Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

but I fufpe&t it is only to make us mope alone. A merry companion, and a mug of beer, would make the night pass cheerily.” Parley, however, kept all these thoughts to himself, or uitered them only when no one heard, for talk he must. He began to listen to the nightly whistling, of the robbers under the windows with rather less alarm than formerly, and was sometimes so tir. ed of watching, that he thought it was even bet. ter to run the risk of being robbed once, than to live always in fear of robbers.

There were certain bounds in which the gen. tleman allowed his servants to walk and divert themselves at all proper feasons. A pleasant garden surrounded the castle, and a thick hedge separated this garden from the wilderness which was infested by the robbers, in which they were permitted to amuse themselves. The master advised them always to keep within these bounds. 6 While you observe this rule,” said he, 66 you will be fafe and well; and you will consult your own safety, as well as fhew your love to me, by not venturing even to the extremity of your bounds; he who goes as far as he dares, always shews a wish to go farther than he ought, and commonly does so.”.

It was remarkable, that the nearer these ser. vants kept to the castle, and the farther from the hedge, the more ugly the wilderness, appeared. And the nearer they approached the for

bidden bounds, their own home appeared more ! dull, and the wilderness more delightful, And

this the master knew when he gave his orders; for he never either did or said any thing without a good reason. And when his servants fometimes desired an explanation of the reason, he used to tell them they would understand it when they came to the other house : for it was one of the pleasures of that house, that it would explain all the mysteries of this, and any little obfcuri. ties in the master's conduct would be then made quite plain,

Parley was the first who promised to keep clear of the hedge, and yet was often seen looking as near it as he durit. One day he ventur. ed close up to the hedge, put two or three stones one on another, and tried to peep over. He saw one of the robbers strolling as near as could be on the forbidden fide. This man's name was Mr. Flatterwell, a smooth, civil man, 6 whose words were softer than butter, having war in his heart.” He made several low bows to Parley.

Now Parley knew so little of the world, that he actually concluded all robbers must have an ugly look, which should frighten you at once, and coarse brutal manners, which would, at first sight, shew they were enemies. He thought, like a poor ignorant fellow as he was, that this mild specious person could never be one of the band. Flatterwell accosted Parley with the ut. anost civility, which put him quite off his guard, for Parley had no notion that he could be an enemy who was so soft and civil. For an open foe he would have been prepared. Parley, however, after a little discourse, drew this conclusion, that either Mr. Flatterwell could not be one of the gang, or that if he was, the robbers themselves, could not be such monsters as his master had described, and therefore it was a folly to be afraid of them.

Flatterwell began, like a true adept in his art, by lulling all Parley's suspicions asleep, and instead of openly abusing his master, which would have opened Parley's eyes at once, he pretend. ed rather to commend him in a general way, as a person who meant well himself, but was too apt to suspect others. To this Parley assented. The other then ventured to hint by degrees, that though the gentleman might be a good malter in the main, yet he must say he was a little strict, and a little stingy, and not a little censorious. That he was blamed by the gentlemen in the wilderness for shutting his house against good company, and his servants were laughed at by people of spirit, for fubmitting to the gloomy life of the castle, and the insipid pleasures of the garden, instead of ranging in the wilderness at large.

“ It is true enough," said Parley, who was generally of the opinion of the person he was talking with. 66 My master is rather harsh and close. But to own the truth, all the barring, and locking, and bolting, is to keep out a set of gentleman, who, he assures us, are robbers, and

who are waiting for an opportunity to destroy tus, I hope no offence, Sir, but by your livery,

and

Burto My master the perso

I suspect you, Sir, are one of the gang he is so much afraid of.”

Fatteriell. Afraid of me? Impossible, dear Mr. Parley. You see I do not look like an enemy. I am unarmed, what harm can a plain man like me do?

: Parley. Why, that is true enough. Yet my master says, that if we were once to let you into the house, we should be ruined soul and body.

Flatterwell. I am sorry, Mr. Parley, to hear fo sensible a man as you are so deceived. This is mere prejudice. He knows we are cheerful entertaining people, foes to gloom and su. perftition, and therefore he is so morose he will not let you get acquainted with us.

Parley. Well, he says you are a band of thieves, gamblers, murderers, drunkards, and atheists.

Flatterwell. Don't believe him, the worst we should do, perhaps, is, we might drink a friend. ly glass with you, to your master's health, or play an innocent game of cards just to keep you awake, or fing a cheerful song with the maids : now is there any harm in all this?

Parley. Not the least in the world. And I begin to think there is not a word of truth in all my master says.

Flatterwell. The more you know us, the more you will like us. But I wish there was not this ugly hedge between us. I have a great deal to say, and I am afraid of being overheard.

Parley was now just going to give a spring

your Tjour

lone

[ocr errors]

over the hedge, but checked himself, saying, “ I

dare not come on your side, there are people * about, and every thing is carried to my maiter.

Flatterwell saw by this, that his new friend was
kept on his own side of the hedge by fear rather
than by principle, and from that moment he
made Ture of him. “ Dear MrParley,” said
he," if you will allow me the honor of a little
conversation with you, I will call under the
window of your lodge this evening. I have
something to tell you greatly to your advantage.
I admire you exceedingly. I long for your
friendship ; our whole brotherhood is ambi-
tious of being known to so amiable a person.”
– O dear,” said Parley, 6 I shall be afraid of
talking to you at night. It is so against my maf-
ter's orders. But did you say you had some-
thing to tell me to my advantage ?"..
- Flatlerwell. Yes, I can point out to you how
you may by a richer, a merrier, and a happier
man. If you will admit me to-night under the
window, I will convince you that 'tis prejudice
and not wisdom which makes your master bar
his door against us ; I will convince you that
the mischief of a robber, as your master fcurri-
lously calls us, is only in the name, that we are
your true friends and only mean to promote
your happiness.

" Don't say we;" faid Parley, 6 pray come alone, I would not see the rest of the gang for the world, but I think there can be no great harm in talking to you through the bars if you come

« AnteriorContinuar »