« EelmineJätka »
Wiseh. Though I do not like Mr. Lovegood and his doctrines, yet I do not think either he or any of his sect are quite so bad as you make them out; he certainly is very charitable in his parish. I wonder how he can do so much, for they say his living is but very small; and he has an increasing family.
Spitef. Ah! but I'll warrant it is Mr. Worthy's purse that helps him out ; they don't mind their money, provided they can but bribe pecple to be of their religion.
Consid. Why is it, then, Sir, that you cannot get Mr. Bluster to bribe some people, after the same manner, to be of your religion; for whenever
you preach, it seems, yours is but a very little flock.
Spitef. I do not mind your sneers, Sir, but I have not half done yet; for there is Mr. Feigning, Mr. Worthy's steward, a rascal; and then I have heard a fine story of Mrs. Fairspeech, a drunken sow.
Consid. Sir, you need not spend your breath on such subjects: for hypocrites there always were, and always will be; but nothing can be more cruel and unjust, than to charge the crimes of hypocrites on those who are upright and sincere.
Thus Mr. Spiteful was proceeding in the most vehement manner, and in which he would probably have proceeded for a considerable while longer, had he not been interrupted by his servant, who was sent after him from his house at Mapleton to Madam Toogood's, with the following letter: REV. SIR,
Wednesday Noon. With great difficulty, I yesterday came from Revel Hall in Mr. Bluster's chaise. On Sunday after the second service, I went to his house, according to appointment, that I might be present on Monday
at the coursing match. My mare, you know, is rather spirited, and every now and then the young sparks that were there, smacked their whips and
gave her a cut; and, you know, if we, of our order, choose to keep company with the great, we must submit to such rubs as these. However so it was, that while we were all on the full speed, on a chace, my mare with the rest of the company, attempted to clear a wide ditch, but missed her aim, and left me behind her. I unfortunately fell head-foremost, and must soon have been suffocated in the mud and water, had not the game keeper, with the assistance of others, with great difficulty pulled me out. It was a fortunate circumstance that the bottom of the ditch was so soft, otherwise I must have been more severely bruised by the fall; but I still feel myself so much hurt, about the neck and shoulders, that I can scarcely sit upon my bed to write these few lines, to request you to undertake my duty for me, till I am recovered; or till the return of my curate, Mr. Brisk, who is gone with Lord Rakish to Gambleton races, and who has some hopes of preferment from that quarter. I expect him to return in about a week or ten days, when I shall release you from all further trouble.
I was engaged this evening to give the sacrament to Mrs. Formal, who is not likely to live many days: if you will call upon her and perform that office for me, you will much oblige your humble servant,
P. S. I could avail myself of the assistance of Mr. Goodman; but, as I have reason to believe, he has of late had a strong bias in favour of Mr. Love. good's notions in religion, I should be much afraid to lend him my pulpit.”
Mr. Spiteful having read the letter to himself, exclaims:
Oh, poor Mr. Dolittle, he has met with a dreadful fall from his horse, and he wants me to administer the sacrament to Mrs. Formal, who is supposed to be near death. What can I do? I must go away di. rectly.
Madam Toog. Why, Sir, you are not prepared : you can't go away from the card table to administer the holy sacrament?
Spitef. Well, I cannot help it, I must take it as I find it; I wish I had been at something else.
[Mr. Wisehead, twisting his thumbs one over the other, sat and said nothing. ]
Madam Toog. But, I hope, Sir, nothing material has happened to Mr. Dolittle': do stop awhile and tell us before you go : if it is not too bold, I should be glad to know what he says of this unfortunate accident.
Spitef. Well, well, as the whole of it must soon be known, far and wide, you may take and read it, if you like.
(The letter iş hạnded to Madam Toogood, and she gives it to Miss Prateapace.].
Medam Toog. Becky Prateapace, my dear, will you read it? My eyes are got yery dim, and I don't like to read by caridle light. "[The letter is read out.]
Madam. Toog. O, poor gentleman! but Mr. Spiteful, did you not hear of it before Mapleton?
Spitef. I heard that he had a bad fall from his horse.
Consid. Hear of it, madam? I suppose it is all the town over by now. But as Mr. Spiteful had so much to say against Mr. Lovegood, I thought I would have the less to say against Mr. Dolittle ; especially, as you so much admire him as a minister.
Madam Toog. Why, to be sure, Sir, he is an excellent man in the pulpit.
Consid. A thousand pities, madam, if that be the case, but that he should always be kept in it, and never let out again, when he is once found there. In my opinion, however a bad man out of the pulpit, can never be a good man in the pulpit.
Madam Toog. I am very sorry Mr. Dolittle should have been so let down.
Consid. Why, by all accounts, he has been completely, let down, and let down more than once on the same unfortunate day ; for after the Rector was with some difficulty heaved out of the ditch, neither his hat nor wig could be found for a considerable time, as they were both driven so deep into the mire.
Madam Toog. Dear Sir, I hope the Rector was not obliged to ride home without his hať and wig.
Consid. Why, ma'am, as good luck would have it, there was an old woman gathering some sticks, up and down the hedge, and after she had lent a helping hand to scrape off some of the dirt, she next kindly took her red cloak from off her own back, and put it round Mr. Dolittle's head and shoulders : but as for his riding home, that was quite out of the question, for as 2002 as his mare found herself at liberty, she took to her heels, and soon arrived at her own stable door at Mapleton : and that first gave the alarm to the town, to see the mare return with her saddle and bridle, and without her master. Be
sides, had the mare stopped for her master, he was too much bruised to mount her again.
Madam Toog. Poor gentleman, how did he get home?
Consid. Why, if not in a very creditable, yet as it then proved a very convenient carriage. It was in a dung cart, madam, which happened just then to be employed in carrying dung into some of the neighbouring fields.
Madam Toog. O dear! why did they not send to Mapleton for a chaise ? or wby could not Mr. Bluster have sent home for his chaise? I would have socner parted with twenty pounds out of my pocket than that he should have been carried in that manner.
Consid. Why, madam, would you have had him to have continued trembling and quaking all over mud and dirt, in the cold till a chaise could have been brought? How could they do better, under such circumstances, than to put the Rector in the cart, and then drive him home as fast as he could bear it ? though to be sure, had he been brought home in a chaise, he would have escaped his second let down.
Madam Toog. Dear Sir, what was that? it quite frightens me. Becky Prateapace, reach me my smelling bottle. [The old lady takes a snift.]
Consid. Why, you know, madam, calamities of this sort seldom come alone, and so it happened now; for the Rector was first hoisted into the cart and seated on the old woman's bundle of sticks, while she sat on the one side, and Mr. Bluster's servant on the other as his supporters. Thus he røde to Revel Hall, shivering with cold, and groaning with pain, all the time; but, through the carelessness of the plough boy, who drove the cart, which was made to tilt the dung into the field, (not having properly attended to the pin) while they were preparing to heave the