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last time we played together; I only wanted to fling a quatre, and yet I threw deuce ace five times running.
Some months were elapsed in this manner, till at last it was thought convenient to fix a day for the nuptials of the young couple, who seemed earnestly to defire it. During the preparations for the wedding, I need not describe the bufy importance of my wife, nor the fly looks of my daughters : in fact, my attention was fixed on another object, the completing a tract which I intended shortly to publish in defence of my favourite principle. As I looked upon this as a master-piece both for argument and style, I could not in the pride' of my heart avoid Thewing it to my old friend Mr. Wilmot, as I made no doubt of receiving his approbation ; but not till too late I discovered that he was most violently attached to the contrary opinion, and with good reafon ; for he was at that time actually courting a fourth wife. This, as may be expected, produced a dispute attended with some acrimony, which threatened to interrupt our intended alliance; but on the day before that appointed for the ceremony, we agreed to discuss the subject at large.
It was managed with proper spirit on both sides ; he asserted that I was heterodox, I retorted the charge : he replied, and I rejoined. In the mean time, while the controversy was hottest, I was called out by one of my relations, who, with a face of concern, advised me to give up the dispute, at least till my son's wedding was over.
How, cried I, relinquish the cause of truth, and let him be an husband, already driven to the very verge of absurdity. You might as well advise me to give up my
fortune as my argument.' "Your fortune,' returned my friend, 'I am now sorry to inform you, is almost nothing. · The merchant in town, in whose hands your money was
• lodged, has gone off, to avoid a statute of bankruptcy, ' and is thought not to have left a shilling in the pound, 'I was unwilling to shock you or the family with the ac
count, till after the wedding; but now it may serve to ' moderate your warmth in the argument ; for, I suppose,
your own prudence will enforce the necessity of diffem* bling, at least till your son has the young lady's fortune * secure.'--'Well,' returned I, if what you tell me be
true, and if I am to be a beggar, it shall never make me ' a rascal, or induce me to disavow my principles. I'll go this moment, and inform the company of my circum
and as for the argument, I even here retract my ' former concessions in the old gentleman's favour, nor will 'I allow him now to be an husband in any sense of the expression.'
It would be endless to describe the different sensations of both families when I divulged the news of our misfortune; but what others felt was light to what the lovers appeared to endure. Mr. Wilmot, who seemed before sufficiently inclined to break off the match, was by this blow foon determined ; one virtue he had in perfection, which was prudence, too often the only that is left us at seventy-two.
A MIGRATION. THE FORTUNATE CIRCUMSTANCES
OF OUR LIVES ARE GENERALLY FOUND AT LAST TO BE OF OUR OWN PROCURING.
The only hope of our family now was, that the re
, port of our misfortunes might be malicious or premature : but a letter from my agent in town soon came with a confirmation of every particular. The loss of fortune to myself alone would have been trifling; the only uneasiness I felt was for my family, who were to be humble without an education to render them callous to contempt.
Near a fortnight had passed before I attempted to restrain their affliction : for premature consolation is but the remembrancer of sorrow. During this interval, my thoughts were employed on some future means of supporting them ; and at last a small cure of fifteen pounds a year was offered me in a distant neighbourhood, where I could still enjoy my principles without molestation. With this proposal I joyfully closed, having determined to increase my salary, by managing a little farm.
Having taken this resolution, my next care was to get together the wrecks of my fortune ; and all debts collected and paid, out of fourteen thousand pounds we had but four hundred remaining. My chief attention therefore was now to bring down the pride of my family to their circumstances ; for I well knew that aspiring beggary is wretchedness itself. “You cannot be ignorant, my children,' cried I, that no prudence of ours could have prevented our • late misfortune ; but prudence may do much in disap
pointing its effects. We are now poor, my fondlings, • and wisdom bids us to conform to our humble situation. • Let us then, without repining, give up those fplendours
with which numbers are wretched, and seek in humbler • circumstances that peace with which all may be happy. • The poor live pleasantly without our help, why then • should not we learn to live without theirs ? No, my
children, let us from this moment give up all pretensions to gentility; we have still enough left for happiness if we