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The Distresses of a modest Man.
Y father was a farmer of no great property,

and with no other learning than what he had acquired at a charity-school; but my mother being dead, and I an only child, he determined to give me that advantage, which he fancied would have made him happy, vizi a learned education.—I was sent to a country grammar-school, and from thence to the University, with a view of qualifying for holy orders. Here, having but a small allowance from my father, and being naturally of a timid and bashful disposition, I had no opportunity of rubbing off that native aukwardness, which is the fatal cause of all my unhappiness, and which I now begin to fear can never be amended. You must know, that in my person I am tall and thin, with a fair complexion, and light flaxen hair; but of fuch extreme sufceptibility of shame, that, on the smallest subject of confusion, my blood all rushes into my cheeks, and I appear a full-blown rofe. The consciousness of this unhappy failing made me avoid society, and I became enamoured of a college life; particularly when I reflected, that the unicouth manners of my father's family were little calculated to improve my outward conduct: I therefore had resolved on living at the University and taking pupils, when two unexpected events greatly altered the posture of my affairs, viz. my father's death, and the arrival of an uncle from the Indies.


This uncle I had very rarely heard my father mention, and it was generally believed that he was long since dead, when he arrived in England only a week too late to close his brother's eyes. I am ashamed to confess, what I believe has been often experienced by those whose education has been better than their parents, that my poor father's ignorance and vulgar language

had often made me blush to think I was his fon; and at his death I was not inconsolable for the loss of that, which I was not unfrequently ashamed to own. My uncle was but little affected, for he had been separated from his brother more than thirty years, and in that time had acquired a fortune which, he used to brag, would make a Nabob happy; in short, he had brought over with him the enormous sum of thirty thousand pounds, and upon this he built his hopes of never-ending happiness.

While he was planning schemes of greatness and delight, whether the change of climate might affect him, or what other cause, I know not, but he was snatched from all his dreams of joy by a short illness, of which he died, leaving me heir to all his property. And now, Sir, behold me at the age of twenty-five, well stocked with Latin, Greek, and Mathematics, poflefled of an ample fortune, but fo aukward and unversed in every gentleman-like accomplishment, that I am pointed at by all who see me, as the wealthy learned fool.

I have lately purchased an estate in the country, which abounds in (what is called) a fashionable neighbourhood ; and when you reflect on my parentage and uncouth manner, you will hardly think how much my company is courted by the surrounding families, efpecially by those who have marriageable daughters : From thefe gentlemen I have received familiar calls, and the


most pressing invitations; and though I wished to accept their offered friendship, I have repeatedly excused myself under the pretence of not being quite fettled; for the truth is, that when I have rode or walked, with full intention to return their several visits, my heart has failed me as I approached their gates, and I have frequently returned homeward, resolving to try again tomorrow.

However, I at length determined to conquer my timidity, and, three days ago, accepted of an invitation to dine this day with one, whose open easy manner left me no room to doubt a cordial welcome. Sir THOMAS FRIENDLY, who lives about two miles distant, is a baronet, with about two thousand pounds a year estate, joining to that I purchased; he has two sons and five daughters, all grown up, and living with their mother and a maiden Efter of Sir Thomas's at Friendly-Hall, dependent on their father. Conscious of my unpolished gait, I have, for some time past, taken private leffons of a Profeffor, who teaches " grown gentlemen to dance;" and though I at first found wonderous difficulty in the art he taught, my knowledge of the mathematics was of prodigious use in teaching me the equilibrium of my body, and the due adjustment of the centre of gravity to the five positions. Having now acquired the art of walking without tottering, and learned to make a bow, I boldly ventured to obey the baronet's invitation to a family dinner; not doubting but my new acquirements would enable me to see the ladies with tolerable intrepidity : but, alas ! how vain are all the hopes of theory when unsupported by habitual practice! As I approached the house, a dinner-bell alarmed my fears, left I had spoiled the dinner for want of punctuality: impreffed with this idea, I blushed the deepest crimson, as my name was repeatedly announced by the several livery servants, who ushered me into the library, hardly knowing what or whom I saw: At my first entrance I summoned all my fortitude, and made my new-learned bow to Lady FRIENDLY, but, unfortunately, in bringing back


my left foot to the third pofition, I trod upon the gouty toe of poor Sir THOMAS, who had followed close at my heels to be the nomenclator of the family. The confusion this occasioned in me is hardly to be conceived, since none but bashful men can judge of my distress, and of that description the number I believe is very small. The Baronet's politeness by degrees diffipated my concern; and I was astonished to see how far good breeding could enable him to suppress his feelings, and to appear with perfect ease after fo painful an accident.

The cheerfulness of her Ladyship, and the familiar chat of the young ladies, insensibly led me to throw off my reserve and sheepishness, till at length I ventured to join in conversation, and even to start fresh subjects. The library being richly furnished with books in ele. gant bindings, I conceived Sir Thomas to be a man of literature, and ventured to give my opinion concerning the several editions of the Greek claflics, in which the Baronet's opinion exactly coincided with my own. To this subject I was led by observing an edition of Xenophon, in fixteen volumes, which (as I had never before heard of such a thing) greatly excited my curiosity, and I rose up to examine what it could be: Sir THOMAS saw what I was about, and, (as I suppose) willing to save me the trouble, rose to take down the book, which made me more eager to prevent him, and, haftily laying my hand on the first volume, I pulled it forcibly; but, lo ! instead of books, a board, which by leather and gilding had been made to look like fixteen volumes, came tumbling down, and unluckily pitched upon a Wedgewood ink-stand on the table under it. In vain did Sir THOMAS affure me there was no harm: I saw the ink streaming from an inlaid table on the Turkey carpet, and, scarce knowing what I did, attempted to ftop its progress with my cambric handkerchief. In the height of this confusion we were informed that dinner was served up, and I with joy perceived that the bell, which at first had so alarmed my fears, was only the half-hour dinner-bell.


In walking through the hall and suite of apartments to the dining-room, I had time to collect my scattered senses, and was desired to take my seat betwixt Lady FRIENDLY and her eldest daughter at the table. Since the fall of the wooden Xenophon my face had been continually burning like a fire-brand, and I was just beginning to recover myself, and to feel comfortably cool, when an unlooked-for accident rekindled all my heat and blushes. Having set my plate of soup too near the edge of the table, in bowing to Miss DINAH, who politely complimented the pattern of my waistcoat, I tumbled the whole scalding contents into my lap. In fpite of an immediate supply of napkins to wipe the surface of my cloaths, my black filk breeches were not stout enough to save me from the painful effects of this sudden fomentation, and for some minutes my legs and thighs seemed stewing in a boiling cauldron; but recollecting how Sir THOMAS had disguised his torture when I trod upon his toe, I firmly bore my pain in filence, and fat with my lower extremities parboiled, amidst the ftifled giggling of the ladies and the servants.

I will not relate the several blunders which I made during the first course, or the distress occasioned by my being desired to carve a fowl, or help to various dishes that stood near me, spilling a sauce-boat, and knocking down a salt-cellar ; rather let me haften to the second course, “where fresh disasters overwhelm’d me quite."

I had a piece of rich sweet pudding on my fork, when Miss Louisa FRIENDLY begged to trouble me for a pigeon that stood near me; in my hafte, scarce knowing what I did, I whipped the pudding into my mouth, hot as a burning coal; it was impossible to conceal my agony, my eyes were starting from their fockets. At last, in spite of shame and resolution, I was obliged to drop the caufe of torment on my plate. Sir THOMAS and the ladies all compassionated my misfortune, and each advised a different application ; one recommended oil, another water, but all agreed that wine was best for drawing out the fire; and a glass of sherry was brought


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