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39. (S.) Residing at a solitary place, where the return of the butcher, and the delivery of parcels, letters, &c. is so irregular and uncertain, that you are obliged to get at all the necessaries of life by stratagem, or, at best, by accident.
40. (S.) When you are two or three hundred miles from London, at a period of great events,—your newspapers delayed from day to day, by accidents on the road; till, on their arrival at last, all their intelligence is musty.
41. (S.) While deeply, delightfully, and, as you hope, safely, engaged at home in the morning, after peremptory orders of denial to all comers whomsoever,-being suddenly surprised, through the treachery, or folly, of your servant, by an inroad from a party of the starched, stupid, cold, idle natives of a neighbouring country-town, who lay a formal siege, (by sap,) to your leisure, which they carry on for at least two hours, in almost total silence :
“ Nothing there is to come, and nothing past; But an eternal Now does ever last !”
During the last hour, they alternately tantalize and torment you, by seeming, but only seeming, to go, -which they are induced to do at last only by the approach of a fresh detachment of the enemy, whom they descry at your castle-gate, and to whose custody they commit you, while they pursue their own scouring incursions upon
peaceful inhabitants of the district.
Tes. Well, Sensitive, I must confess your last“ groan” is louder than any that has yet burst from either of us.
Sen. Liberally said, Sir; it is bad enough, to be sure; though your quagmire-scene runs it very close : a sufficient number, indeed, has been produced, on both sides, to silence the boldest of our enemies;---and yet this, as you say, is “ rural felicity!”—but stay, Sir; let us not triumph before a victory; they will tell us, I doubt not, that we have contemplated the Country but on one side :-we have pretty well established our main point, to be sure; viz. that country walks, rides, &c. &c. are not exactly the roads to earthly happinessnothing but the ghost of an ideot could think they are;—but they will, doubtless, exultingly produce a higher class of rural enjoyments,
under the names of Sports, Games, and Exercises; and if they should superadd the Domestic Amusements of retirement, they will consider the Country as completely set upon its legs again :- I propose, therefore, that we should devote a great part of the remaining period of our absence from the metropolis to a practical examination of as many of these expected pleas for the Country as may fall within our reach. We are, happily, each, tolerably skilled both in active and sedentary recreations; and by applying to them, for our present purpose, with unusual alacrity, we shall be competent judges of their real value in the scale of enjoyment.- Are you agreed?
Tes. Yes, yes; don't fear me :-Rogues ! they are ridden by prejudices !—but we will beat them, not only out of the field, but out of the house, too; and, in truth, I find myself so impatient to be at work, that I shall leave you without further ceremony.
DIALOGUE THE THIRD.
MISERIES OF GAMES, SPORTS, &c.; AND OF
DOMESTIC ARTS AND RECREATIONS.
Testy Senior and Junior.-Sensitive.
Well, Sir, we meet still more in heart, I trust, than we parted; as we have taken in a great part both of summer and winter for our Amusements, we shall hardly fail to find, on comparing notes, that our cause has realized a great deal of strength, both in and out of doors.
Sen. Yes, truly, my dear friend: I, for my part, have been sporting, and dancing, and singing, with tears in my eyes, ever since we parted; and have brought you a pocket full of pains, composed entirely of pleasures.
Tes. I will match you, depend upon 't: but you shall judge for yourself :-you may be prepared, indeed, for my first Groan, by my limping gait, and this bewitching swathe about my head; it is but three days since it happened, and thus it goes :--
GROAN 1. (T.) In skaiting-slipping in such a manner that your legs start off into this unaccommodating posture
from which, however, you are soon relieved, by tumbling forwards on your 'nose, or backwards on your skull.–Also, learning to cut the outside edge, on skaits that have no edge to cut with :ice very rugged.
2. (T.) Angling for twelve or fourteen hours, alone, without one bite, though perpetually tantalized with