon my approach- The cart was attended only by the person who ing him, he mixed among a crowd, and I saw drove it, and one of the company; as the rest of him no more.

the players were to follow the ensuing day. I now reflected, that it would be to no pur. “ Good company upon the road,” says the propose to continue my pursuit further;

verb,“ is the shortest cut.” I therefore entersolved to return home to an innocent family, ed into conversation with the poor player; and who wanted my assistance. But the agitations as I once had some theatrical powers myself, I of my mind, and the fatigues I had undergone, descanted on such topics with my usual freedom; threw me into a fever, the symptoms of which but as I was but little acquainted with the preI perceived before I came off the course. This sent state of the stage, I demanded who were was another unexpected stroke, as I was more the present theatrical writers in vogue, who the than seventy miles distant from home: how. Drydens and Otways of the day?" I fancy, ever, I retired to a little ale-house, by the road, sir," cried the player, “ few of our modern draside; and in this place, the usual retreat of in- matists would think themselves much honour. digence and frugality, I laid me down patiently ed by being compared to the writers you mento wait the issue of my disorder. I languished tion. Dryden and Rowe's manner, sir, are quite here for near three weeks; but at last my con- out of fashion ; our taste has gone back a whole stitution prevailed, though I was unprovided century; Fletcher, Ben Jonson, and all the with money to defray the expenses of my enter- plays of Shakespeare, are the only things that go tainment. It is possible the anxiety from this down.”—“How !" cried I, " is it possible the last circumstance alone might have brought on present age can be pleased with that antiquated a relapse, had I not been supplied by a travel- dialect, that obsolete humour, those overcharler who stopped to take a cursory refreshment. ged characters, which abound in the works you This person was no other than the philanthropic mention?”—“Sir," returned my companion, bookseller in St Paul's Church-yard, who has “ the public think nothing about dialect or hu. written so many little books for children; he mour, or character; for that is none of their bucalled himself their friend: but he was the friend siness; they only go to be amused, and find of all mankind. He was no sooner alighted, but themselves happy when they can enjoy a pantohe was in haste to be gone ; for he was ever on mime, under the sanction of Jonson's or Shakebusiness of the utmost importance, and was at speare's name.”—“ So, then, I suppose," cried that time actually compiling materials for the I,“ that our modern dramatists are rather imihistory of one Mr Thomas Trip. I immediate- tators of Shakespeare than nature.”_" To say ly recollected this good-natured man's red pim- the truth,” returned my companion, “I don't pled face ; for he had published for me against know that they imitate any thing at all ; nor the Deuterogamists of the age; and from him I indeed does the public require it of them; it is borrowed a few pieces, to be paid at my return. not the composition of the piece, but the numLeaving the inn, therefore, as I was yet but ber of starts and attitudes that may be introweak, I resolved to return home by easy jour. duced, that elicits applause. I have known a piece neys of ten miles a-day.

with not one jest in the whole, shrugged into poMy health and usual tranquillity were almost pularity, and another saved by the poet's throwrestored, and I now condemned that pride which ing in a fit of the gripes. No, sir, the works of had made me refractory to the hand of correc- Congreve and Farquhar have too much wit in tion. Man little knows what calamities are be- them for the present taste ; our modern dialect yond his patience to bear, till he tries them. As is much more natural.” in ascending the heights of ambition, which By this time the equipage of the strolling look bright from below, every step we arise company was arrived at the village, which, it shews us some new and gloomy prospect of hid. seems, had been apprized of our approach, and den disappointment; so in our descent from the was come out to gaze at us; for my companion summits of pleasure, though the vale of misery observed that strollers always have more spectabelow may appear at first dark and gloomy, yet tors without doors than within. I did not conthe busy mind, still attentive to its own amuse- sider the impropriety of my being in such comment, finds, as we descend, something to flatter pany, till I saw a 'mob gather about me. I and to please. Still as we approach, the dark, therefore took shelter, as fast as possible, in the est objects appear to brighten, and the mental first ale-house that offered, and being shewn ineye becomes adapted to its gloomy situation. to the common room, was accosted by a very

I now proceeded forward, and had walked well-dressed gentleman, who demanded, wheabout two hours, when I perceived what appear. ther I was the real chaplain of the company, or

« AnteriorContinuar »