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ness, which was already but too apparent. He taken a fancy to the cut of my face, all the ordered him at the same time to be gone, and recompense I can make is to give you ber from all his former domestics to choose one, fortune; and you may call upon my steward such as he should think proper, which was all to-morrow for five hundred pounds." Thus that should be granted to attend him.
we had all our compliments to repeat, and As soon as he left us, Sir William very Lady Thornhill underwent the same round of politely stept up to his new niece with a smile, cereinony that her sister had done before. In and wished ber joy. His example was follow the meantime, Sir William's gentleman aped by Miss Wilmot and her father. My wife peared to tell us that the equipages were ready too kissed her daughter with much affection ; to carry us to the inn, where every thing was as, to use her own expression, she was now prepared for our reception. My wife and I made an honest woman of. Sophia and Moses led the van, and left those gloomy mansions followed in turn, and even our benefactor Jen- of sorrow. The generous Baronet ordered kinson desired to be admitted to that honour. forty pounds to be distributed among the priOur satisfaction seemed scarcely capable of soners, and Mr Wilmot, induced by his exincrease. Sir William, whose greatest pleasure ample, gave balf that sum. We were received was in doing good, now looked round with a below by the shouts of the villagers, and I saw countenance open as the sun, and saw nothing and shook by the hand two or three of my but joy in the looks of all, except that of my honest parishioners, who were among the daughter Sophia, who, for some reasons we number. They attended us to our inn, where could not comprehend, did not seem perfect- a sumptuous entertainment was provided, and ly satisfied. “I think now,” cried he, with coarser provisions were distributed in great a smile, “that all the company except one or quantities among the populace. two seem perfectly happy. There only remains After supper, as my spirits were exhausted an act of justice for me to do. You are sen by the alternation of pleasure and pain which sible, Sir,” continued he, turning to me, “ of they had sustained during the day, I asked perthe obligations we both owe Mr Jenkinson, and mission to withdraw; and leaving the comit is but just that we should both reward him pany in the midst of their mirth, as soon as I for it. Miss Sophia will, I am sure, make found myself alone, I poured out my heart in him very happy, and he shall have from me gratitude to the Giver of joy as well as of five hundred pounds as her fortune: and upon sorrow, and then slept undisturbed till morning. this I am sure they can live very comfortably together. Come, Miss Sophia, what say you to this match of my making ? Will you have him?”—My poor girl seemed almost sinking
CHAPTER XXXII. into her mother's arms at the hideous proposal. -" Have him, Sir !” cried she faintly: Sir, never."-" What!” cried he again, “not have Mr Jenkinson your benefactor, a hand The next morning, as soon as I awaked, I some young fellow, with five hundred pounds, found my eldest son sitting by my bed-side, and good expectations ?”—
'-" I beg, Sir," re. who came to increase my joy with another turn turned she, scarcely able to speak, “ that you'll of fortune in my favour. First having releasdesist, and not make me so very wretched.” ed me from the settlement that I had made “ Was ever such obstinacy known ?” cried he the day before in his favour, he let me know again, “ to refuse a man whom the family has that my merchant, who had failed in town, such infinite obligations to, who has preserved was arrested at Antwerp, and there had given up your sister, and who has five hundred pounds! effects to a much greater amount than what was What, not have him !" :“ No, Sir, never,” re- į due to his creditors. My boy's generosity pleased plied 'she angrily; “ I'd sooner die first."- me almost as much as this unlooked-for good “ If that be the case then,” cried he, “ if you fortune; but I had some doubts whether I will not have him-I think I must have you ought in justice to accept his offer. While I myself.” And so saying, he caught her to was pondering upon this, Sir William entered his breast with ardour. My loveliest, my the room, to whom I communicated my doubts. most sensible of girls,” cried he,“ how could His opinion was, that as my son was already you ever think your own Burchell could de- possessed of a very affluent fortune by bis ceive you, or that Sir William Thornhill could marriage, I might accept his offer without any ever cease to admire a mistress that loved him hesitation. His business, however, was to infor himself alone ? I have for some years form me that as he had the night before sent sought for a woman, who, a stranger to my for the licenses, and expected them every hour, fortune, could think that I had merit as a man. he hoped that I would not refuse my assistance After having tried in vain, even amongst the in making all the company happy that morning. pert and the ugly, how great at last must be A footman entered while we were speaking, my rapture to have made a conquest over such to tell us that the messenger was returned ; sense and such heavenly beauty." Then and as I was by this time ready, I went down, turning to Jenkinson: “ As I cannot, Şir, where I found the whole company as merry as part with this young lady myself, for she has l affluence and innocence could 'make them,
However, as they were now preparing for a genteel entertainment, which was dressed by very solemn ceremony, their laughter entirely Mr Thornhill's cook. And it may not be displeased me. I told them of the grave, be- improper to observe, with respect to that gencoming, and sublime deportment they should tleman, that he now resides, in quality of assume upon this mystical occasion, and read' companion, at a relation's house, being very them two homilies, and a thesis of my own' well liked, and seldom sitting at the sidecomposing, in order to prepare them. Yet table, except when there is no
room at the they still seemed perfectly refractory and un- other; for they make no stranger of bim. governable. Even as we were going along His time is pretty much taken up in keeping to church, to which I led the way, all gravity his relation, who is a little melancholy, in had quite forsaken them, and I was often spirits, and in learning to blow the French tempted to turn back in indignation. In church horn. My eldest daughter, however, still rea new dilemma arose, which promised no members him with regret; and she has even easy solution. This was, which couple should told me, though I make a great secret of it
, be married first. My son's bride warmly in- that when he reforms she may be brought to sisted that lady Thornhill (that was to be) relent. But to return, for I am not apt to should take the lead; but this the other refus- digress thus; when we were to sit down to ed with equal ardour, protesting she would dinner our ceremonies were going to be renot be guilty of such rudeness for the world. newed. The question was, whether my eldest The argument was supported for some time be- daughter, as being a matron, should not sit tween both with equal obstinacy and good above the two young brides ; but the debate breeding. But as I stood all this time with was cut short by my son George, who proposmy book ready, I was at last quite tired of the ed that the company should sit indiscrimicontest; and shutting it, “I perceive,” cried nately, every gentleman by his lady. This was 1, “that none of you have a mind to be marri. received with great approbation by all, excepted, and I think we had as good go back again ; ing my wife, who, I could perceive, was not for I suppose there will be no business done perfectly satisfied, as she expected to have had here to-day.” This at once reduced them to the pleasure of sitting at the head of the
The Baronet and his lady were first table, and carving the meat for all the company. married, and then my son and his lovely part. But, notwithstanding this, it is impossible to
describe our good-humour. I can't say wheI had previously that morning given orders ther we had more wit among us now than usu. that a coach should be sent for my honest al; but I am certain we had more laughing, neighbour Flamborough and his family; by which answered the end as well. One jest I which means, upon our return to the inn, we particularly remember: old Mr Wilmot drinkhad the pleasure of finding the two Miss Flam- ing to Moses, whose head was turned another boroughs alighted before us. Mr Jenkinson way, my son replied, " Madam, I thank you.” gave his hand to the eldest, and my son Moses | Upon which the old gentleman, winking upon led up the other (and I have since found the rest of the company, observed, that he that he has taken a real liking to the girl, and was thinking of his mistress : at which jest I my consent and bounty he shall have, when thought the two Miss Flamboroughs would ever he thinks proper to demand them). We have died with laughing. As soon as dinner were no sooner returned to the inn, but num was over, according to my old custom, I rebers of my parishioners, hearing of my success, quested that the table might be taken away, to came to congratulate me; but among the rest have the pleasure of seeing all my family aswere those who rose to rescue me, and whom sembled once more by a cheerful fire-side. I formerly rebuked with such sharpness. I told My two little ones sat upon each knee, the the story to Sir William, my son-in-law, who rest of the company by their partners. I had went out and reproved them with great severity; nothing now on this side of the grave to wish but finding them quite disheartened by his harsh for ; all my cares were over ; my pleasure was reproof, he gave them half a guinea a piece to unspeakable. It now only remained, that my drink his health, and raise their dejected spirits. gratitude in good fortune should exceed my
Soon after this we were called to a very former submission in adversity.
INTO THE PRESENT STATE OF
the symptoms, to investigate the causes, and
direct to the remedies of the approaching deINTRODUCTION.
cay. This is a subject hitherto unattempted
in criticism,-- perhaps it is the only subject in It has been so long the practice to represent which criticism can be useful. literature as declining, that every renewal of How far the writer is equal to such an this complaint now comes with diminished in undertaking, the reader must determine : yet fluence. The public has been so often excited perhaps his observations may be just, though by a false alarm, that at present the nearer his manner of expressing them should only we approach the threatened period of decay, serve as an example of the errors he underthe more our security increases.
takes to reprove. It will now probably be said, that, taking Novelty, however, is not permitted to usurp the decay of genius for granted, as I do, ar- the place of reason; it may attend, but shall gues either resenta or partiality. The not conduct the inquiry. But it should be writer possessed of fame, it may be asserted, observed, that the more original any perforis willing to enjoy it without a rival, by les- mance is, the more it is liable to deviate ; for sening every cornpetitor: or, if unsuccessful, cautious stupidity is always in the right. he is desirous to turn upon others the contempt which is levelled at bimself; and being convicted at the bar of literary justice, hopes for pardon by accusing every brother of the same
CHAPTER II. profession.
Sensible of this, I am at loss where to find an apology for persisting to arraign the merit of the age; for joining in a cry which the judicious have long since left to be kept If we consider the revolutions which have up by the vulgar : and for adopting the senti- happened in the commonwealth of letters, ments of the multitude, in a performance that survey the rapid progress of learning in one at best can please only a few
period of antiquity, or its amazing decline in Complaints of degeneracy in literature, as another, we shall be almost induced to accuse well as in morals, I own, have been frequently nature of partiality; as if she had exhausted exhibited of late, but seem to be enforced all her efforts in adorning one age, while she more with the ardour of devious declamation left the succeeding entirely neglected. It is than the calmness of deliberate inquiry. The not to nature, however, but to ourselves alone, dullest critic, who strives at a reputation for that this partiality must be ascribed : the seeds delicacy, by showing he cannot be pleased, of excellence are sown in every age, and it is may pathetically, assure us, that our taste is wholly owing to a wrong direction in the pasupon the decline ; may consign every modern sions or pursuits of mankind, that they have performance to oblivion, and bequeath nothing not received the proper cultivation. to posterity, except the labours of our ances As in the best regulated societies, the very tors, or his own. Such general invective, laws which at tirst give the government solihowever, conveys no instruction ; all it teaches dity, may in the end contribute to its dissoluis, that the writer dislikes an age by which he tion, so the efforts which might have promoted is probably disregarded. The manner of being learning in its feeble commencement, may, if useful on the subject would be, to point out I continued, retard its progress. The paths of
THE CAUSES WHICH CONTRIBUTE TO THE DE
CLINE OF LEARNING.