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• Dear Frank,
If the pleasures, which I have the grief to hear you pursue in town, do not take up all your time, do not deny your mother so much of it, as to read seriously this letter. You said before Mr. Letacre, that an old woman might live very well in the country upon half my jointure, and that your father was a fund fool to give me a rent charge of eight hundred a year to the prejudice of his son. What Letacre said to you upon that occasion you ought to have borne with more decency, as he was your father's well-beloved servant, than to have called him country put. In the first place, Frank, I must tell you, I will have my rent duly paid; for I will make up to your sisters for the partiality I was guilty of in making your father do so much as he has done for you. I may, it seems, live upon half my jointure! I lived upon much less, Frank, when I carried you from place to place in these arms, and could neither eat, dress, or mind any thing for feeding and tending you, a weakly child, and shedding tears when the convulsions you were then troubled with returned upon you. By my care you outgrew thein, to throw away the vigour of your youth in the arins of harlots, and deny your mother what is not yours to detain. Both your sisters are crying, to see the passion which I smother ; but if you please to go on thus like a gentleman of the town, and forget all regards to yourself and family, I shall immediately enter upon your estate for the arrear due to me, and, without one tear more, contemn you for forgetting the fondness of your mother, as much as you have the example of your father. O Frank, do I live to omit writing myself « Your affectionate mother,
the money on my knees. Pray write so no more. I will take care you never shall, for I will be for ever hereafter - Your most dutiful son,
" I will bring down new hoods for my sisters. Pray let all be forgotten.'
SIR ROGER IN TOWN.
I was this morning surprised with a great knocking ai the door, when my landlady's daughter came up to me, and told me that there was a man below desired to speak with me. Upon my asking her who it was, she told me it was a very grave elderly person, but that she did not know his name. I immediately went down to him, and found him to be the coachman of niy worthy friend sir Roger de Coverley. He told me that his master came to town last night, and would be glad to take a turn with me in Gray's-Inn walks. As I was wondering in myself what had brought sir Roger to town, not having lately received any letter from him, he told me that his master was come up to get a sight of prince Eugene, and that he desired I would immediately meet him.
I was not a little pleased with the curiosity of the old knight, though I did not much wonder at it, having heard him say more than once in private discourse, that he looked upon prince Eugenio (for so the knight
always calls him) to be a greater man than Scanderbeg.
I was no sooner come into Gray's-Inn walks, but I heard my friend upon the terrace hemming twice or thrice to himself with great vigour; for he loves to clear his pipes in good air (to make use of his own phrase), and is not a little pleased with any one who takes notice of the strength which he still exerts in his morning hems.
I was touched with a secret joy at the sight of the good old man, who before he saw me was engaged in conversation with a beggar-man that had asked an alms of him. I could hear my friend chide him for not finding out some work; but at the same time saw him put his hand in his pocket and give him six-pence.
Our salutations were very hearty on both sides, consisting of many kind shakes of the hand, and several affectionate looks which we cast upon one another. After which the knight told me my good friend his chaplain was very well and much at my service, and that the Sunday before he had inade a most incomparable serinon out Dr. Barrow, I have left, says he, all my affairs in his hands, and, being willing to lay an obligation upon bim, have deposited with him thirty marks, to be distributed
poor parishioners. He then proceeded to acquaint me with the welfare of Will Wimble. Upon which he put his hand into his fob and presented ine in his naine with a tobacco. stopper, telling me that Will had been busy all the beginning of the winter in turning great quantities of them; and that he made a present of one to every gentleman in the country who has good principles, and smokes. He added, that poor Will was at present under great tribulation, for that Tom Touchy had taken the law of him for cutting some hazel sticks out of one of his hedges.
Among other pieces of news which the knight brought from his country-seat, he informed me that Moll White was dead; and that about a month after her death the wind was so very high, that it blew down the end of one of his barns. But for my own part, says sir Roger, I do not think that the old woman had any
hand in it. He afterwards fell into an account of the diversions which had passed in his house during the holidays; for sir Roger, after the laudable custom of his ancestors, always keeps open house at Christmas. I learned from him that he had killed eight fat hogs for this season, that he had dealt about his chines very liberally amongst his neighbours, and that in particular he had sent a string of hogs-puddings with a pack of cards to every poor family in the parish. I have often thought, says sir Roger, it happens very well that Christmas should fall out in the middle of winter. It is the most dead uncomfortable time of the year, when the poor people would suffer very much from their poverty and cold, if they had not good cheer, warm fires, and Christmas gambols to support them. I love to rejoice their
poor hearts at this season, and to see the whole village merry in my great hall. I allow a double quantity of malt to my small beer, and set it a-running for twelve days to every one that calls for it. I have always a piece of cold beef and a mince-pye on the table, and am wonderfully pleased to see my tenants pass away a whole evening in playing their innocent tricks, and smutting one another. Our friend Will Wimble is as merry as any of them, and shows a thousand roguish tricks upon these occasions.
I was very much delighted with the reflection of my old friend, which carried so much goodness in it. Ile then launched out into the praise of the late act of
parliament for securing the church of England*, and told me with great satisfaction, that he believed it already began to take effect; for that a rigid dissenter, who chanced to dine at his house on Christmas-day, had been observed to eat very plentifully of his plumporridge.
After having dispatched all our country matters, sir Roger made several inquiries concerning the club, and particularly of his old antagonist sir Andrew Freeport. He asked me with a kind of a smile, whether sir Andrew had not taken the advantage of his absence, to vent among them some of his republican doctrines; but soon after gathering up his countenance into a more than ordinary seriousness, Tell me truly, says he, don't you think sir Andrew had a hand in the pope's procession ? But without giving me time to answer him, Well, well, says he, I know you are a wary man, and do not care to talk of public matters.
The knight then asked me if I had seen prince Eugenio, and made me promise to get him a stand in some convenient place where he might have a full sight of that extraordinary man, whose presence does so much honour to the British nation. He dwelt very long on the praises of this great general ; and I found that, since I was with him in the country, he had drawn many observations together out of his reading in Baker's chronicle, and other authors, who always lie in his hall-window, which very much redound to the honour of this prince.
* The act against occasional eonformity.