Page images

worth was married, much against the farmer's inclination, to William Frolic : and as might be expected, many were the calamities which resulted from this unhappy match.

After a considerable time had elapsed, the farmer went down one Monday morning to Mr. Lovegood's, with the following story :

Far. 0 Sir! I hope you will excuse me, I am come to tell you of my fresh troubles, if you have not heard of them before : Sam Blood, Ned Sparkish, and iny son-in-law, William Frolic, are all cast for death, and left for execution on Saturday next.--I think my poor daughter will break her heart.

Loveg. I feel for you exceedingly, but I heard of that news before from Mr. Worthy, who called here about half an hour ago, and I was just coming to give you a visit on this very trying event.

Far. Dh Sir! what can be done ? my poor wife is almost in as much trouble as my daughter, for though at first, she was quite as much against the match as I could be, but when he made ever so many vows and promises that he would reform, she began to give way, and she now blames herself, that she was not more resolute against it.

Loveg. Ah Mr. Littleworth! we have very little reason to hope for the reformation of manners, without the renovation of the heart.

Far. Aye aye, Sir, I know that is very true-But what can be done? if he could only be saved from the gallows, that is all I want. He is such a wicked, wild blade, that I should not at all care if he were to be transported to Botany Bay for life, if it were only that he might be banished from his wicked companions,

Loveg. Sir, hail wc not better walk to the Hall, and consult with Mr. Worthy on this unhappy occasion ?

Far. If the 'Squire should not think us intrading, I should be very glad if his honour would but suffer us to trespass a little on his time, that ve may have some of his good advice.

Loves. We all know how willing he is to give his Rind counsel on every needed occasion-Come Sir, let (18 go directly.

Mrs. Looeg. Oh my dear! you must not go to Mr. Worthy's in that shabby hat and coat. [To the maid. Nelly, step up stairs, and bring down your Master's other cuat and waistcoat, and his best hat.

Loveg. Never mind my dear, Mr. Worthy won't be offended at my old coat; no man more easily dispenses with the formalities of dress.

Mrs, Loveg. But you know, Sir Thomas and Lady Friend are there, and I should be ashamed to see you go out of the house, without something better to appear in before such company.

[Mr. Lovegood submits, and is properly equipped. The Farmer and he are introduced into the library; where Mr. Worthy and Sir Thomas were in conversation over some new-invented models, for the improvement of husbandry.]

Looeg. Sir, I am afraid we interrupt you, but we wait upon you for your advice, respecting the distressing situation of Mr. Littleworth's family.--His wife and daughter are almost broken-hearted.

Wor. Come in ; sit down : Sir Thomas and I weré, only talking over this new-invented threshing machine, and some other improvements in husbandry ; but we will lay that aside, and shall be ready to give you our best advice. I have already told Sir Thomas, some of the circumstances of this unhappy event.

Sir Thos. Yes Sir, but I don't know many of the particulars.

Loveg. We are ready to furnish you Sir, with the best information in our power, and what are the designs of our present application.-Perhaps Sir, we. may be favoured with your assistance, as you are so

well known in the county, on my distressed friends behalf.

Far. O Sir! if your honour could but lend your aid with our worthy 'Squire, to save my poor son-inlaw from the gallows, that is all I want. I confess he is unfit to live, but I am sure he is very unfit to die.

Sir Thos. How came the youth in this unhappy situation ?- What are his connexions? It is much to be lamented that your daughter made such an unfortunate choice.

Far. Ah Sir! I did all in my power to thwart the match; and so did my wife too at the first ; but some. how, at last, he contrived to get on her blind side, as we say, by making such promises and vows, how he would mend his manners, and reform his life, if we would but consent to the match. And then there was a little money in the case; for old master Frolic, of the Nag's head, who has always been fond of entertaining his customers, out of a set of low vulgar joke books, used to get a number of them together, and has been making himself rich by the ruination of half the Parish; for his house was never clear from a set of tipplers, and dram-drinkers, of all sorts and sizes. And then he used to tell us what famous expectations he had from an old miserly rich uncle who lived in our Town, provided he did but reform.

Loveg. I can assure you Sir Thomas, no sort of blame rests on Mr. Littleworth on that score; for he always suspected the fallacy of the young man's resolutions and pretensions to reformation : but the young woman's foolish fondness for the unhappy rake, carried all before it, while my good old friend always disliked the man, and his connexions, as bad as his occupation.

Far. Why your honour, what could be expected from a wicked, wild young chap, who was acquainted with all the rakes up and down the country, far and wide; while his father's house was the main place of their resort ! and though my dear Harry was once almost as bad, yet there is no trusting any one till they are converted by the grace of God, as I am sure he is,-the Lord be praised.

Sir Thos. Yes, my respectable neighbour, Dr. Orderly was telling me what a wonderful reformation had taken place on your son.

It is a pity the young man could not have been persuaded to fortify his purposes of amendment with stronger resolutions, after his marriage.

Loveg. Ah Sir! the worthy Doctor and I, havé had many a long conversation on that subject, but our firmest resolutions are sure to fail, while corrupted nature prevails. Good can never stand, while it has nothing but an evil heart for its foundation.

far. Aye, in my wicked days, I was a wonderful great resolution-maker, but I no sooner made them, than I was sure to break them; yet this makes me pity the poor youth to the bottom of my heart, though by his wicked ways, especially since his father's death, he has been the ruination of his mother, my daughter, and himself.

Sir Thos. What, then is his poor father lately dead ?

Far. Oh yes, Sir, he died about two months after my daughter was married to his son, he was desperate ill about that time; and though he was one of the most wicked, romancing fellows in the Parish, and kept up a deal of merryment in his house to entertain his customers ; yet when he came to dic, he had a conceivance that his son would ruin his family by his wicked, wild ways, and would oftentimes talk to him very gravely, about reforming his manners, but it was more out of fear lest he should spend all his money, than any thing else; and that made him so mighty desirous that he should marry my daughter, that he might get into a sober family, as he called it, though he had drunk himself into a dropsy, by tippling with every body who came into his house.

Sir Thos. The father then was not such an extravagánt spendtlırift as his son.

Far. Oh no, bis main delight was to get all the custom he could : he did not care who was ruined by their drunken ways at his house, if he could but make himself rich, through their wickedness and folly.

Sir Thos. The existence of such houses is a very great evil. They are the ruin of thousands.

Wor. You should have said, of tens of thousands If however, I could but reach them, they should not fong exist; but as almost all the Town of Mapletonis under the influence of Lord Rakish, there is no doing any good in that place; what I attempt to suppress, that he is sure to support. Our own Village and neighbourhood is kept in tolerable order, and it grieves me that I can proceed no further.

Sir Thos. Well, and I have attempted to persuade my worthy friend Doctor Orderly, to act with me as a Magistrate; but his objection always was, that he should only perplex his mind, and, after all, be able to do little or no good : for that there are two or thred of the Clergy, who are by no means like the Doctor, and they are entirely under the management of some of the gentry in the neighbourhood, who are in the commission, and who are quite loose and careless, and mind nothing but their sports; and no good can be expected, while it rests with bad people, to correct the bad manners of others, especially when the Clersy degrade themselves, by submitting to be the dupes of the profligate among the great: but as the old man was so very anxious that his son might reform, I hope before he died, he reformed himself.

Far. Ah Sir! we make a bad hand of it when we reform ourselves. There is an old schoolmaster in our Parish, Master Goodenough, the 'Squire knows him, and he desired him to settle his affairs, and to send for Mr. Dolittle to give him the sacrament; and while they were lifting him up in his bed, he fell back and died before ever he had made his will, or receive ed the sacrament; and his death soon proved the ruination of all the family.

Sir Tlas. IIot so, Mr. Littlefrorth?

« PreviousContinue »