« السابقةمتابعة »
I saw the peasant stooping to his plough
Happy! if there in rural peace he dwells,
No XCVI. No XCVI.
Ούκ έσαμαι πλατείν έτ’ ευχομαι, αλλά μου είη
“ I ask not wealth; let me enjoy
PON my arrival at the house I was
shewn into a small room in the base-story, which the owner of this fine place usually occupied and in which he now received me: here I had been but a very few minutes before he proposed to thew me the house, and for that purpose conducted me up stairs to the grand apartment, and from thence made the entire tour, without excepting any one of the bedchambers, offices or even closets in the house: I cannot say my friend Attalus consulted times and seasons in chusing so early a moment after my arrival for parading me about in this manner; some of the apartments were certainly very splendid; a great deal of rich furniture and many fine pictures solicited my notice; but the fatigue of so iH-timed a perambulation disabled me from
expressing that degree of admiration, which seemed to be expected on this occasion, and which on any other I should have been forward to bestow : I was sorry for this, because I believe he enjoyed little other pleasure in the poffefsion of his house, besides this of shewing it; but it happened to my host, as it does too frequently to the owners of fine places, that he missed the tria bute of flattery by too great eagerness in exact
It appeared to me that Attalus was no longer the gay lively man he was formerly; there was a gloom upon his countenance and an inquietude in his manner, which seemed to lay him under a constraint that he could not naturally get rid of: Time hung heavy on our hands till the hour of dinner, and it was not without regret I perceived he had arranged his family meals. upon the fashionable system of London hours, and at the distance of two hundred miles from the capital had by choice adopted those very habits, which nothing but the general custom of late aflemblies and long fittings in Parliament can excuse upon the plea of necessity : It was now the midst of summer, which made the absurdity of such a disposition of our time more glaring, for whilft the best hours of the afternoon were devoted to the table, all exercise and enjoyment out of doors
were either to be given up, or taken only in the meridian heat of the day. I discovered a further bad confequence of these habits upon society and good-fellowship, for such of the neighbouring gen. try, who had not copied his example, were des terred from making him any visits, not presuming to disturb him at unsuitable hours, and yet not able, without a total disarrangement of their own comforts, to make their time conform to his. Attalus himself, I must acknowledge, both faw and confessed the bad system he was upon, he found himself grown unpopular amongst his country neighbours on this very score, and was piqued by their neglect of him : " It was a villainous custom,” he observed, “ and destructive « both of health and pleasure ; but all people of « fashion dined at five, and what could he do? “ He must live as other great families lived ; if in« deed he was a mere private gentleman, he might “ do as he liked best.” If it be so, thought I, this man’s great fortune is an incumbrance to him; if it robs him of health and pleasure, what does it give him, nay what can it give him, in compensation for the loss of such blessings ? If fafhion takes away from Attalus the liberty of doing what he best likes, and is best for him,' I must have been mistaken in supposing independance was the result of affluence ; I suspect there
are not all the advantages in his conditon which I supposed there were I will examine this more narrowly.
The next morning, after a late breakfast, the consequence I had foreseen ensued, for we were advanced into the hottest hours of the day, when Attalus, being impatient to shew me the beauties of his park and grounds, gave orders for the equipages and horses to be made ready, and we were to set out upon the furvey in a burning sun. When the train was in waiting at the door, we fallied forth, but here a discussion began, in which so many things required a new arrangement, that a long stop was put to our march, whilst the scrutinizing eye of Attalus was employed in minute examination of every thing appertaining to the cavalry and carriages; the horses were wrong harnessed, they were to be changed from the off-side to the near-side, saddles were to be altered, and both groom and coachman were heartily recommended to repeated damnation for their stupidity and inattention-“ Never any
man was fo plagued with rascally servants as I
am,” cried Attalus ; “ they are the curse and « vexation of my life; I wish I could live with“ out them; no man can be happy, who has to u do with them.”-Is it so ? (said I within myfelf) then I have the advantage over you in that