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a canal in front of his house, where he would fometimes take up with the placid amusement of angling from an alcove by the side of it, with a servant in attendance for the purpose of baiting his hook, or calling upon him to pull, if by chance he was surprized with a bite; happily for his repose this very rarely was the case, though a tradition runs in the family of his having once snapped an officious perch of extraordinary fize.
There was a learned practitioner in the law, one Mr. Driver, who had a house in his parish, and him Ned appointed manager of his estate; this worthy gentleman was so considerate as sele dom if ever to give him any trouble about his accounts, well knowing his aversion from items and particulars and the little turn he had to the drudgery of arithmetic and calculations. By the kind offices of Mr. Driver Ned was relieved from an infinite deal of disagreeable business, and Mr. Driver himself suddenly became a man of confiderable property, and began to take a lead in the county.
Ned together with his estate had succeeded to a Chancery suit, which was pending at the death of the late poffeffor : This fuit was for a time carried on fo prosperously by Mr. Driver, that nothing more seemed requisite to bring it to a favorable issue, than for Ned to make his appearance in Court for some purposes I am not able to explain : This was an undertaking so insurmountable, that he could never be prevailed upon to fet about it and the suit was deserted accordingly. This suit and the circumstance of a copper mine on his estate; which his agent never could engage him to work, were the only things that ever disturbed his tranquillity, and upon these topics he was rather fore, till Mr. Driver found it convenient to give up both points, and Ned heard no more of his Chancery suit or his copper mine.
These few traits of my friend's character will suffice to make my readers acquainted with him before I relate the particulars of a visit I paid him about three months ago. It was in compliance with the following letter, which I was favoured with from Mr. Driver,
“ These are to inform you that Mr. Drowsy « desires the favour of your company at Poppy« Hall, which he has ordered me to notify to
you, not doubting but you will take it in good “ part, as you well know how his humour “ stands towards writing. He bids me say that “ he has something of confequence to consult
you upon, of which' more when we meet : VOL. IV.
“ Wishing you health and a fafe journey I re« main in all reasonable service,
« Your's to command,
« DANIEL DRIVER."
In consequence of this summons I set off for Poppy-Hall, and arrived there early in the evening of the second day. I found my friend Drowfy in company with my correspondent the attorney, the reverend Mr. Beetle curate of the parish, and 'two gentlemen, strangers to me, who, as I understood from Mr. Driver, were Mr. Sparkle senior, an eminent auctioneer in London, and Billy Sparkle his son, a city beau. My friend was in his eafy chair turned towards the fire; the rest were fitting round the table at some distance, and engaged, as I soon discovered, in a very interesting conversation upon beauty, which my entrance for a while put a stop to. This intermission however lafted no longer than whilst Mr. Drowsy paid his compli'ments to me, which he performed in few words, asking me however if I came on horseback, which having answered in the affirmative, he fententiously observed, that he never rode. And now the elder Mr. Sparkle resumed the converfation in the following manner. What I was going to observe to you, when this gentleman came in, upon the article of beauty is peremptorily and precisely this : Beauty, gentlemen, is in the eye, I aver it to be in the eye of the beholder and not in the object itself; my beauty for instance is not your beauty, your's is not mine; it depends upon fancy and taste, fancy and taste are nothing but caprice : A collection of fine women is like a collection of fine pic. tures ; put them up to auction, and bidders will be found for every lot.But all bidders, cries the attorney, are not bona fide buyers; I believe you find many an article in your fales fent back upon the owner's hands, and so it is with beauty; all, that is bidden for, is not bought in-Here the curate interposed, and turning to his lay-brother of the pulpit, reminded him that beauty was like a flower of the field; here to-day, and gone tomorrow; whereas virtue was a hardy plant and defied the scythe of time; virtue was an evergreen and would bloom in the winter, of life; virtue would Aourish, when beauty was no more. -I'believe it feldom makes any considerable (hoots till that is the case, cried Billy Sparkle, and followed up his repartee with a laugh, in which he was himself the only performer.-It is high time now, says the attorney, directing his discourse to me, to make you acquainted with
the business we are upon, and how we came to fall upon this topic of beauty. Your friend Mr. Drowsy does not like the trouble of talking, and therefore with his leave I shall open the case to you, as I know he wishes to take your opinion upon it-Here the attorney seeming to pause for his cue, Drowsy nodded his head and bade him
We are in consultation, rejoined he, upon a matter of no less moment than the choice of a wife for the gentleman in that easy chair. And if he is easy in it, demanded I, what need he wish for more ? --Alackaday! he has no heir, and till that event takes place, he is only tenant for life subject to empeachment of waste; he cannot be called master of his own estate ; only think of that, Sir. That was for him to do, I replied; how does Mr. Drowsy himself think of it? I don't think much about it, answered Ned. And how stands your mind towards matrimony? --No answer. There's trouble in it, added I. There is so, replied he with a figh; but Driver says I want an heir. There's trouble in that too, quoth I; have you any particular lady in your eye? That is the very point we are now upon, cried Mr. Sparkle senior; there are three lots up for Mr. Drowsy or his friends to chuse from, and I only wait his signal for knocking down the lot, that he likes best.