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to count the congregation, or see if any of his tenants are missing
I was yesterday very much surprised to hear my old friend, in the midst of the service, calling out to one John Matthews to mind what he was about, and not disturb the congregation. This John Matthews, it seems, is remarkable for being an idle fellow, and at that time was kicking his heels for his diversion. This authority of the knight, though exerted in that odd manner which accompanies him in all circumstances of life, has a very good effect upon the parish, who are not polite enough to see anything ridiculous in his behavior; besides that the general good sense and worthiness of his character makes his friends observe these little singularities as foils that rather set off than blemish his good qualities.
As soon as the sermon is finished, nobody presumes to stir till Sir Roger is gone out of the church. The knight walks down from his seat in the chancel between a double row of his tenants, that stand bowing to him on each side, and every now and then inquires how such an one's wife, or mother, or son, or father do, whom he does not see at church; which is understood as a secret reprimand to the person
that is absent.
The chaplain has often told me, that upon a catechizing day, when Sir Roger has been pleased with a boy that answers well, he has ordered a bible to be given him next day for his encouragement; and sometimes accompanies it with a flitch of bacon to his mother. Sir Roger has likewise added five pounds a-year to the clerk's place: and that he may encourage the young fellows to make themselves perfect in the church-service, has promised, upon the death of the present incumbent, who is very old, to bestow it according to merit.
The fair understanding between Sir Roger and his chaplain, and their mutual concurrence in doing good, is the more remarkable, because the very next village is famous for the differences and contentions that rise between the parson and the squire, who live in a perpetual state of war. The parson is always preaching at the squire, and the squire, to be revenged on the parson, never comes to church. The squire has made all his tenants atheists and tithe-stealers; while the parson instructs them every Sunday in the dignity of his order, and insinuates to them, in almost every sermon, that he is a better man than his patron. In short, matters are come to such an extremity, that the squire has not said his prayers either in public or private this half-year; and that the parson threatens him, if he does not mend his manners, to pray for him in the face of the whole congregation.
Feuds of this nature, though too frequent in the country, are very fatal to the ordinary people; who are so used to be dazzled with riches, that they pay as much deference to the understanding of a man of an estate, as of a man of learning; and are very hardly brought to regard any truth, how important soever it may be, that is preached to them, when they know there are several men of five hundred a-year who do not believe it.
SIR ROGER AND THE GIPSIES.
S I was yesterday riding out in the fields with
friend Sir Roger, we saw at a little distance from us a troop of gipsies. Upon the first discovery of them, my friend was in some doubt whether he should not exert the justice of the peace upon such a band of lawless vagrants, but not having his clerk with him, who is a necessary counsellor on these oc
casions, and fearing that his poultry might fare the worse for it, he let the thought drop ; but, at the same time, gave nie a particular account of the mischief they do in the country, in stealing people's goods and spoiling their servants. 6 If a stray piece of linen hangs on the hedge," says Sir Roger, " they are sure to have it; if the hog loses his way in the fielā, it is ten to one but he becomes their prey; our geese cannot live in peace for them ; if a man prosecutes them with severity, his hen-roost is sure to pay for it: they generally straggle into these parts about this time of the year; and set the heads of our servant-maids so agog for husbands, that we do not expect to have any business done as it should be whilst they are in the country. I have an honest dairy-maid who crosses their bands with a piece of silver every summer, and never fails being promised the handsomest young fellow in the parish for her pains. Your friend the butler has been fool enough to be seduced by them, and although he is sure to lose a knife, a fork, or a spoon every time his fortune is told him, generally shuts himself up in the pantry with an old gipsy for about half an hour once in a twelvemonth. Sweethearts are the things they live upon, which they bestow very plentifully upon all those that apply themselves to them. You see now and then some handsome jades amongst them; the sluts have
often white teeth and black eyes." Sir Roger observing that I listened with great attention to his account of a people who were so entirely new to me, told
me, that if I would, they should tell us our fortunes. As I was very well pleased with the knight's proposal, we rid up
and communicated our hands to them. A Cassandra of the crew, after having examined my lines very diligently, told me,
that I loved a pretty maid in a corner, that I was a good woman's man, with some other particulars, which I do not think proper to relate. My friend Sir Roger alight
ed from his horse, and exposed his palın to two or three that stood by him; they crumpled it into all shapes, and diligently scanned every wrinkle that could be made in it ; when one of them, who was older and more sun-burnt than the rest, told him, that he had a widow in his line of life : upon which the knight cried, “ Go, go, you are an idle bag'gage;" and at the same time smiled upon me.
The gipsy, finding he was not displeased in his heart, told him, after a farther inquiry into his hand, that his true-love was constant, and that she should dream of him to-night; my old friend cried pish, and bid her go on. The gipsy told him that he was a bachelor, but would not be so long; and that he was dearer to somebody than he thought : the knight still repeated “she was an idle baggage," and · bid her go on. master," says the gipsy," that roguish leer of yours makes a pretty woman's heart ache; you han't that simper about the inouth for nothing." The uncouth gibberish with which all this was uttered, like the darkness of an oracle, made us more attentive to it. To be short, the knight left the money
with her that he had crossed her hand with, and got up again on his horse.
As we were riding away, Sir Roger told me, that he knew several sensible people who believed these gipsies now and then foretold very strange things ; and for half an hour together appeared more jocund than ordinary. In the height of his good-humor, meeting a common beggar on the road who was no conjurer, as he went to relieve him he found his pocket was picked ; that being a kind of Palmistry at which this race of vermin are very dexterous.
I might here entertain my reader with historical remarks on this idle profligate people, who infest all the countries of Europe, and live in the midst of governments in a kind of Comnionwealth by themselves. But instead of entering into
observations of this nature, I shall fill the remaining part of my paper with a story which is still fresh in IIolland, and was printed in one of our monthly accounts, about twenty years ago. “As the Trekschuyt or Hackney-boat which carries passengers from Leyden to Amsterdam, was putting off, a boy running along the side of the canal desired to be taken in, which the master refused, because the lad had not quite money enough to pay his fare. An eminent merchant, being pleased with the looks of the boy, and secretly touched with compassion towards him, paid the money for him, and ordered him to be taken on board. Upon talking with him afterwards, he found that he could speak readily in three or four languages, and learned upon further examination that he had been stolen away when he was a child by a gipsy, and had rambled ever since with a gang of those strollers up and down several parts of Europe. It happened that the merchant, whose heart seems to have inclined towards the boy by a secret kind of instinct, had himself lost a child some years before. The parents, after a long search for him, gave him for drowned in one of the canals with which that country abounds; and the mother was so afflicted at the loss of a fine boy, who was her only son, that she died for grief of it. Upon laying together all particulars, and examining the several moles and marks by which the mother used to describe the child when he was first missing, the boy proved to be the son of the merchant whose heart had so unaccountably melted at the sight of him. The lad was very well pleased to find a father who was so rich, and likely to leave him a good estate; the father, on the other hand, was not a little delighted to see a son return to him, whom he had given for lost, with such a strength of constitution, sharpness of understanding, and skill in languages.” Here the printed story leaves off; but if I may give credit to reports, our linguist, having re