Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

reasons."-" Excuse me, madam," returned he, nor can you in the least say that I have constrained *they lie too deep for discovery (laying his hand you. But you must not suppose, my dear, that I apon his bosom); they remain buried, riveted here.” will ever be instrumental in suffering his honest

After he was gone, upon a general consultation, rival to be the dupe of your ill-placed passion. we could not tell what to make of these fine senti- Whatever time you require to bring your fancied ments. Olivia considered them as instances of the admirer to an explanation, shall be granted; but at most exalted passion; but I was not quite so san- the expiration of that term, if he is still regardless, guine: it seemed to me pretty plain, that they had I must absolutely insist that honest Mr. Williams more of love than matrimony in them: yet, what- shall. be rewarded for his fidelity. The character ever they might portend, it was resolved to prose- which I have hitherto supported in life demands cute the scheme of Farmer Williams, who, from this from me, and my tenderness as a parent shall my daughter's first appearance in the country, had never influence my integrity as a man. Name paid her his addresses.

then your day; let it be as distant as you think proper; and in the meantime, take care to let Mr.

Thornhill know the exact time on which I design

delivering you up to another. If he really loves CHAPTER XVII.

you, his own good sense will readily suggest that

there is but one method alone to prevent his losing Scarcely any virtue found to resist the power of long and pleasing Temptation.

you for ever.”—This proposal, which she could not

avoid considering as perfectly just, was readily As I only studied my child's real happiness, the agreed to. She again renewed her most positive assiduity of Mr. Williams pleased me, as he was promise of marrying Mr. Williams, in case of the in easy circumstances, prudent, and sincere. It other's insensibility; and at the next opportunity, required but very little encouragement to revive his in Mr. Thornhill's presence, that day month was former passion; so that in an evening or two he and fixed upon for her nuptials with his rival. Mr. Thornhill met at our house, and surveyed each Such vigorous procecdings seemed to redouble other for some time with looks of anger; but Wil- Mr. Thornbill's anxiety: but what Olivia really liams owed his landlord no rent, and little regarded felt gave me some uneasiness. In this struggle his indignation. Olivia, on her side, acted the co- between prudence and passion, her vivacity quite quette to perfection, if that might be called acting forsook her, and every opportunity of solitude was which was her real character, pretending to lavish sought and spent in tears. One week passed away; all her tenderness on her new lover. Mr. Thorn- but Mr. Thornhill made no efforts to restrain her hill appeared quite dejected at this preference, and nuptials. The succeeding week he was still assiwith a pensive air took leave, though I own it puz- duous; but not more open. On the third he diszled me to find him so much in pain as he appeared continued his visits entirely, and instead of my to be, when he had it in his power so easily to re- daughter testifying any impatience, as I expected, move the cause, by declaring an honourable pas. she seemed to retain a pensive tranquillity, which sion. But whatever uneasiness he seemed to en- I looked upon as resignation. For my own part, dure, it could easily be perceived that Olivia's an- I was now sincerely pleased with thinking that my guish was still greater. After any of these inter-child was going to be secured in a continuance of views between her lovers, of which there were se- competence and peace, and frequently applauded veral, she usually retired to solitude, and there in- her resolution, in preferring happiness to ostentadulged her grief. It was in such a situation I tion. found her one evening, after she had been for some It was within about four days of her intended time supporting a fictitious gaiety. “You now nuptials, that my little family at night were gathersee, my child," said I, “that your confidence in ed round a charming tire, telling stories of the past, Mr. Thornhill's passion was all a dream: he per- and laying schemes for the future; busied in formmits the rivalry of another, every way his inferior, ing a thousand projects, and laughing at whatever though he knows it lies in his power to secure you folly came uppermost. “Well, Moses,” cried I, to himself by a candid declaration.”—“Yes, papa," “ we shall soon, my boy, have a wedding in the returned she, "but he has his reasons for this de- family; what is your opinion of matters and things lay: I know he has. The sincerity of his looks in general?"-"My opinion, father, is, that all and words convinces me of his real esteem. Athings go on very well; and I was just now thinkshort time, I hope, will discover the generosity of ing, that when sister Livy is married to Farmer his sentiments, and convince you that my opinion Williams, we shall then have the loan of his cider of him has been more just than yours.”_" Olivia, press and brewing tubs for nothing."-"That we iny darling," returned I, "every scheme that has shall

, Moses,” cried I, and he will sing us Death been hitherto pursued to compel him to a declara- and the Lady, to raise our spirits, into the bargain." tion, has been proposed and planned by yourself “ He has taught that song to our Dick,” cried Mo

AN ELEGY ON THE DEATH OF A MAD DOG.

ses, “and I think he goes through it very prettily." | but preaches as well as he sings, I make no doubt
" Does he so?” cried I, “then let us have it: of him. The most of his family, by the mother's
where's little Dick? let him up with it boldly.”—- side, could sing a good song: it was a common sayo
“My brother Dick,” cried Bill, my youngest, "is ing in our country, that the family of the Blenkin-
just gone out with sister Livy; but Mr. Williams sops could never look straight before them, nor the
has taught me two songs, and I'll sing them for Hugginsons blow out a candle; that there were
you, papa. Which song do you choose, The dying none of the Grograms but could sing a song, or of
Swan, or the Elegy on the Death of a Mad Dog?" Marjorums but could tell a story."-"However
“The elegy, child, by all means," said I; “I never that be," cried I, “the most vulgar ballad of them
heard that yet; and Deborah, my life, grief you all generally pleases me better than the fine modern
know is dry, let us have a bottle of the best goose- odes, and things that petrify us in a single stanza;
berry-wine, to keep up our spirits. I have wept productions that we at once detest and praise. Put
so much at all sorts of elegies of late, that, without the glass to your brother, Moses. The great fault
an enlivening glass, I am sure this will overcome of these elegiasts is, that they are in despair for
me; and Sophy, love, take your guitar, and thrum griefs that give the sensible part of mankind very
in with the boy a little."

little pain. A lady loses her muff, her fan, or her
| lap dog, and so the silly poet runs home to versify

the disaster." Good people all, of every sort,

" That may be the mode," cried Moses, "in Give ear unto my song,

sublimer compositions; but the Ranelagh songs that And if you find it wondrous short,

come down to us are perfectly familiar, and all cast It can not hold you long.

in the same mould: Colin meets Dolly, and they

hold a dialogue together; he gives her a fairing to In Islington there was a man,

put in her hair, and she presents him with a noseOf whom the world might say,

gay; and then they go together to church, where That still a godly race he ran,

they give good advice to young nymphs and swains Whene'er he went to pray.

to get married as fast as they can.” A kind and gentle heart he had,

“And very good advice too,” cried I; "and I am To comfort friends and foes;

told there is not a place in the world where advice The naked every day he clad,

can be given with so much propriety as there ; for When he put on his clothes.

as it persuades us to marry, it also furnishes us with And in that town a dog was found,

a wife: and surely that must be an excellent market,

my boy, where we are told what we want, and sup
As many dogs there be,

plied with it when wanting."
Both mongrel, puppy, whelp and hound,
And curs of low degree.

“Yes, sir," returned Moses, "and I know but

of two such markets for wives in Europe, Ranelagh
This dog and man at first were friends; in England, and Fontarabia in Spain. The Span-
But when a pique began,

ish market is open once a-year; but our English
The dog, to gain some private ends, wives are saleable every night."
Went mad, and bit the man,

“You are right, my boy," cried his mother;
Around from all the neighbouring streets,

"Old England is the only place in the world for

husbands to get wives.”_"And for wives to manThe wondering neighbours ran,

age their husbands,” interrupted I. “It is a proAnd swore the dog had lost his wits,

verb abroad, that if a bridge were built across the To bite so good a man.

sea, all the ladies of the continent would come over The wound it seem'd both sore and sad to take pattern from ours; for there are no such To every christian eye;

wives in Europe as our own.

But let us have ono
And while they swore the dog was mad, bottle more, Deborah, my life; and Moses, give us
They swore the man would die.

a good song. What thanks do we not owe to
But soon a wonder came to light,

Heaven for thus bestowing tranquillity, health, and
That show'd the rogues they lied, -

competence, I think myself happier now than the
The man recover'd of the bite,

greatest monarch upon earth. He has no such The dog it was that died.

fire-side, nor such pleasant faces about it. Yes,

Debesh, we are now growing old; but the evening “A very good boy, Bill, upon my worl, and an of our life is likely to be happy. We are descendelegy that may truly be called tragical. Come, my ed from ancestors that knew no stain, and we shall children, here's Bill's health, and may he one day leave a good and virtuous race of children behind be a bishop!"

us. While we live, they will be our support and our “ With all my heart," cried my wife; "and if he pleasure here; and when we die, they will transmit

[ocr errors]

our honour untainted to posterity. Come, my she may yet be innocent.”—“Ah no, sir," cried son, we wait for a song: let us have a chorus. But the child; "he only kissed her, and called her his where is my darling Olivia? That little cherub's angel

, and she wept very much, and leaned upon Foice is always sweetest in the concert.”—Just as his arm, and they drove off very fast.”—“ "She's an I spoke, Dick came running in, “O papa, papa, ungrateful creature,” cried my wife, who could she is gone from us, she is gone from us; my sister scarcely speak for weeping, "to use us thus. She Livy is gone froin us for ever.”—“Gone, child!" never had the least constraint put upon her affec“Yes, she is gone off with two gentlemen in a post-tions. The vile strumpet has basely deserted her chaise, and one of them kissed her, and said he parents without any provocation--thus to bring would die for her: and she cried very much, and your gray hairs to the grave, and I must shortly was for coming back; but he persuaded her again, follow.” and she went into the chaisc, and said, O what In this manner that night, the first of our real will my poor papa do when he knows Iam undone!" misfortunes, was spent in the bitterness of com"Now then," cried L “my children, go and be plaint, and ill-supported sallies of enthusiasm. I miserable ; for we shall never enjoy one hour more determined, however, to find out our betrayer, And O may Heaven's cverlasting fury light upon wherever he was, and reproach his baseness. The him and his!—Thus to rob me of my child !—And next morning we missed our wretched child at sure it will, for taking back my sweet innocent that breakfast, where she used to give life and cheerful. I was leading up to Heaven. Such sincerity as ness to us all. My wife, as before, attempted to my child was possessed of!—But all our earthly ease her heart by reproaches. “Never,” cried she, happiness is now over! Go, my children, go and "shall that vilest stain of our family again darken be miserable and infamous; for my heart is broken these harmless doors, I will never call her daughwithin me !"_" Father," cried my son, “is this ter more. No, let the strumpet live with her vile your fortitude ?”—“Fortitude, child! Yes, he seducer: she may bring us to shame, but she shall shall see I have fortitude! Bring me my pistols. never more deceive us." I'll pursue the traitor: while he is on earth I'll "Wife," said I, "do not talk thus hardly: my pursue him. Old as I am, he shall find I can sting detestation of her guilt is as great as yours; but him yet. The villain! The perfidious villain!" ever shall this house and this heart be open to a I had by this time reached down my pistols, when poor returning repentant sinner. The sooner sho my poor wife, whose passions were not so strong returns from her transgression, the more welcomo as mine, caught me in her arms. “My dearest, shall she be to me. For the first time the very dearest husband,” cried she, “the Bible is the only best may err; art may persuade, and novelty spread weapon that is fit for your old hands now. Open out its charm. The first fault is the child of simthat, my love, and read our anguish into patience, plicity, but every other the offspring of guilt. Yes, for she has vilely deceived us.”—“Indeed, sir," re- the wretched creature shall be welcome to this heart sumed my son, after a pause, “your rage is too vio- and this house, though stained with ten thousand lent and unbecoming. You should be my mother's vices. I will again hearken to the music of her

comforter, and you increase her pain. It ill suited voice, again will I hang fondly on her bosom, if I ! you and your reverend character, thus to curse find but repentance there. My son, bring hither

your greatest enemy: you should not have cursed my Bible and my staff: I will pursue her, wherever him, villain as he is.”—“I did not curse him, child, she is ; and though I can not save her from shame, did I?"_" Indeed, sir, you did; you cursed him I may prevent the continuance of iniquity.” twice.”_" Then may Heaven forgive me and him if I did! And now, my son, 1 see it was more than human benevolence that first taught us to

CHAPTER XVIII. bless our enemies! Blessed be his holy name for all the good he hath given, and for all that he hath The Pursuit of a father to reclaim a lost Child to Virtue. taken away. But it is not-it is not a small distress that can wring tears from these old eyes, that Though the child could not describe the gentlebave not wept for ko many years. My child !- man's person who handed his sister into the postTo undo my darling |--May confusion seize chaise, yet my suspicions fell entirely upon our Heaven forgive me, what am I about to say !_You young landlord, whose character for such intrigues may remember, my love, how good she was, and was but too well known. I therefore directed my how charming; till this vile moment, all her care steps towards Thornhill-castle, resolving to upbraid was to make us happy. Had she but died !—But him, and, if possible, to bring back my daughter : she is gone, the honour of our family contaminated, but before I had reached his seat, I was met by ono and I must look out for happiness in other worlds of my parishioners, who said he saw a young lady, than here. But, my child, you saw them go off: resembling my daughter, in a post-chaise with a perhaps he forced her away? If he forced her, I gentleman, whom, by the description, I could only guess to be Mr. Burchell, and that they drove very than the philanthropic bookseller in St. Paul's fast. This information, however, did by no means Church-yard, who has written so many little books satisfy me. I therefore went to the young 'Squire's, for children: he called himself their friend; but he And though it was yet early, insisted upon seeing was the friend of all mankind. He was no sooner tim immediately. He soon appeared with the alighted, but he was in haste to be gone; for he most open familiar air, and seemed perfectly ama- was ever on business of the utmost importance, and zed at my daughter's elopement, protesting upon was at that time actually compiling materials for his honour that he was quite a stranger to it. I the history of one Mr. Thomas Trip. I immedi. now therefore condemned my former suspicions, ately recollected this good-natured man's red pimand could turn them only on Mr. Burchell, who I pled face; for he had published for me against tho recollected had of late several private conferences Deuterogamists of the age, and from him I borwith her: but the appearance of another witness rowed a few pieces, to be paid at my return. Leaving left me no room to doubt his villany, who averred, the inn, therefore, as I was yet but weak, I resolved that he and my daughter were actually gone towards to return home by easy journeys of ten miles a-day. the Wells, about thirty miles off, where there was My health and usual tranquillity were almost rea great deal of company. Being driven to that stored, and I now condemned that pride which had state of mind in which we are more ready to act made me refractory to the hand of correction. precipitately than to reason right, I never debated Man little knows what calamities are beyond his with myself, whether these accounts might not have patience to bear, till he tries them: as in ascending been given by persons purposely placed in my way the heights of ambition, which look bright from to mislead me, but resolved to pursue my daughter below, every step we rise shows us some new and and her fancied deluder thither. I walked along gloomy prospect of hidden disappointment; so in with earnestness, and inquired of several by the our descent from the summits of pleasure, though way; but received no accounts, till, entering the the vale of misery below may appear at first dark town, I was met by a person on horseback, whom and gloomy, yet the busy mind, still attentive to its I remembered to have seen at the 'Squire's, and he own amusement, finds, as we descend, something assured me, that if I followed them to the races, to flatter and to please. Still, as we approach, the which were but thirty miles farther, I might depend darkest objects appear to brighten, and the mental upon overtaking them; for he had seen them dance eye becomes adapted to its gloomy situation. there the night before, and the whole assembly I now proceeded forward, and had walked about seemed charmed with my daughter's performance. two hours, when I perceived what appeared at a Early the next day, I walked forward to the races, distance like a wagon, which I was resolved to and about four in the afternoon I came upon the overtake; but when I came up with it, found it to course. The company made a very brilliant ap- be a strolling company's cart, that was carrying their pearance, all earnestly employed in one pursuit, scenes and other theatrical furniture to the next vitthat of pleasure: how different from mine, that of lage, where they were to exhibit. The cart was reclaiming a lost child to virtue! I thought I per-attended only by the person who drove it, and one ceived Mr. Burchell at some distance from me; but, of the company, as the rest of the players were to as if he dreaded an interview, upon my approach- follow the ensuing day. “Good company upon tho ing him, he mixed among a crowd, and I saw him road,” says the proverb, “is the shortest cut.” 1 no more. I now reflected that it would be to no therefore entered into conversation with the poor purpose to continue my pursuit farther, and resolved player; and as I once had some theatrical powers to return home to an innocent family, who wanted myself, I disserted on such topics with my usual my assistance. But the agitations of my mind, freedom: but as I was pretty much unacquainted and the fatigues I had undergone, threw me into a with the present state of the stage, I demanded who fever, the symptoms of which I perceived before I were the present theatrical writers in vogue, who came off the course. This was another unexpected the Drydens and Otways of the day ?—"I fancy, stroke, as I was more than seventy miles distantsir,” cried the player, “few of our molern dra. from home : however, I retired to a little ale-house matists would think themselves much honoured by by the road-side, and in this place, the usual retreat being compared to the writers you mention. Dry. of indigence and frugality, I laid me down patiently den's and Rowe's manner, sir, are quite out of to wait the issue of my disorder. I languished here fashion ; our taste has gone back a whole century; for nearly three weeks; but at last my constitution Fletcher, Ben Jonson, and all the plays of Shaksprevailed, though I was unprovided with money to peare, are the only things that go down."-"How," defray the expenses of my entertainment. It is cried I, “is it possible the present age can be pleased possible the anxiety from this last circumstance with that antiquated dialect, that obsolete humour, alone might have brought on a relapse, had I not those overcharged characters, which abound in the been supplied by a traveller, who stopped to take a works you mention ?"_"Sir," returned my comcursory refreshment. This person was no other panion, “the public think nothing about dialect, we humour, or character, for that is none of their bu- perfectly in luck. Our entertainer soon return. siness; they only go to be amused, and find them- ed; an elegant supper was brought in, two or selves happy when they can enjoy a pantomime, three ladies in easy dishabille were introduced, under the sanction of Jonson's or Shakspeare's and the conversation began with some sprightlikame.”—“So then, I suppose," cried I, “that our ness. Politics, however, was the subject on which modern dramatists are rather imitators of Shaks- our entertainer chiefly expatiated; for be asserted peare than of nature."-"To say the truth,” re- that liberty was at once his boast and his terror. turned my companion, “I don't know that they After the cloth was removed, he asked me if I had imitate any thing at all; nor indeed does the pub- seen the last Monitor? to which replying in the fic require it of them: it is not the composition of negative, “What, nor the Auditor, I suppose?" the piece, but the number of starts and attitudes cried he. “Neither, sir,” returned I. "That's that may be introluced into it, that elicits applause. stranee, very strange,” replied my entertainer. I have known a piece, with not one jest in the "Now I read all the politics that come out. The whole, shrugged into popularity, and another saved Daily, the Public, the Ledger, the Chronicle, the by the poet's throwing in a fit of the gripes. No, London Evening, the Whitehall Evening, the sevsir, the works of Congreve and Farquhar have too enteen Magazines, and the two Reviews; and much wit in them for the present taste; our modern though they hate each other, I love them all. Libdialect is much more natural.”

erty, sir, liberty is the Briton's boast, and by all my By this time the equipage of the strolling com-coal-mines in Cornwall, I reverence its guardians.” pany was arrived at the village, which, it seems —"Then it is to be hoped,” cried I, “ you revehad been apprized of our approach, and was come rence the king.”—“Yes,” returned my entertainer, out to gaze at us: for my companion observed, that " when he does what we would have him; but if strollers always have more spectators without doors he goes on as he has done of late, I'll never trouble than within. I did not consider the impropriety of myself more with his matters. I say nothing. I my being in such company, till I saw a mov gather think, only, I could have directed some things better. about me. I therefore took shelter, as fast as pos- I don't think there has been a sufficient number of sible, in the first ale-house that offered, and being advisers : he should advise with every person wilshown into the common room, was accosted by a ling to give him advice, and then we should have very well dressed gentleman, who demanded whe-things done in another guess manner.” ther I was the real chaplain of the company, or “I wish," cried I, "that such intruding advisers whether it was only to be my masquerade charac- were fixed in the pillory. It should be the duty ter in the play. Upon my informing him of the of honest men to assist the weaker side of our contruth, and that I did not belong in any sort to the stitution, that sacred power which has for some company, he was condescending enough to desire years been every day declining, and losing its due me and the player to partake in a bowl of punch, share of influence in the state. But these igno over which he discussed modern politics with great rants still continue the same cry of liberty; and if earnestness and interest, I set him down in my they have any weight, basely throw it into the subown mind for nothing less than a parliament-man siding scale." at least ; but was almost confirmed in my conjec. “How," cried one of the ladies, "do I live to ser tures, when, upon asking what there was in the one so base, so sordid, as to be an enemy to liberty, house for supper, he insisted that the player and I and a defender of tyrants? Liberty, that sacred should sup with him at his house; with which re- gift of Heaven, that glorious privilege of Britons ?" quest, after some entreaties, we were prevailed on “Can it be possible," cried our entertainer, "that to comply.

there should be any found at present advocates for slavery? Any who are for meanly giving up the

privilege of Britons? Can any, sir, be so abject ?" CHAPTER XIX.

“No, sir,” replied I, “ I am for liberty, that at

tribute of God! Glorious liberty! that theme of The description of a Person discontented with the present modern declamation. I would have all men kings. Government and apprehensive of the loss of our Liberties. I would be a king myself. We have all naturally

The house where we were to be entertained an equal right to the throne: we are all originally lying at a small distance from the village, our in- equal. This is my opinion, and was once the viter observed, that as the coach was not ready, he opinion of a set of honest men who were called would conduct us on foot; and we soon arrived at Levellers. They tried to erect themselves into one of the most magnificent mansions I had seen a community where all would be equally free. But in that part of the country. The apartment into alas! it would never answer; for there were some which we were shown was perfectly elegant and among them stronger, and some more cunning than modern: he went to give orders for supper, while others, and these became masters of the rest ; for the player with a wink, observed that we were las sure as your groom rides your horses, because he

« AnteriorContinuar »