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Quis srit an adjiciant hodierna crastina sumne Tempora Dii Superi, ?
(HORAT.) O-morrow is the day, which procrastina
tion always promifes to employ and never overtakes : My correspondent Tom Tortoisia whose letter I shall now lay before the public, seems to have made these promises and broken them as often as most men.
TO THE OBSERVER..
I have been resolving to write to thee every morning for these two months, but something or other has always come athwart my resolution to put it by. In the first place I should have toid thee that aunt Gertrude was taken grievously fick, and had a mighty desire to see thee upon affairs of consequence; but as I was in daily hopes she would mend and be able to write to thee herself, (for every body you know understands their own business beft) I thought I would wait till flie got well enough to tell her own story; but alas ! The dwindled and dwindled away till the died; fo, if she had any secrets, they are
buried with her, and there's an end of that matter.
Another thing I would fain have written to thee about was to enquire into the character of a fellow, one John Jenkyns, who had served a friend of thine, Sir Theodore Thimble, as his house steward, and offered himself to me in the same capacity: But this was only my own affair do
you see, so I put it by from day to day, and in the mean time took the rascal upon his word without a character: But if he ever had one, he would have lost it in my service, for he plundered me without inercy, and at last made off with a pretty round sum of my money, which I have never been able to get any wind of, probably because I never took the trouble to make
I now sit down to let you know fon Tom is come from Oxford, and a strapping fine fellow he is grown of his age: He has a mighty longing to set out upon his travels to foreign parts, which you must know seems to me a very foolish conceit in a young lad, who has only kept his first term and not completed his nineteenth year; so I opposed his whim manfully, which I think you will approve of, for I recollected the opinion you gave upon this subject when last here, and quoted
it against him: To do him justice he fairly of fered to be ruled by your advice, and willed me to write to you on the matter ; but one thing or other always stood in the way, and in the mean time came lord Ramble in his way to Dover, and being a great crony of Tom's and very eager for his company, and no letter coming from you (which indeed I acquit you of, not having written to you on the subject) away the youngsters went together, and probably before this are upon French ground. Pray tell me what you think of this trip, which appears to me but a wild. goose kind of a chace, and if I live till to-morrow I intend to write Tom a piece of my mind to that purpose, and give him a few wholesome hints, which I had put together for our parting but had not time just then to communicate to him.
I intend very shortly to brush up your quara ters in town, as my solicitor writes me word every thing is at a stand for want of my appearance : What dilatory doings must we experience, who have to do with the law ! putting off from month to month and year to year : I wone der men of business are not ashamed of them felves; as for me, I thould bave been up and amongst them long enough ago, if it had not
been for one thing or another that hampered me about my journey: Horses are for ever falling lame, and farriers are such lazy rascálsthat bes fore one can be cured, another cries out; and now I am in daily expectation of my favourite brood-mare dropping a foal, which I am in great hopes will prove a colt, and therefore I cannot be abfent at the time, for a master's eye you know is every thing in thofe cases : Befides I should be sorry to come up in this dripping feafon, and as the parson has begun praying for fair weather, I hope it will set in ere long in good earnest, and that it will please God to make it pleasant tra. velling.
You will be pleased to hear that I mean foon to make a job of draining the marsh in front of my house: Every body allows that as soon as there is a channel cut to the river, it will be as dry as a bowling-green and as fine meadow land as any on my estate : It will also add consi. derably to the health as well as beauty of our fituation, for at present 'tis a grievous eye-fore, and fills us with fogs and foul air at such a rate, that I have had my whole family down with the ague all this spring : Here is a fellow ready to undertake the job at a very easy expence and will complete it in a week, so that it will soon be
done when once begun; therefore you see I need not hurry myself for setting about it, but wait till leisure and opportunity fuit.
I am sorry I can send you no better news of your
old friend the vicar; he is fadly out of forts: You must know the incumbent of Slowe in-the-Wilds died some time ago, and as the living lies so handy to my own parish I had always intended it for our friend, and had promised him again and again: When behold! time flipt away unperceived, and in came my lord bishop of the diocese with a parson of his own, ready cut and dried, and claimed it as a lapsed living, when it has been mine and my ancestors any time these five hundred years for aught I know : If these are not nimble doings I know not what are: Egad! a man need have all his eyes about bim, that has to do with these bishops. If I had been aware of such a trick being played me, I would have hoisted the honest vicar into the pulpit before the old parson, who is dead and gone, had been nailed in his coffin; for no man loves less to be taken napping (as they call it) than I do; and as for the poor vicar 'tis surprizing to see how he takes to heart the disappointment; whereas I tell him he has nothing for it but to outlive the young fellow, who has jumped into Vol. V. S