Imatges de pÓgina

she could not avoid considering as perfectly just, was readily agreed to. She again renewed her most positive proinise of marrying Mr. Williams, in case of the otber's insensibility; and at the next opportunity, in Mr. Thornhill's presence, that day month was fixed upon for her nuptials with his rival.

Such vigorous proceedings seemed to redouble Mr. Thornhill's anxiety: but what Olivia really felt gave me some uneasiness. lo this struggle between prudence and passion, her vivacity quite forsvok her, and every opportunity of solitude was sought, and spent in tears. One week passed away; but Mr. Thornbill made no efforts to restrain her puptials. The succeeding week he was still assiduous; but not more open. On the third he discontinued his visits entirely, and instead of my daughter testifying any iinpatience, as I expected, she seemed to retain a pensive tranquillity, which I looked upon as resignation. For my own part, I was now sincerely pleased with thinking that my child was going to be secured in a continuance of competence and peace, and frequently applauded her resolution, in preferring happiness to ostentation.

It was within about four days of her intended nuptials, that my little family at night were gathered round a charming fire, telling stories of the past, and laying schemes for the future. Busied in forming a thousand projects, and laughing at wbatever folly came uppermost, “Well, Moses,” cried I, “we shall soon, my boy, have a wedding in the family; what is your opinion of matters and things iu general?” – “My opinion, father, is, that all things go on very well; and I was just now thinking, that when sister Livy is married to farmer Williams, we shall then have the loan of his cyder-press and brewing-tubs for nothing.”. “That we shall, Moses,” cried I, “and he will sing us Death and the Lady, to raise our spirits into the bargain.” “He has taught that song to our Dick," cried Moses, “and I think he goes through it very prettily." “Does he so?” cried I, “then let us have it: where 's little Dick? let him up with it boldly." “My brother Dick," cried Bill my youngest, “is just gone out with sister Livy; but Mr. Williams has taught me two songs, and I 'IL sing them for you , papa. Which song do you choose, the Dying Swan, or the Elegy on the Death of a Mad Dog?” “The


elegy, child, by all means," said I; “I never heard that yet; and Deborah, my life, grief you know is dry, let us have a bottle of the best gooseberry-wine, to keep up our spirits. I have wept so much at all sorts of elegies of late, that without an enlivening glass I am sure this will overcome me; and Sophy, love, take your guitar, and thrum in with the boy a little."


Good people all of every sort,

Give ear unto my song,
And if you find it wond'rous short,

It cannot hold you long.
In Islington there was a man,

Of whom the world might say,
That still a godly race he ran,

Whene'er he went to pray.
A kind and gentle heart he had,

To comfort friends and foes;
The naked every day he clad,

When he put on his clothes.
And in that town a dog was found,

many dogs there be,
Both mungrel, puppy, whelp, and hound,

And curs of low iegree.
This dog and man at first were friends;

But when a pique began,
The dog, to gain some private ends,

Went mad and bit the man.
Around from all the neighbouring streets

The wondering neighbours ran,
And swore the dog had lost his wits,

To bite so good a man,
The wound it seem'd both sore and sad

To every Christian eye;
And while they swore the dog was mad,

They swore the man would dio.
But soon a wonder came to light,

That shew'd the rogues they lied,
The man recover'd of the bite,
The dog it was that dy'd,

A very good boy, Bill, upon my word, and an elegy that may truly be called tragical. Come, my children, here 's Bill's health, and may be one day be a bishop.”

“With all my heart," cried my wife; “and if he but preaches as well as he sings, I make no doubt of him. The most of his family, by the mother's side, could sing a good song: it was a common saying in our country, that the family of the Blenkinsops could never look straight before them, nor the Huggiosons blow out a candle; that there were none of the Grograms but could sing a song, or of the Marjorams but could tell a story." “However that be,” cried I, “the most vulgar ballad of them all generally pleases me better than the ine modern odes, and things that petrify us in a singie stanza; productions that we at once detest and praise. Put the glass to your brother, Moses. The great fault of these elegiasts is, that they are in despair for griefs that give the sensible part of mankind very little pain. A lady loses her muff, her fan, or her lap-dog, and so the silly poel runs home to versify the disaster.”

“That may be the mode,” cried Moses, “in sublimer compositions; but the Ranelagh songs that come down to us are perfectly familiar, and all cast in the same mould: Colin meets Dolly, and they hold a dialogue together; he gives her a fairing to put in her hair, and she presents him with a nosegay; and then they go together to church, where they give good advice to young nymphs and swains to get married as fast as they can."

“And very good advice too,” cried I, “and I am told there is not a place in the world where advice can be given with so much propriety as there; for, as it persuades us to marry, it also furnishes us with a wife; and surely that must be an excellent market, my boy, where we are told what we want, and supplied with it when wanting."

“Yes, Sir," returned Moses, “and I know but of two such markets for wives in Europe, Ranelagh in England, and Fontarabia in Spain. The Spanish market is open once a year, but our English wives are saleable every night." “You are right, my boy," cried his mother,

“Old England Is the only place in the world for husbands to get wives.”

"And for wives to manage their husbands," interrupted I. “It is a proverb abroad, that if a bridge were built across the sea, all the ladies of the Continent would come over to take pattern from ours; for there are no such wives in Europe as our own. But let us have one bottle more, Deborah, my life, and Moses give us a good song. What thanks do we not owe to heaven for thus bestowing tranquillity, health, and competence. I think myself happier now than the greatest monarch upon earth. He has no such fire-side, nor such pleasant faces about it. Yes, Deborah, we are now growing old; but the evening of our life is likely to be happy. We are descended from ancestors that knew no stain, aud we shall leave a good and virtuous race of children behind us. While we live they will be our support and our pleasure here, and when we die, they will transmit our honour untainted to posterity. Come, my son, we wait for a song: Jet us have a chorus. But where is my darling Olivia? That little cherub's voice is always sweetest in the concert." Just as I spoke Dick came running in, "O papa, papa, she is

she is gone from us, my sister Livy is gone from us for ever!" “Gone, child!" "Yes, she is gone off with two gentlemen in a post-chaise, and one of them kissed her, and said he would die for her; and she cried very much, and was for coming back; but he persuaded her again, and she went into the chaise, and said, O what will my poor papa do when he knows I am undone!" “Now then," cried I,“ my children, go and be miserable; for we shall never enjoy one hour more. And 0 may heaven's everlasting fury light upon him and his! Thus to rob me of my child! And sure it will, for taking back my sweet innocent that I was leading up to heaven. Such siocerity as my child was possessed of! But all our earthly happiness is now over! Go, my children, go, and be miserable and infamous; for my heart is broken within me!" - “Father,” cried my son, “is this your fortitude?” “Fortitude, child! Yes, he shall see I have fortitude! Bring me my pistols. I'll pursue the traitor. While he is on earth I'll pursue him. Old as I am, he shall find I can sting him yet. The villain! The perfidious villain!”

I had by this time reached down my pistols, when my poor

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wife, whose passions were not so strong as mine, caught me in hier arms. “My dearest, dearest busband," cried she, “the Bible is the only weapon that is fit for your old hands now. Open that, my love, and read our anguish into patience, for she has vilely deceived us." “Indeed, Sir," resumed my son, after a pause, “your rage is too violent and unbecoming. You should be my mother's comforter, and you increase her pain. It ill suited you and your reverend character, thus to curse your greatest enemy: you should not have curst him, villain as he is." I did not curse him, child, did I?" “Indeed, Sir, you did; you curst him twice." “Then may heaven forgive me and him if I did. And now, my son, I see it was more than human benevolence that first taught us to bless our enemies ! Blest be his boly name for all the good he hath given, and for all that he hath taken away. But it is not a small distress that can wring tears from these old eyes, that have not wept for so many years. My child!

To undo my darling! May confusiou seize - Heaven forgive me, what am I about to say! You may remember, my love, how good she was. and how charming; till this vile moment all her care was to make us happy. Had she but died! But she is gone, the honour of our family contaminated, and I must look out for happiness iu other worlds than here. But, my child, you saw them go off: perhaps he forced her away? If he forced her, she may yet be innocent.". “Ah no, Sir!" cried the child; "he only kissed her, and called her his angel, and she wept very much, and leaned upon his arm, and they drove off very fast.”. “She's an ungrateful creature," cried my wife, who could scarcely speak for weeping, “to use us thus. She never had the least constraint put upon her affectious. The vile strumpet has basely deserted her parents without any provocation, thus to bring your grey hairs to the grave, and I must shortly follow."

In this manner that night, the first of our real misfortunes, was spent in the bitterness of complaint, and ill-supported sallies of enthusiasm. I determined, however, to find out her betrayer, wherever he was, and reproach his baseness. The next morning we missed our wretched child at breakfast, where sho used to give life and cheerfulness to us all. My wife, as before,

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