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peremptory refusal; for which we had nothing but sullen looks and short answers the whole day ensuing.
The FAMILY ENDEAVOURS TO COPE WITH THEIR BFTTERS.–THE MISERIES OF THE POOR. WHEN The Y ATTEMPT TO APPEAR ABOVE THEIR CIRCUMSTANCES.
I Now began to find, that all my long and painful lectures upon temperance, simplicity, and contentment, were entirely disregarded. The distinctions lately paid us by our betters awaked that pride which I had laid asleep, but not removed.—Our windows, again, as formerly, were filled with washes for the neck and face. The sun was dreaded as an enemy to the skin without doors, and the fire as a spoiler of the complexion within.—My wife observed that rising too early would hurt her daughters' eyes, that working after dinner would redden their noses, and she convinced me that the hands never looked so white as when they did nothing. Instead therefore of finishing George's shirts, we now had them new-modelling their old gauzes, or flourishing upon catgut. The poor Miss Flamboroughs, their former gay companions, were cast off as mean acquaintance, and the whole conversation ran upon high life and high-lived company, with pictures, taste, Shakspeare, and the musical glasses. But we could have borne all this, had not a fortune-telling gipsey come to raise us into perfect sublimity. The tawny sibyl no sooner appeared, than my girls came running to me for a shilling a-piece to cross her hand with silver. To say the truth I was tired of being always wise, and could not help gratifying their request, because I loved to see them happy. I gave each of them a shilling; though for the honour of the family it must be observed, that they never went without money themselves, as my wife always let them have a guinea each, to keep in their pockets, but with strict injunctions never to change it. After they had been closeted up with the fortune-teller for some time, I knew by their looks, upon their returning, that they had been promised something great—“Well, my girls, how have you sped? Tell me, Livy, has the fortune-teller given thee a pennyworth?”—“I protest, Papa,” says the girl, “I believe she deals with somebody that's not right; for she positively declared, that I am to be married to a "Squire in less than a twelvemonth "-" Well, now Sophy, my child,” said I, “and what sort of a husband are you to have 2" “Sir,” replied she, “I am to have a Lord soon after my sister has mar. ried the 'Squire.”—“How,” cried I, “is that all you are to have for your two shillings?
Only a Lord and a "Squire for two shillings s You fools, I could have promised you a Prince and a Nabob for half the money.” This curiosity of theirs, however, was attended with very serious effects: we now began to think ourselves designed by the stars to something exalted, and already anticipated our future grandeur. It has been a thousand times observed, and I must observe it once more, that the hours we pass with happy prospects in view, are more pleasing than those crowned with fruition. In the first case we cook the dish to our own appetite in the latter, nature cooks it for us. It is impossible to repeat the train of agreeable reveries we called up for our entertainment. We looked upon our fortunes as once more rising; and as the whole parish asserted that the "Squire was in love with my daughter, she was actually so with him; for they persuaded her into the passion. In this agreeable interval, my wife had the most lucky dreams in the world, which she took care to tell us every morning with great solemnity and exactness. It was one night a coffin and cross bones, the sign of an approaching wedding; at another time she imagined her daughter's pockets filled with farthings, a certain sign of their being shortly stuffed with gold. The girls themselves had their omens. They felt strange kisses on their lips; they saw rings in the candle, purses bounced from the fire, and true love-knots lurked in the bottom of every teacup. Towards the end of the week we received a card from the town ladies; in which, with their compliments, they hoped to see all our. family at church the Sunday following. All Saturday morning I could perceive, in consequence of this, my wife and daughters in close conference together, and now and then glancing at me with looks that betrayed a latent plot. To be sincere, I had strong suspicions that some absurd proposal was preparing for appearing with splendour the next day.—In the evening they began their operations in a very regular manner, and my wife undertook to conduct the siege. After tea, when I seemed in spirits, she began thus:—“I fancy, Charles, my dear, we shall have a great deal of good company at our church to-morrow.” —“Perhaps we may, my dear,” returned I, “though you need be under no uneasiness. about that, you shall have a sermon whether there be or not.”—“That is what I expect,” returned she ; “but I think, my dear, we ought to appear there as decently as possible, for who knows what may happen?” “Your precautions,” replied I, “are highly commendable. A decent behaviour and appearance in church is what charms me. We should be devout and humble, cheerful and serene.”— “Yes,” cried she, “I know that; but I mean we should go there in as proper a manner as possible; not along like the scrubs about
us.” “You are quite right, my dear,” returned I, “and I was going to make the very same proposal. The proper manner of going is, to go there as early as possible, to have time for meditation before the service begins.”—“Phoo, Charles,” interrupted she, “all that is very true; but not what I would be at. I mean, we should go there genteelly. You know the church is two miles off, and I protest I don't like to see my daughters trudging up to their pew all blowzed and red with walking, and looking for all the world as if they had been winners at a smock race. Now, my dear, my pool is this: there are our two plough orses, the colt that has been in our family these nine years, and his companion Blackberry, that has scarcely done an earthly thing for this month past. They are both grown fat and lazy. W. should not they do something as well as we? And let me tell you, when Moses has trimmed them a little, they will cut a very tolerable figure.” To this proposal I objected, that walking would be twenty times more genteel than such
a paltry conveyance, as Blackberry was wall-,
eyed, and the colt wanted the tail: that they had never been broke to the rein, but had a hundred vicious tricks: and that we had but one saddle and pillion in the whole house. All these objections, however, were over ruled; so that I was obliged to comply. The next morning I preceived them not a little busy in collecting such materials as might be necessary for the expedition; but, as I found it would be a business of time, I walked on to the church before, and they promised speedily to follow. I waited near an hour in the reading desk for their arrival; but not finding them come as expected, I was obliged to begin, and went through the service, not without some uneasiness at finding them absent. This was increased when all was finished, and no ap}...". of the family. I therefore walked ack by the horse-way, which was five miles round, though the foot-way was but two, and when got about half way home, perceived the procession marching slowly forwards towards the church ; my son, my wife, and the two little ones, exalted on one horse, and my two daughters upon the other. I demanded the cause of their delay; but I soon found by their looks they had met with a thousand misfortunes on the road. The horse had at first refused to move from the door, till Mr Burchell was kind enough to beat them forward for about two hundred yards with his cudgel. Next, the straps of my wife's pillion broke down, and they were obliged to stop to repair them before they could proceed. After that, one of the horses took into his head to stand still, and neither blows nor entreaties could prevail with him to proceed. He was just recovering from this dismal situation when I found them; but perceiving every thing safe, I own their present mortification did not much displease me, as it would give many opportu
Michael,MAs eve happening on the next day, we were invited to burn nuts and play tricks at neighbour Flamborough's. mortifications had humbled us a little, or it is probable we might have rejected such an invitation with contempt; however, we suffered ourselves to be happy. Our honest neighbour's goose and dumplings were fine, and the lamb's wool, even in the opinion of my wife, who was a connoisseur, was excellent. It is true, his manner of telling stories was not quite so well. They were very long, and very dull, and about himself, and we had laughed at them ten times before : however, we were kind enough to laugh at them once more.
Mr Burchell, who was of the party, was always fond of seeing some innocent amusement going forward, and set the boys and girls to blind man's buff. My wife too was persuaded to join in the diversion, and it gave me pleasure to think she was not yet too old. In the mean time, my neighbour and I looked on, laughed at every feat, and praised our own
dexterity when we were young, . Hot cockles
succeeded next, questions and commands fol
The two ladies had been at our house to see us, and finding us from home, came after us hither, as they were uneasy to know what accident could have kept us from church the day before. Olivia undertook to be our prolocutor, and delivered the whole in a summary way, only saying, “We were thrown from our horses.” At which account the ladies were greatly concerned ; but being told the family received no hurt, they were extremely glad : but being informed that we were almost killed by the fright, they were vastly sorry: but hearing that we had a very good might, they were extremely glad again. Nothing could exceed their complaisance to my daughters : their professions the last evening were warm, but now they were ardent. They protested a desire of having a more lasting acquaintance. Lady Blarney was particularly attached to Olivia; Miss Carolina Wil. helmina Amelia Skeggs (I love to give the whole name) took a greater fancy to her sister. They supported the conversation between themselves, while my daughters sat silent, admiring their exalted breeding. But as every reader, however beggarly himself, is fond of high-lived dialogues, with anecdotes of Lords, Ladies, and Knights of the Garter, I must beg leave to give him the concluding part of the present conversation. “All that I know of the matter,” cried Miss Skeggs, “is this, that it may be true, or it may not be true: but this I can assure your Ladyship, that the rout was in amaze; his Lordship turned all manner of colours, my Lady fell into a sound, but Sir Tomkyn,
drawing his sword, swore he was her’s to the
last drop of his blood.” “Well,” replied our peeress, “this I can say, that the Duchess never told me a syllable of the matter, and I believe her Grace would keep nothing a secret from me. This you may depend upon as fact, that the next day my Lord Duke cried out three times to his valet de chambre, Jernigan, Jernigan, Jernigan, bring me my garters.” But previously I should have mentioned the very impolite behaviour of Mr Burchell, who, during this discourse, sat with his face turned to the fire, and at the conclusion of every sentence would cry out fudge ; an expression which displeased us all, and in some measure damped the rising spirit of the conversation. “Besides, my dear Skeggs,” continued our Peeress, “there is nothing of this in the copy of verses that Dr Burdock made upon the occasion.”—Fudge 1 “I am surprised at that,” cried Miss Skeggs; “for he seldom leaves any thing out, as he writes only for his own amusement. But can your Ladyship favour me with a sight of them?” Fudge 1 “My dear creature,” replied our Peeress, "do you think I carry such things about me? Though they are very fine to be sure, and I think myself something of a judge; at least I
know what pleases myself. Indeed I was ever an admirer of all Dr Burdock's little pieces, for, except what he does, and our dear Coud. tess at Hanover-square, there's nothing comes out but the most lowest stuff in nature; not a bit of high life among them.”—Fudge 1 “Your Ladyship should except,” says tother, “your own things in the Lady's Magazine. I hope you'll say there's nothing low-lived there? But I suppose we are to have no more from that quarter 2"—Fudge 1 “Why, my dear,” says the Lady, “you know my reader and companion has left me, to be married to Captain Roach, and as my poor eyes won't suffer me to write myself, I have been for some time looking out for another. A proper person is no easy matter to find, and to be sure thirty pounds a-year is a small stipend for a well-bred girl of character, that can read, write, and behave in company: as for the chits about town, there is no bearing them about one.” Fudge 1 “That I know,” cried Miss Skeggs, “by experience. For of the three companions I had this last half-year, one of them refused to do plain-work an hour in a day; another thought twenty-five guineas a-year, too small a salary, and I was obliged to send away the third, because I suspected an intrigue with the chaplain. Virtue, my dear Lady Blarney, virtue is worth any price; but where is that to be found?” . Fudge / My wife had been for a long time all attention to this discourse; but was particularly struck with the latter part of it. Thirty pounds and twenty-five guineas a-year, made fifty-six pounds five shillings English money, all which was in a manner going a-begging, and might easily be secured in the family. She for a moment studied my looks for approbation; and, to own a truth, I was of opinion, that two such places would fit our two daughters exactly. Besides, if the Squire had any real affection for my eldest daughter, this would be the way to make her every way qualified for her fortune. My wife therefore was resolved that we should not be deprived of such advantages for want of assurance, and undertook to harangue for the family. “I hope,” cried she, “your Ladyships will pardon my present presumption. It is true, we have no right to pretend to such favours; but yet it is natural for me to wish putting my children forward in the world. And I will be bold to say my two girls have had a pretty good education and capacity, at least the country can't show better. They can read, write, and cast accounts; they understand their needle, broadstitch, cross and change, and all manner of plain-work; they can pink, point and frill, and know something of music; they can do up small clothes; work upon catgut ! my eldest can cut paper, and my youngest has a very pretty manner of telling fortunes upon the cards.” Fudge / When she had *i; this pretty piece of 2
eloquence, the two ladies looked at each other a few minutes in silence, with an air of doubt and importance. At last Miss Carolina Wilhelmina Amelia Skeggs condescended to observe, that the young ladies, from the opinion she could form of them from so slight an acquaintance, seemed very fit for such employments: “But a thing of this kind, madam.” cried she, addressing my spouse, “requires a thorough examination into characters, and a more perfect knowledge of each other. Not, madam,” continued she, “that I in the least suspect the young ladies' virtue, prudence, and discretion; but there is a form in these things, Madam, there is a form.” My wife approved her suspicions very much, observing that she was very apt to be suspicious herself; but referred her to all the neighbours for a character : but this our Peeress declined as unnecessary, alleging that her cousin Thornhill's recommendation would be sufficient, and upon this we rested our petition.
FORTUNE SEEMS RESOLVED TO HUMBLE THE FAMILY OF WAKE FIELD. MORTIFICATIONS ARE OFTEN MORE PAINFUL THAN REAL CALAMITIES.
WHEN we returned home, the night was dedicated to schemes of future conquest. Deborah exerted much sagacity in conjecturing which of the two girls was likely to have the best place, and most opportunities of seeing good company. The only obstacle to our preferment was in obtaining the Squire's recommendation; but he had already shown us too many instances of his friendship to doubt of it now. Even in bed my wife kept up the usual theme: “Well, faith, my dear Charles, between ourselves, I think we have made an excellent day's work of it.”—“Pretty well,” cried I, not knowing what to say.—“What only pretty well !” returned she. “I think it is very well. Suppose the girls should come to make acquaintances of taste in town This I am assured of, that London is the only place in the world for all manner of husbands. Besides, my dear, stranger things happen every day; and as ladies of quality are so taken with my daughters, what will not men of quality be 2—Intre nous, I protest I like my Lady Blarney vastly, so very obliging. However, Miss Carolina Wilhelmina Amelia Skeggs has my warm heart. But yet, when they came to talk of places in town, you saw at once how I nailed them. Tell me, my dear, don't you think I did for my children there?”—“Ay,” returned I, not knowing well what to think of the matter, “Heaven grant they may be both the better for it this day three months s” I his was one of those observations I usually
however, was only preparatory to another
scheme, and indeed I dreaded as much. This was nothing less than that, as we were now to hold up out heads a little higher in the world, it would be proper to sell the colt, which was grown old, at a neighbouring fair, and buy us a horse that would carry single or double upon an occasion, and make a pretty appearance at church, or upon a visit. This at first I opposed stoutly; but it was as stoutly defended. However, as I weakened, my antagonists gained strength, till at last it was resolved to part with him. As the fair happened on the following day, I had intentions of going myself; but my wife persuaded me that I had got a cold, and nothing could prevail upon her to permit me from home. “No, my dear,” said she, “our son Moses is a discreet boy, and can buy and sell to a very good advantage; you know all our great bargains are of his purchasing. He always stands out and higgles, and actually tires them till he gets a bargain.” As I had some opinion of my son's prūdence, I was willing enough to intrust him with his commission; and the next morning I perceived his sisters mighty busy in fitting out Moses for the fair; trimming his hair, brushing his buckles, and cocking his hat with pins. The business of the toilet being over, we had at last the satisfaction of seeing him mounted upon the colt, with a deal box before him to bring home groceries in. He had on a coat made of that cloth they called thunder and lightning, which, though grown too short, was much too good to be thrown away. His waistcoat was of gosling green, and his sisters had tied his hair with a broad black riband. We all followed him several paces from the door, bawling after him good luck, good luck, till we could see him no longer. He was scarcely gone, when Mr Thornhill's butler came to congratulate us upon our good fortune, saying, that he overheard his young master mention our names with great commeildation. Good fortune seemed resolved not to come alone. Another footman from the same family followed, with a card for my daughters, im: porting that the two ladies had received such pleasing accounts from Mr Thornhill of us all, that, after a few previous inquiries, they hoped to be perfectly satisfied. “Ay,” cried my wife, “I now see it is no easy matter to get into the families of the great; but when one once gets in, then, as Moses says, one may go to sleep.” To this piece of humour, for she intented it for wit, my daughters assented with a loud laugh of pleasure. In short, such was her satisfaction at this mestage, that she actually put her hand in her pocket, and gave the messenger sevenpence halfpenny. This was to be our visiting day. The next that came was Mr Burchell, who had been at the fair. He brought my little ones a penny. worth of gingerbread each, which my wife undertook to keep for them, and give them by letters at a time. . He brought my daughters also a couple of boxes, in which they might keep wafers, snuff, patches, or even money, when they got it. My wife was usually fond of a weasel-skin purse, as being the most lucky; but this by the bye. We had still a regard for Mr Burchell, though his late rude behaviour was in some measure displeasing; nor could we now avoid communicating our happiness to him, and asking his advice: although we seldom followed advice, we were all ready enough to ask it. When he read the note from the two ladies, he shook his head, and observed, that an affair of this sort demanded the utmost circumspection.—This air of diffidence highly displeased my wife. “I never doubted, Sir,” cried she, “your readiness to be against my daughters and me. You have more circumspection than is wanted. However, I fancy when we come to ask advice, we will apply to persons who seem to have made use of it themselves.”—“What. ever my own conduct may have been, Madam,” replied he, “is not the present question: though as I have made no use of advice myself, I should in conscience give it to those that will"—As I was apprehensive this an*Wer might draw on a repartee, making up by abuse what it wanted in wit, I changed the subject, by seeming to wonder what could keep our son so long at the fair, as it was now almost night-fall—“Never mind our son,” cried my wife, “depend upon it he knows what he is about. I'll warrant we'll never see him sell lishen of a rainy day. I have seen him buy such bargains as would amaze one. I'll tell You a good story about that, that will make . split your sides with laughing.—But as I "to yonder comes Moses, without a horse and the box at his back.” As she spoke Moses came slowly on foot, "sweating under the deal box, which he had ot round his shoulders like a pedlar.— Welcome, welcome, Moses : well, my boy, yo have you brought us from the fair?”. !have brought you myself," cried Moses, With a sly look, and resting the box on the dresser—“Ah, Moses,” cried my wife, “that We know; but where is the horse ?” “I have old him," cried Moses, for three pounds five *lings and twopence.”—“Well done, my $ood boy,” returned she; “I knew you would touch them off. Between ourselves, three Founds five shillings and twopence is no bad to: work. Come let us have it then.”—“I * brought back no money,” cried Moses again, “I have laid it all out on a bargain, *here it is," pulling out abundle from his
breast : “here they are; a gross of green spectacles, with silver rims and shagreen cases.”— “A gross of green spectacles " repeated my wife in a faint voice. “And you have parted with the colt, and brought us back nothing but a gross of green paltry spectacles ("—“Dear mother,” cried the boy, “why won't you listen to reason? I had them a dead bargain, or I should not have bought them. The silver rims alone will sell for double the money.”—“A fig for the silver rims,” cried my wife in a passion : “I dare swear they won't sell for above half the money at the rate of broken silver, five shillings an ounce.”—“You need be under no uneasiness,” cried I, “about selling the rims, for they are not worth sixpence; for I perceive they are only copper varnished over.” —“What,” cried my wife, “not silver ! the rims not silver!” “No,” cried I, “no more silver than your saucepan.”—“And so,” returned she, “we have parted with the colt, and have only got a gross of green spectacles, with copper rims and shagreen cases | A murrain take such trumpery. The blockhead has been imposed upon, and should have known his company better.”—“There, my dear,” cried I, “you are wrong, he should not have known them at all.”—“Marry, hang the idiot,” returned she, “to bring me such stuff; if I had them I would throw them in the fire.” “There again you are wrong, my dear,” cried I; “for though they be copper, we will keep them by us, as copper spectacles, you know, are better than nothing.” By this time the unfortunate Moses, was undeceived. He now saw that he had been imposed upon by a prowling sharper, who observing his figure, had marked him for an easy prey. I therefore asked the circumstance of his deception. He sold the horse, it seems, and walked the fair in search of another. A reverend looking man brought him to a tent, under a pretence of having one to sell. “Here,” continued Moses, “we met another man, very well dressed, who desired to borrow twenty pounds upon these, saying that he wanted money, and would dispose of them for a third of their value. The first gentleman, who pretended to be my friend, whispered me to buy them, and cautioned me not to let so good an offer pass. I sent for Mr Flamborough, and they talked him up as finely as they did me, and so at last we were persuaded to buy the two gross between us.”
MR BURCHELL Is FounD TO BE AN ENEMY ; FOR HE HAS THE CONFIDENCE TO GIVE DI3AGREEABLE ADVICE.
OUR family had now made several attempts to be fine; but some unforeseen disaster demolished each as soon as projected. I endea