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hang fondly on her bosom, if I find but repentance there. My son, bring hither my Bible and my staff; I will pursue her, wherever she is; and, though I cannot save her from shame, I may prevent the continuance of iniquity.”
THE PURSUIT OF A FATHER TO RECLAIM A LOST CHILD TO VIRTUE.
HOUGH the child could not describe the gentleman's person, who handed his sister into the postchaise, yet my suspicions fell entirely upon our young
landlord, whose character for such intrigues was but too well known. I therefore directed my steps towards Thornhill Castle, resolving to upbraid him, and, if possible,
to bring back my daughter ; but before I had reached his seat I was met by one of my parishioners, who said he saw a young lady resembling my daughter in a post-chaise with a gentleman, whom, by the description, I could only guess to be Mr. Burchell, and that they drove very fast. This information, however, did by no means satisfy me; I therefore went to the young Squire's, and though it was yet early, insisted upon seeing him immediately; he soon appeared with the most open familiar air, and seemed perfectly amazed at my daughter's elopement, protesting upon his honour that he was quite a stranger to it. I now therefore condemned my former suspicions, and
, could turn them only on Mr. Burchell, who I recollected had of late several private conferences with her; but the appearance of another witness left me no room to doubt of his villany, who averred that he and my daughter were actually gone towards the Wells, about thirty miles off, where there was a great deal of company. Being driven to that
a state of mind in which we are more ready to act precipitately than to reason right, I never debated with myself, whether these accounts might not have been given by persons purposely placed in my way to mislead me, but resolved to pursue my daughter and her fancied deluder thither. I walked along with earnestness, and inquired of several by the way; but received no accounts, till entering the town I was met by a person on horseback, whom I remembered to have seen
usual retreat of indigence and frugality, I laid me down patiently to wait the issue of my disorder. I languished here for nearly three weeks; but at last my constitution prevailed, though I was unprovided with money to defray the expenses of my entertainment. It is possible the anxiety from this last circumstance alone might have brought on a relapse, had I not been supplied by a traveller who stopped to take a cursory refreshment. This person was no other than the philanthropic bookseller in St. Paul's Churchyard, who has written so many little books for children ;* he called himself their friend, but he was the friend of all mankind.
He was no sooner alighted, but he was in haste 10 be gone ; for he was ever on business of the utmost importance, and was at that time actually compiling materials for the history of one Mr. Thomas Trip. I immediately recollected this good-natured man's red pimpled face ; for he had published for me against the Deuterogamists of the age; and from him I borrowed a few pieces, to be paid at my return. Leaving the inn, therefore, as I was yet but weak, I resolved to return home by easy journeys of ten miles a day.
My liealth and usual tranquillity were almost restored, and I now condemned that pride which had made me refractory to the hand of correction. Man little knows what calamities are beyond his patience to bear till he tries them : as in ascending the heights of ambition, which look bright from below, every step we rise shows us some new and gloomy prospect of hidden disappointment; so in our descent from the summits of pleasure, though the vale of misery below may appear at first dark and gloomy, yet the busy mind, still attentive to its own amusement, finds, as we descend, something to flatter and to please. Still, as we approach, the darkest objects appear to brighten, and the mental eye becomes adapted to its gloomy situation.
I now proceeded forward, and had walked about two hours, when I perceived what appeared at a distance like a wagon, which I was resolved to overtake; but when I came up with it found it to be a strolling company's cart, that was carrying their scenes and other theatrical furniture to the next village, where they were to exhibit.
The cart was attended only by the person who drove it, and one of the company, as the rest of the players were to follow the ensuing day. “Good company upon the road,” says the proverb, “is the shortest cut. ·
* This was Mr. John Newbery, who published “The British Magazine " in 1760, for which Goldsmith and Smollett were the principal writers. He also started, in the same year, a daily paper, “The Public Ledger," in which “The Citizen of the World" originally appeared. Amongst the children's books published by Newbery, was “ Goody Two Shoes," said to have been written by Goldsmith. The poet was in the habit of telling pleasant stories of the bookseller, who, he declared, was the patron of more distressed authors than any man of his time ; yet he dishonoured Goldsmith's bill for fifteen guineas when the second edition of "The Vicar of Wakefield
" ” I therefore entered into conversation with the poor player; and, as I once had some theatrical powers myself, I disserted on such topics with my usual freedom ; but as I was pretty much unacquainted with the present state of the stage, I demanded who were the present theatrical writers in vogue, who the Drydens and Otways of the day ? “I fancy, sir,” cried the player, “few of our modern dramatists would think themselves much honoured by being compared to the writers you
ention. Dryden and Rowe's manner, sir, are quite out of fashion ; our taste has gone back a whole century; Fletcher, Ben Jonson, and all the plays of Shakespeare are the only things that go down.' ”
How!" cried I, “is it possible the present age can be pleased with that antiquated dialect, that obsolete humour, those over-charged characters, which abound in the works you mention ?” “Sir," returned my companion, “ the public think nothing about dialect, or humour, or character; for that is none of their business : they only go to be amused, and find themselves happy when they can enjoy a pantomime, under the sanction of Jonson's or Shakespeare's name."
“ So then, I suppose,” cried I, “ that our modern dramatists are rather imitators of Shakespeare than nature.” “ To say the truth,” returned my companion, “I don't know that they imitate anything at all; nor indeed does the public require it of them ; it is not the composition of the piece, but the number of starts and attitudes that may be introduced into it that elicits applause. I have known a piece, with not one jest in the whole, shrugged into popularity, and another saved by the poet's throwing in a fit of the gripes. No, sir, the works of Congreve and Farquhar have too much wit in them for the present taste; our modern dialect is much more natural."
By this time the equipage of the strolling company was arrived at the village, which, it seems, had been apprised of our approach, and was come out to gaze at us; for my companion observed, that strollers always have more spectators without doors than within. I did not consider the impropriety of my being in such company, till I saw a mob gather about me. I therefore took shelter, as fast as possible, in the first alehouse that offered, and, being shown into the common room, was accosted by a very well-dressed gentleman, who demanded whether I was the real chaplain of the company, or whether it was only to be my masquerade character in the play ? Upon informing him of the truth, and that I did not belong in any sort to the company, he was condescending enough to desire me and the player to partake in a bowl of punch, over which he discussed modern politics with great earnestness arid interest. 1 set him down in my own mind for nothing less than a parliament-man at least; but was almost confirmed in my conjectures, when, upon asking what there was in the house for supper, he insisted that the player and I should sup with him at his house ; with which request, after some entreaties, we were prevailed on to comply:
THE DESCRIPTION OF A PERSON DISCONTENTED WITH THE PRESENT GOVERNMENT, AND
APPREHENSIVE OF THE LOSS OF OUR LIBERTIES.
HE house where we were to be entertained lying at a small distance from the village, our inviter observed, that as the coach was not ready, he would conduct us on foot, and we soon arrived at one of the most
magnificent mansions I had seen in that part of the country. The apartment into which we were shown was
perfectly elegant and modern ; he went to give orders for supper, while the player, with a wink, observed that we were perfectly in luck. Our entertainer soon returned, an elegant supper was brought in, two or three ladies in easy dishabille were introduced, and the conversation began with some sprightliness. Politics, however, were the subject on which our entertainer chiefly expatiated; for he asserted that liberty was at once his boast and his terror. After the cloth was removed, he asked me if I had seen the last “Monitor;" to which replying in the negative, " What! nor the 'Auditor,' I
suppose ?" cried he. “ Neither, sir," returned I. That's strange, very strange, replied my entertainer. "Now, I read all the politics that come out. The · Daily,' the Public,' the Ledger,' the Chronicle,' the · London Evening,' the 'Whitehall Evening,' the seventeen Magazines and the two Reviews; and, though they hate each other, I love them all. Liberty, sir, liberty is the Briton's boast, and, by all my coal
mines in Cornwall, I reverence its guardians." Then it is to be hoped,” cried I, “ you reverence the king?" "Yes," returned my entertainer, “when