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laughed at my undertaking, and told me, “He was afraid I should turn his deeds into plays, and he should expect to see them on the stage. Not to tire you with instances of this kind from others, I found that Plato himself did not hold poets in greater abhorrence than these men of business do. Whenever I durst venture to a coffee-house, which was on Sundays only, a whisper ran round the room, which was constantly attended with a sneer, That's poet Wilson; for I know not whether you have observed it, but there is a malignity in the nature of man, which, when not weeded out, or at least covered by a good education and politeness, delights in making another uneasy or dissatisfied with himself. This abundantly appears in all assemblies, except those which are filled by people of fashion, and especially among the younger people of both sexes, whose birth and fortunes place them just without the polite circles; I mean the lower class of the gentry, and the higher of the mercantile world, who are, in reality, the worst bred of mankind. Well, sir, whilst I continued in this miserable state, with scarce sufficient business to keep me from starving, the reputation of a poet being my bane, I accidentally became acquainted with a bookseller, who told me, “It was a pity a man of my learning and genius should i. obliged to such a method of getting his livelihood; that he had a compassion for me, and if I would engage with him, he would undertake to provide handsomely for me.’ A man in my circumstances, as he very well knew, had no choice. I accordingly accepted his proposal, with his conditions, which were none of the most favourable, and fell to translating with all my might. I had no longer reason to lament the want of business; for he furnished me with so much, that in half a year I almost writ myself blind. I likewise contracted a distemper, by my sedentary life, in which no part of my body was exercised but my right arm, which rendered me incapable of writing for a long time. This, unluckily, happening to delay the publication of a work, and my last performance not having sold well, the bookseller declined any further engagement, and aspersed me to his brethren, as a careless, idle fellow. I had, however, by having halfworked and half-starved myself to death, during the time I was in his service, saved a few guineas, with which I bought a lotteryticket, resolving to throw myself into Fortune's lap, and try if she would make amends for the injuries she had done me at the gaming-table. This purchase being made, left me almost pennyless; when, as if I had not been sufficiently miserable, a bailiff, in woman's clothes, got admittance to my chamber, whither he was directed by the bookseller. He arrested me, at my tailor's
suit, for thirty-five pounds; a sum for which I could not procure bail; and was therefore conveyed to his house, where I was locked up in an upper chamber. I had now neither health, (for I was scarce recovered from my indisposition,) liberty, money, or friends; and had abandoned all hopes and even the desire of life. “But this could not last long,” said Adams; “for doubtless the tailor released you the moment he was truly acquainted with your affairs, and knew that your circumstances would not permit you to pay him.’ Oh, sir, answered the gentleman, he knew that before he of me; nay, he knew that nothing but incapacity could prevent me from paying my debts; for I had been his customer many years, had spent vast sums of money with him, and had always paid most punctually in my prosperous days: but when I reminded him of this, with assurances, that if he would not mo– lest my endeavours, I would pay him all the money I could by my utmost labour and industry procure, reserving only what was sufficient to preserve me asive: he answered, his patience was worn out; that I had put him off from time to time; that he wanted the money; that he had put it into a lawyer's hands; and if I did not pay him immediately, or find security, I must lay in jail, and expect no mercy. “He may expect mercy, cries Adams, starting from his chair, “where he will find none ! OW can such a wretch repeat the Lord’s prayer; where the word, which is translated, I know not for what reason, trespasses, is in the original debts' And as surely as we do not forgive others their debts, when they are unable to pay them, so surely shall we ourselves be unforgiven, when we are in no condition of paying.” He ceased, and the gentleman proceeded. While I was in this deplorable situation, a former acquaintance, to whom I had communicated my lotteryticket, found me out, and making me a visit, with great delight in his countenance, shook me heartily by the hand, and wished me joy of my good fortune: for, says he, your ticket is come up a prize of 3000l. Adams snapt his fingers at these words in all . of joy; which, however, did not continue long, for the gentleman thus proceeded : Alas! sir, this was only a trick of Fortune to sink me the deeper; for I had disposed of this lottery-ticket two days before, to a relation who refused lending me a shilling without it, in order to procure myself bread. As soon as my friend was acquainted with my unfortunate sale, he began to revile me, and remind me of all the ill conduct and miscarriages of my life. He said I was one whom É. could not save, if she would; that I was now ruined without any hopes of relieve," must expect any pity from my friends; that it would be extreme weakness to compassionate the misfortunes of a man who ran headlong to his own destruction. He then
inted to me, in as lively colours as he was able, the happiness I should have now enjoyed, had P. foolishly disposed of my ticket. I urged the plea of necessity; but he made no answer to that, and began again to revile me, till I could bear it no longer, and desired him to finish his visit. I soon exchanged the bailiff's house for a prison; where, as I had not money sufficient to procure a separate apartment, I was crowded in with a great number of miserable wretches, in common with whom I was destitute of every convenience of life, even that which all the brutes enjoy, wholesome air. In these dreadful circumstances I applied by letter to several of my old acqaintance, and such to whom I had formerly lent money without any great prospect of its being returned, for their assistance; but in vain. An excuse, instead of a denial, was the gentlest answer I received.—Whilst I languished in a condition too horrible to be described, and which, in a land of humanity, and what is much more, christianity, seems a strange punishment for a little inadvertency and indiscretion; whilst I was in this condition, a fellow came into the prison, and inquiring me out, delivered me the following letter:
“Sir, “My father, to whom you sold your ticket in the last lottery, died the same day in which it came up a prize, as you have possibly heard, and left me sole heiress of all his fortune. I am so much touched with your present circumstances, and the uneasiness you must feel at having been driven to dispose of what might have made you happy, that I must desire your acceptance of the enclosed, and am “Your humble servant, “HARRIET HEARTy.”
And what do you think was inclosed ? ‘I don’t know, cried Adams; “not less than a guinea, I hope."—Sir, it was a bank-note for 200l.- 200l.’ says Adams, in rapture. —No less, I assure you, answered the gentleman: a sum I was not half so delighted with, as with the dear name of the renerous girl that sent it me; and who was not only the best, but the handsomest creature in the universe; and for whom I had long had a passion, which I never durst disclose to her. I kissed her name a thousand times, my eyes overflowing with tenderness and gratitude; I repeated—But not to detain you with these raptures, I immediately ac|. my liberty; and, having paid all my ebts, departed, with upwards of fifty
liverer. She happened to be then out of town, a circumstance, which, upon reflection, pleased me; for by that means I had an opportunity to appear before her in a more decent dress. At her return to town, within a day or two, I threw myself at her feet with the most ardent acknowledgments; which she rejected with an unfeigned greatness of mind, and told me, I could not oblige her more than by never mentioning, or if possible, thinking on a circumstance which must bring to my mind an accident that might be grievous to me to think on. She proceeded thus: “What I have done, is in my own eyes a trifle, and perhaps infinite\ less than would have become me to do. nd if you think of engaging in any business, where a larger sum may be serviceable to you, I shall not be over-rigid, either as to the security or interest.’ I endeavoured to express all the gratitude in my power to this profusion of goodness, though perhaps it was my enemy, and began to affiict my mind with more agonies than all the miseries I had underwent; it affected me with severer reflections than poverty, distress, and prisons united, had been able to make me feel; for, sir, these acts and prosessions of kindness, which were sufficient to have raised in a good heart the most violent passion of friendship to one of the same, or to age and ugliness in a different sex, came to me from a woman, a young and beautiful woman; one whose perfections I had long known, and for whom I had long conceived a violent passion, though with a despair which made me endeavour rather to curb and conceal, than to nourish or acquaint her with it. In short, they came upon me united with beauty, softness, and tenderness: such bewitching smiles!—0 Mr. Adams, in that moment i lost myself,
- and forgetting our different situations, nor
considering what return I was making to her goodness, by desiring her, who had given me so much, to bestow her all, I laid gently hold on her hand, and conveying it to my lips, I pressed it with inconceivable ardour; then, listing up my swimming eyes, I saw her face and neck overspread with one blush ; she offered to withdraw her hand, yet not so as to deliver it from mine, though I held it with the gentlest force. We both stood trembling; her eyes cast on the ground, and mine steadfastly fixed on her. Good G–d, what was then the condition of my soul! burning with love, desire, admiration, gratitude, and every tender passion, all bent on one charming object. Passion at last got the better of both reason and respect, and softly letting go her hand, I offered madly to clasp her in my arms; when, a little recovering herself, she started from me, asking me, with some show
pounds in my pocket, to thank my kind de
of anger, “If she had any reason to expect
this treatment from me.’ I then fell prostrate before her, and told her, if I had of. fended, my life was absolutely in her power, which I would in any manner lose for her sake. Nay, madam, said I, you shall not be so ready to punish me, as I to suffer. I own my guilt. I detest the reflection that I would have sacrificed your happiness to mine. Believe me, I sincerely repent my ingratitude; yet believe me too, it was my passion, my unbounded o for you, which hurried me so far: I have loved you long and tenderly; and the goodness you have shown me, hath innocently weighed down a wretch undone before. Acquit me of all mean, mercenary views, and before I take my leave of you for ever, which I am resolved instantly to do, believe me, that Fortune could have raised me to no height to which I could not have lifted you. O, cursed be Fortune!, “Do not,’ says she, interrupting me with the sweetest voice, * Do not curse Fortune, since she hath made me happy; and, if she hath put your happiness in my power, I have told you you shall ask nothing in reason which I will
refuse.’ Madam, said I, you mistake me, if
you imagine, as you seem, my happiness is in the power of Fortune now. \!. have obliged me too much already; if I have any wish, it is for some blessed accident, by which I may contribute with my life to the least augmentation of your felicity. As for myself, the only happiness I can ever have, will be hearing of yours; and if Fortune will make that complete, I will forgive her all her wrongs to me. “You may, indeed,’ answered she, smiling, “for your own hap.. must be included in mine. I have
ng known your worth; nay, I must confess,’ said she, blushing, “I have long discovered that passion for me you profess, notwithstanding those endeavours, which I am convinced were unaffected, to conceal it; and if all I can give with reason will not suffice,—take reason away,+and now I believe you cannot ask me what I will deny.”—She uttered these words with a sweetness not to be imagined. I immediately started; my blood, which lay freezing at my heart, rushed tumultuously through every vein. I stood for a moment silent; then, flying to her, I caught her in my arms, no longer resisting, and softly told her, she must give me then herself. O, sir! can I describe her look? She remained silent, and almost motionless, several minutes. At last, recovering herself a little, she insisted on my leaving her, and in such a manner, that I instantly obeyed: you may imagine, however, I soon saw her again.-But I ask
ardon: I fear I have detained you too long in relating the particulars of the former interview. “So far otherwise,’ says Adams,
licking his lips, ‘thai could willingly hear it over again.’ Well, sir, continued the gentleman, to be as concise as possible, within a week she consented to make me the happiest of mankind. We were married shortly after; and when I came to examine the circumstances of my wife's fortune, (which, I do assure you, I was not presently at leisure enough to do,) I found it amounted to about six thousand pounds, most part of which lay in effects; for her father had been a wine merchant: and she seemed willing, if I liked it, that I should carry on the same trade. I readily, and too inconsiderately, undertook it; for, not having been bred to the secrets of the business, and endeavouring to deal with the utmost honesty and uprightness, I soon found our fortune in a declining way, and my trade decreasing by little and little; for my wines, which I never adulterated after their importation, and were sold as neat as they came over, were universally decried by the vintners, to whom I could not allow them quite as cheap as those who gained double the profit by a less price. I soon began to despair of improving our fortune by these means; nor was I at all easy at the visits and familiarity of many who had been my acquaintance in my prosperity, but denied and shunned me in my adversity, and now very forwardly renewed their acquaintance with me. In short, I had sufficiently seen, that the pleasures of the world are chiefly folly, and the business of it mostly knavery; and both, nothing better than vanity: the men of pleasure tearing one another to pieces, from the emulation of spending money, and the men of business, from envy in getting it. My happiness consisted entirely in my wife, whom I loved with an inexpressible fondness, which was perfectly returned; and my prospects were no other than to provide for our growing family; for she was now big of her second child: I therefore took an opportunity to ask her opinion of entering into a retired life, which, after hearing my reasons, and perceiving my affection for it, she readily embraced. We soon put our small fortune, now reduced under three thousand pounds, into money, with part of which we purchased this little place, whither we retired soon after her delivery, from a world full of bustle, noise, hatred, envy, and, ingratitude, to ease, quiet, and love. We have here lived almost twenty years, with little other conversation than our own, most of the neighbourhood taking us for very strange people; the squire of the parish representing me as a madman, and the parson as a presbyterian, because I will not hunt with the one, nor drink with the other. ‘Sir,’ says Adams, ‘Fortune hath, I think, paid you all her debts, in this sweet retirement.” Sir, replied the gentleman, I am thankful to the great Author of all things, for the oi here enjoy. I have the best of wives, and three pretty children, for whom I have the true tenderness of a parent. But no blessings are pure in this world: within three years of my arrival here, I lost my eldest son. (Here he sighed bitterly.) ‘Sir,’ said Adams, “we must submit to providence, and consider death as common to all.” We must submit, indeed, answered the gentleman; and if he had died, I could have borne the loss with patience; but, alas ! sir, he was stolen away from my door, by some wicked travelling ople, whom they call Gipsies; nor .# ever, with the most diligent search, recover him. Poor child! he had the sweetest look—the exact picture of his mother; at which, some tears unwittingly dropt from his eyes, as did likewise from those of Adams, who always sympathised with his friends on those occasions. Thus, sir, said the gentleman, I have finished my story, in which, if I have been too particular, I ask your pardon; and now, if you please, I will fetch you another bottle; which proposal the parson thankfully accepted.
.A description of Mr. Wilson's way of living. The tragical adventure of the dog, and other grave matters.
The gentleman returned with the bottle; and Adams and he sat some time silent, when the former started up and cried, ‘No, that won't do.’ The gentleman inquired into his meaning; he answered, “He had been considering that it was possible the late famous king Theodore might have been the very son whom he had lost; but added, “that his #. could not answer that imagination. However,’ says he ‘G– disposes all things for the best; and very o he may be some great man, or duke; and may, one day or other, revisit you in that capacity.’ The gentleman answered, he should know him amongst ten thousand, for he had a mark, on his left breast, of a strawberry, which his mother had given him, by longing for that fruit. . . hat beautiful young lady, the Morning, now rose from her bed, and with a countenance blooming with freshyouth and sprightliness, like Miss —", with soft dews hanging on her pouting lips, began to take her early walk over the eastern hills; and presently after, that gallant person, the Sun, stole softly from his wife's chamber, to pay his addresses to her; when the gentleman asked his guest if he would walk forth and survey
his little garden; which he readily agreed to ; and Joseph, at the same time, awaking from a sleep, in which he had been two hours buried, went with them. No parterres, no sountains, no statues, embellished this little garden. Its only ornament was a short walk shaded on each side by a filbert-hedge, with a small alcove at one end, whither in hot weather the ntleman and his wife used to retire and ivert themselves with their children, who played in the walk before them. But though vanity had no votary in this little spot, here was variety of fruit, and every thing useful for the kitchen; which was abundantly sufficient to catch the admiration of Adams, who told the gentleman he had certainlya good gardener. Sir, answered he, that gardener is now before you: whatever you see here is the work solely of my own hands. Whilst I am providing necessaries for my table, I likewise procure myself an appetite for them. In fair seasons, I seldom pass less than six hours of the twenty-four in this place, where I am not idle; and by these means I have been able to preserve my health ever since my arrival here without assistance from physic. Hither I generally repair at the dawn, and exercise myself whilst my wife dresses her children and prepares our breakfast; after which we are seldom asunder during the residue of the day; for when the weather will not permit them to accompany me here, I am usually within with them; for I am neither ashamed of conversing with my wife nor of P. with my children: to say the truth, do not perceive that inferiority of understanding which the levity of rakes, the dulness of men of business, or the austerity of the learned, would persuade us of in women. As for my woman, I declare I have found none of my own sex capable of making juster observations on life, or of delivering them more agreeably; nor do I believe any one possessed of a faithfuller or braver friend. And sure, as this friendship is sweetened with more delicacy and tenderness, so is it confirmed by dearer pledges than can attend the closest male alliance; for what union can be so fast as our common interest in the fruits of our embraces? Perhaps, sir, you are not yourself a father; if you are not, be assured you cannot conceive the delight I have in my little ones. Would you not despise me, if you saw me stretched on the ground, and my children playin round me? 'I should reverence the sight, quoth Adams: ‘I myself am now the father of six, and have been of eleven, and I can say I never scourged a child of my own, unless as his schoolmaster, and then have felt every stroke on my own posteriors. And as to what you can say concerning
*Whoever the reader pleases.
women, I have often lamented my own wife
did not understand Greek.’—The gentleman smiled, and answered, he would not be apprehended to insinuate that his own had understanding above the care of her family; on the contrary, says he, my Harriet, I assure you, is a notable housewife, and few gentlemen's housekeepers understand cookery or confectionary better; but these are arts which she hath no great occasion for now : however, the wine you commended so much last night at supper was of her own making, as is indeed all the liquor in my house, except my beer, which falls to my province. “And I assure you it is as excellent, quoth Adams, ‘as ever I tasted.’ We formerly kept a maid-servant, but since my girls have been growing up, she is unwilling to indulge them in idleness; for as the fortunes I shall give them will be very small, we intend not to breed them above the rank they are likely to fill hereafter, nor to teach them to despise or ruin a plain husband. Indeed, I could wish a man of my own temper, and retired life, might fall to their lot; for I have experienced, that calm serene happiness, which is seated in content, is inconsistent with the hurry and bustle of the world. He was proceeding thus, when the little things, being just risen, ran eagerly towards him and asked his blessing. They were shy to the strangers; but the eldest acquainted her father, that her mother and the young gentlewoman were up, and that breakfast was ready. They all went in, where the gentleman was surprised at the beauty of Fanny, who had now recovered herself from her fatigue, and was entirely clean dressed; for the rogues who had taken away her purse had . her her bundle. But if he was so much amazed at the beauty of this young creature, his guests were no less charmed at the tenderness which appeared in the behaviour of the husband and wife to each other and to their children; and at the dutiful and affectionate behaviour of these to their parents. These instances pleased the well-disposed mind of Adams, equally with the readiness which they expressed to oblige their guests, and their forwardness to offer them the best of every thing in their house; and what delighted him still more, was an instance or two of their charity; for whilst they were at breakfast, the good woman was called forth to assist her sick neighbour, which she did with some cordials made for the public use; and the good man went into his garden at the same time, to supply another with something which he wanted thence; for they had nothing which those who wanted it were not welcome to. These good people were in the utmost cheerfulness, when they heard the report of a gun, and immediately afterwards a little dog, the favourite of the eldest daughter, came limp
ing in all bloody, and laid himself at his mistress's feet; the poor girl, who was about eleven years old, burst into tears at the sight; and presently one of the neighbours came in and informed them, that the young squire, the son of the lord of the manor, had shot him as he passed by, swearing at the same time he would prosecute the master of him for keeping a spaniel, for that he had given notice fie would not suffer one in the parish. The dog, whom his mistress had taken into her lap, died in a few minutes, licking her hand. She expressed great agony at his loss; and the other children began to cry for their sister's misfortune; nor could Fanny herself refrain. Whilst the father and mother attempted to comfort her, Adams grasped his crabstick, and would have sallied out after the squire, had not Joseph withheld him. He could not, however, bridle his tongue— he pronounced the word rascal with great emphasis; said, he deserved to be hanged more than a highwayman, and wished he had the scourging him. The mother took her child, lamenting and carrying the dead favourite in her arms out of the room; when the gentleman said, this was the second time this squire had endeavoured to kill the little wretch, and had wounded him smartly once before; adding, he could have no motive but ill nature, for the little thing, which was not near as big as one's fist, had never been twenty yards from the house in the six years his daughter had had it. He said he had done nothing to deserve this usage; but his father . too great a fortune to contend with : that he was as absolute as any tyrant in the universe, and had killed all the dogs and taken away all the guns in the neighbourhood ; and not only that, but he trampled down hedges, and rode over corn and gardens, with no more regard than if they were the highway. ‘ I wish I could catch him in my garden,” said Adams; “ though I would rather forgive him riding throug my house, than such an ill-natured act as this. The cheerfulness of the conversation being interrupted by this accident, in which the guests could be of no service to their kind entertainer; and as the mother was taken up in administering consolation to the poor girl, whose disposition was too I hastily to forget the sudden loss of her little favourite, which had been fondling with her a few minutes before; and as Joseph and Fanny were impatient to get home, and begin those previous ceremonies to their happiness, which Adams had insisted on, they now offered to take their leave. The gentleman importuned them much to stay to dinner; but when he found their eagerness to depart, he summoned his wife; and accordingly, having performed all the usual