페이지 이미지

greatest pleasure was in doing good, now looked round with a countenance open as the sun, and saw nothing but joy in the looks of all except that of my daughter Sophia, who, for some reasons we could not comprehend, did not seem perfectly satisfied. "I think now," cried he, with a smile, "that all the company except one or two seem perfectly happy. There only remains an act of justice for me to do. You are sensible, Sir." continued he turning to me, "of the obligations we both owe Mr. Jenkinson; and it is but just we should both reward him for it. Miss Sophia will, I am sure, make him very happy, and he shall have from me five hundred pounds as her fortune, and upon this I am sure they can live very comfortably together. Come, Miss Sophia, what say you to this match of my

making? Will you have him?"- -My poor girl seemed


almost sinking into her mother's arms at the hideous proposal. "Have him, Sir!" cried she faintly. "No, Sir, never.""What," cried he again, "not have Mr. Jenkinson, your benefactor, a handsome young fellow, with five hundred pounds and good expectations!""I beg, Sir," returned she, scarce able to speak, "that you'll desist, and not make me so very wretched.". "Was ever such obstinacy known," cried he again, "to refuse a man whom the family has such infinite obligations to, who has preserved your sister, and who has five hundred pounds! What, not have him!" No, Sir, never," replied she angrily, "I'd sooner die first.""If that be the case then," cried he, "if you will not have him— I think I must have you myself." And so saying, he caught her to his breast with ardour. "My loveliest, my most sensible of girls," cried he, "how could you ever think your own Burchell could deceive you, or that Sir William Thornhill could ever cease to admire a mistress that loved him for himself alone? I have for some years sought for a woman, who a stranger to my fortune could think that I had merit as a After having tried in vain, even amongst the pert and the ugly, how great at last must be my rapture to have made a conquest over such sense and such heavenly beauty." Then turning to Jenkinson, "As I cannot, Sir, part with this young lady myself, for she has taken a fancy to the cut of my face,


[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

all the recompense I can make is to give you her fortune, and you may call upon my steward to-morrow for five hundred pounds." Thus we had all our compliments to repeat, and Lady Thornhill underwent the same round of ceremony tha her sister had done before. In the mean time Sir William' gentleman appeared to tell us that the equipages were ready t carry us to the inn, where every thing was prepared for ou reception. My wife and I led the van, and left those gloom mansions of sorrow. The generous Baronet ordered fort pounds to be distributed among the prisoners, and Mr. Wilmo induced by his example, gave half that sum. We were receive below by the shouts of the villagers, and I saw and shoc by the hand two or three of my honest parishioners who we among the number. They attended us to our inn, where sumptuous entertainment was provided, and coarser provision were distributed in great quantities among the populace.

After supper, as my spirits were exhausted by the alternati of pleasure and pain which they had sustained during the da I asked permission to withdraw, and leaving the company the midst of their mirth, as soon as I found myself alone poured out my heart in gratitude to the Giver of joy as well of sorrow, and then slept undisturbed till morning.



THE next morning as soon as I awaked I found my el son sitting by my bedside, who came to increase my joy v another turn of fortune in my favour. First having relea me from the settlement that I had made the day before in favour, he let me know that my merchant who had faile town was arrested at Antwerp, and there had given up eff to a much greater amount than what was due to his credi



My boy's generosity pleased me almost as much as this
unlooked-for good fortune. But I had some doubts whether I
ought in justice to accept his offer. While I was pondering
upon this, Sir William entered the room, to whom I communi-
cated my doubts. His opinion was, that as my son was already
possessed of a very affluent fortune by his marriage, I might
accept his offer without any hesitation. His business, however,
was to inform me that as he had the night before sent for the
licenses, and expected them every hour, he hoped that I would
not refuse my assistance in making all the company happy that
morning. A footman entered while we were speaking, to tell
us that the messenger was returned, and as I was by this time
ready I went down, where I found the whole company as merry
as affluence and innocence could make them. However, as
they were now preparing for a very solemn ceremony, their
I told them of the grave,
laughter entirely displeased me.
becoming, and sublime deportment they should assume upon
this mystical occasion, and read them two homilies and a thesis
of my own composing, in order to prepare them. Yet they
still seemed perfectly refractory and ungovernable. Even as
we were going along to church, to which I led the way, all
gravity had quite forsaken them, and I was often tempted to
turn back in indignation. In church a new dilemma arose,
This was which couple
which promised no easy solution.
should be married first; my son's bride warmly insisted that
Lady Thornhill (that was to be) should take the lead; but this
the other refused with equal ardour, protesting she would not
be guilty of such rudeness for the world. The argument was
supported for some time between both with equal obstinacy
and good breeding. But as I stood all this time with my book.
ready, I was at last quite tired of the contest, and shutting it,
"I perceive," cried I, "that none of you have a mind to be
married, and I think we had as good go back again; for I
suppose there will be no business done here to-day."-This
at once reduced them to reason. The Baronet and his lady
were first married, and then my son and his lovely partner.

I had previously that morning given orders that a coach should be sent for my honest neighbour Fiamborough and his


family, by which means, upon our return to the inn, we had the pleasure of finding the two Miss Flamboroughs alighted before us. Mr. Jenkinson gave his hand to the eldest, and my son Moses led up the other (and I have since found that he has taken a real liking to the girl, and my consent and bounty he shall have, whenever he thinks proper to demand them). We were no sooner returned to the inn but numbers of my parishioners, hearing of my success, came to congratulate me, but among the rest were those who rose to rescue me, and whom I formerly rebuked with such sharpness. I told the story to Sir William, my son-in-law, who went out and reproved them with great severity; but finding them quite disheartened by his harsh reproof, he gave them half-a-guinea a piece to drink his health and raise their dejected spirits.

Soon after this we were called to a very genteel entertainment, which was dressed by Mr. Thornhill's cook. And it may not be improper to observe with respect to that gentleman, that he now resides in quality of companion at a relation's house, being very well liked and seldom sitting at the side-table, except when there is no room at the other; for they make no stranger of him. His time is pretty much taken up in keeping his relation, who is a little melancholy, in spirits, and in learning to blow the French-horn. My eldest daughter, however, still remembers him with regret; and she has even told me, though I make a great secret of it, that when he reforms she may be brought to relent.

But to return, for I am not apt to digress thus, when we were to sit down to dinner our ceremonies were going to be renewed. The question was whether my eldest daughter, as being a matron, should not sit above the two young brides, but the debate was cut short by my son George, who proposed that the company should sit indiscriminately, every gentleman by his lady. This was received with great approbation by all, excepting my wife, who I could perceive was not perfectly satisfied, as she expected to have had the pleasure of sitting at the head of the table and carving all the meat for all the company. But notwithstanding this, it is impossible to describe our good humour. I can't say whether we had more wit amongst

us now than usual: but I am certain we had more laughing, which answered the end as well.' One jest I particularly remember: old Mr. Wilmot drinking to Moses, whose head was turned another way, my son replied, "Madam, I thank you." Upon which the old gentleman, winking upon the rest of the company, observed that he was thinking of his mistress. At which jest I thought the two Miss Flamboroughs would have died with laughing. As soon as dinner was over, according to my old custom, I requested that the table might be taken away to have the pleasure of seeing all my family assembled once more by a cheerful fireside. My two little ones sat upon each knee,' the rest of the company by their partners. I had nothing now on this side of the grave to wish for; all my cares were over, my pleasure was unspeakable. It now only remained that my gratitude in good fortune should exceed my former submission in adversity.

[ocr errors]

1 The same sentiment occurs in Chapter I.., p. 312: "and what the conversation wanted in wit was made up in laughter."

2 It has been said of Goldsmith that he was essentially Irish in his personal chsracter, and intensely and thoroughly English in his writings. Here, however, he is essentially Irish.

[blocks in formation]
« 이전계속 »