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CHAPTER XI.

CONTAINS A SCENE OF A COMEDY, INTITLED " THE

SCHOOL FOR PROFLIGACY," OR " THE LAND WE LIVE IN."

SCENE.- A Room in Snarldown House..

Enter the Squire, Merryman, and Cutlas.

Cutlas. 'Sdeath! the young Squire of Freeland Manor, to be tied down to vulgar prejudices like a mechanic's son! By my sword hilt, I would rather be a trooper's son !

Merryman. The heir-apparent to be restrained like a vile plebeian! I'd rather be a strolling player, and hissed for fifteen pence a night by country bumpkins in a barn. If the world be, as it is said of it, “ A School for Scandal !" yet the rich may soar above it, and laugh at the gruntings of the swinish multitude, as the gads, on Olympus' top, hear unmoved the thunders growling at their feet. Trite greatness consists in despising every thing low and vulgar.

Squire.— True: but then you know that my father's tenants are a qucer, blunt sort of people, who imagine that they have a right to speak their minds, and will exercise it.

Merryman. Well they pay for it, and let them enjoy it. They must have somewhat for their money; and as their tongues will wag, whether they opened their purse strings or not, if we are so complaisant as to seem to pay attention to them, they would be unconscionable rogues if they expected any thing more in return.

Cutlas. Do you hold forth this language, Dickey, to the landlord at the Staffordshire Arms ? [This was an inn, so called from its being chiefly resorted to by persons from that county.]

. Merryman. No, confound it. I have run up a long score there, and must keep a civil tongue at least, when I am there. I am all things to all men, and I have licked the blarney stone to şuch good purpose, that with all the jolly shoemakers, of whom the company chiefly consists, I am almost as popular as Crispin himself. I wormed myself into their credit by the follow. ing jeu d'esprit : One of them brought me a new pair of shoes, which he had been prevailed upon to make for me by a promise of prompt payment, at a time when, as is often the case, I had not a farthing in my pocket. I tried them on, swore I had never been better fitted in my. life, and would recommend him all the custom I could. But the fellow wanted something more than oil of tongue, and pressed for the money. I called for some brandy, helped him to a glass, and then drank the following toast : “May the Staffordshire shoes be trodden under foot all over the world!"..-The fellow laughed, shook me by the hand, said that it was a pity 50 witty a man should be so poor, and that I might pay him for the shoes whenever I should feel disposed to do it. He certainly had more money than wit. By similar means, I drink their ale, which I know from experience to be excellent, and get into their debt for my con. descension.

Squire. Well but, Dickey, as you have kept them so long upon the spare diet of promises,

do they never press you for some kind of a performance ?

Merryman. No; I have told them to look to you for that

Squire. At that rate, my debts will never be discharged, I find. · Merrymar. Not till your father's steward, the lean Billy Vortex, shall have been kicked down the same stairs by which he got up. But he has such a cursed knack of keeping his saddle, that nothing short of a convulsion will throw him out. He persuades the tenants that their interest is nearest to his heart, and that he retains his stewardship purely for their welfare. I would build a temple to fortune.

Squire. As you have already built one to pleasure—at the expense of your creditors.

Merryman. Those things have never given me the least uneasiness, Squire, since I have hai the advantage of your acquaintance, and example; but I would set on foot a subscription for a temple to Fortune, if the earth would open in the Common Hall, as we are told it once did in the Forum at Rome, and Billy Vortex would

VOL. I.

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ingulph himself in it through his vanity of being thought the most valuable picce of live lumber in the manor. I should not envy him his entrance into the Temple of Fame, if we could march snugly into that of Fortune.

Squire. It would be a new thing to you, Dickey, you might then contradict Solomon's assertion, that there was nothing new un

der Sun. .., Merryman. Now you talk of something new, do show me the face of a guinea.

Squire. I'm quite aground, Dickey:-How stands it with you, Cutlas ?

Cutlas. At low water, by Jove; I lost the last ten guineas yesterday, by backing a butcher's dog against a fellow to eat tripe. The twolegged brute beat the four-legged one by three quarters of a pound.

Squire. I should have enjoyed the sport.

Cutlas. As I did, although I lost my money; but I had not time to give you that satisfaction, as it was an unexpected treat to myself.

Merryman. It would have afforded us a treat too, if you had won the bet. I wish you had

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