An interview between parson Adams and parson Trulliber.
Parson Adams came to the house of parson Trulliber, whom he found stript into his waistcoat, with an apron on, and a pail in his hand, just come from serving his hogs; for Mr Trulliber was a parson on Sundays, but all the other six might more properly be called a farmer. He occupied a small piece of land of his own, besides which he rented a considerable deal more. His wife milked his cows, managed his dairy, and followed the markets with butter and eggs. The hogs fell chiefly to his care, which he carefully waited on at home, and attended to fairs; on which occasion he was liable to many jokes, his own size being, with much ale, rendered little inferior to that of the beasts he sold. He was indeed one of the largest men you should see, and could have acted the part of Sir John Falstaff without stuffing. Add to this that the rotundity of his belly was considerably increased by the shortness of his stature, his shadow ascending very near as far in height, when he lay on his back, as when he stood on his legs. His voice was loud and hoarse, and his accents extremely broad. To complete the whole, he had a stateliness in his gait, when he walked, not unlike that of a goose, only he stalked slower.
Mr Trulliber, being informed that somebody wanted to speak with him, immediately slipt off his apron and clothed himself in an old night-gown, being the dress in which he always saw his company at home. His wife, who informed him of Mr Adams's arrival, had made a small mistake; for she had told her husband, "She believed there was a man come for some of his hogs." This supposition made Mr Trulliber hasten with the utmost expedition to attend his guest. He no sooner saw Adams than, not in the least doubting the cause of his errand to be what his wife had imagined, he told him, "He was come in very good time; that he expected a dealer that very afternoon;" and added, "they were all pure and fat, and upwards of twenty score a-piece." Adams answered, "He believed he did not know him." "Yes, yes," cried Trulliber, "I have seen you often at fair; why, we have dealt before now, mun, I warrant you. Yes, yes," cries he, "I remember thy face very well, but won't mention a word more till you have seen them, though I have never sold thee a flitch of such bacon as is now in the stye." Upon which he laid violent hands on Adams, and dragged him into the hog-stye, which was indeed but two steps from his parlour window. They were no sooner arrived there than he cry'd out, "Do but handle them! step in, friend! art welcome to handle them, whether dost buy or no." At which words, opening the gate, he pushed Adams into the pig-stye, insisting on it that he should handle them before he would talk one word with him.
Adams, whose natural complacence was beyond any artificial, was obliged to comply before he was suffered to explain himself; and, laying hold on one of their tails, the unruly beast gave such a sudden spring, that he threw poor Adams all along in the mire. Trulliber, instead of assisting him to get up, burst into a laughter, and, entering the stye, said to Adams, with some contempt, "Why, dost not know how to handle a hog?" and was going to lay hold of one himself, but Adams, who thought he had carried his complacence far enough, was no sooner on his legs than he escaped out of the reach of the animals, and cried out, "Nihil habeo cum porcis: I am a clergyman, sir, and am not come to buy hogs." Trulliber answered, "He was sorry for the mistake, but that he must blame his wife," adding, "she was a fool, and always committed blunders." He then desired him to walk in and clean himself, that he would only fasten up the stye and follow him. Adams desired leave to dry his greatcoat, wig, and hat by the fire, which Trulliber granted. Mrs Trulliber would have brought him a basin of water to wash his face, but her husband bid her be quiet like a fool as she was, or she would commit more blunders, and then directed Adams to the pump. While Adams was thus employed, Trulliber, conceiving no great respect for the appearance of his guest, fastened the parlour door, and now conducted him into the kitchen, telling him he believed a cup of drink would do him no harm, and whispered his wife to draw a little of the worst ale. After a short silence Adams said, "I fancy, sir, you already perceive me to be a clergyman."—"Ay, ay," cries Trulliber, grinning, "I perceive you have some cassock; I will not venture to caale it a whole one." Adams answered, "It was indeed none of the best, but he had the misfortune to tear it about ten years ago in passing over a stile." Mrs Trulliber, returning with the drink, told her husband, "She fancied the gentleman was a traveller, and that he would be glad to eat a bit." Trulliber bid her hold her impertinent tongue, and asked her, "If parsons used to travel without horses?" adding, "he supposed the gentleman had none by his having no boots on."—"Yes, sir, yes," says Adams; "I have a horse, but I have left him behind me."—"I am glad to hear you have one," says Trulliber; "for I assure you I don't love to see clergymen on foot; it is not seemly nor suiting the dignity of the cloth." Here Trulliber made a long oration on the dignity of the cloth (or rather gown) not much worth relating, till his wife had spread the table and set a mess of porridge on it for his breakfast. He then said to Adams, "I don't know, friend, how you came to caale on me; however, as you are here, if you think proper to eat a morsel, you may." Adams accepted the invitation, and the two parsons sat down together; Mrs Trulliber waiting behind her husband's chair, as was, it seems, her custom. Trulliber eat heartily, but scarce put anything in his mouth without finding fault with his wife's cookery. All which the poor woman bore patiently. Indeed, she was so absolute an admirer of her husband's greatness and importance, of which she had frequent hints from his own mouth, that she almost carried her adoration to an opinion of his infallibility. To say the truth, the parson had exercised her more ways than one; and the pious woman had so well edified by her husband's sermons, that she had resolved to receive the bad things of this world together with the good. She had indeed been at first a little contentious; but he had long since got the better; partly by her love for this, partly by her fear of that, partly by her religion, partly by the respect he paid himself, and partly by that which he received from the parish. She had, in short, absolutely submitted, and now worshipped her husband, as Sarah did Abraham, calling him (not lord, but) master. Whilst they were at table her husband gave her a fresh example of his greatness; for, as she had just delivered a cup of ale to Adams, he snatched it out of his hand, and, crying out, "I caal'd vurst," swallowed down the ale. Adams denied it; it was referred to the wife, who, though her conscience was on the side of Adams, durst not give it against her husband; upon which he said, "No, sir, no; I should not have been so rude to have taken it from you if you had caal'd vurst, but I'd have you know I'm a better man than to suffer the best he in the kingdom to drink before me in my own house when I caale vurst."
As soon as their breakfast was ended, Adams began in the following manner: "I think, sir, it is high time to inform you of the business of my embassy. I am a traveller, and am passing this way in company with two young people, a lad and a damsel, my parishioners, towards my own cure; we stopt at a house of hospitality in the parish, where they directed me to you as having the cure."—"Though I am but a curate," says Trulliber, "I believe I am as warm as the vicar himself, or perhaps the rector of the next parish too; I believe I could buy them both."—"Sir," cries Adams, "I rejoice thereat. Now, sir, my business is, that we are by various accidents stript of our money, and are not able to pay our reckoning, being seven shillings. I therefore request you to assist me with the loan of those seven shillings, and also seven shillings more, which, peradventure, I shall return to you; but if not, I am convinced you will joyfully embrace such an opportunity of laying up a treasure in a better place than any this world affords."
Suppose a stranger, who entered the chambers of a lawyer, being imagined a client, when the lawyer was preparing his palm for the fee, should pull out a writ against him. Suppose an apothecary, at the door of a chariot containing some great doctor of eminent skill, should, instead of directions to a patient, present him with a potion for himself. Suppose a minister should, instead of a good round sum, treat my lord ——, or sir ——, or esq. —— with a good broomstick. Suppose a civil companion, or a led captain, should, instead of virtue, and honour, and beauty, and parts, and admiration, thunder vice, and infamy, and ugliness, and folly, and contempt, in his patron's ears. Suppose, when a tradesman first carries in his bill, the man of fashion should pay it; or suppose, if he did so, the tradesman should abate what he had overcharged, on the supposition of waiting. In short—suppose what you will, you never can nor will suppose anything equal to the astonishment which seized on Trulliber, as soon as Adams had ended his speech. A while he rolled his eyes in silence; sometimes surveying Adams, then his wife; then casting them on the ground, then lifting them up to heaven. At last he burst forth in the following accents: "Sir, I believe I know where to lay up my little treasure as well as another. I thank G—, if I am not so warm as some, I am content; that is a blessing greater than riches; and he to whom that is given need ask no more. To be content with a little is greater than to possess the world; which a man may possess without being so. Lay up my treasure! what matters where a man's treasure is whose heart is in the Scriptures? there is the treasure of a Christian." At these words the water ran from Adams's eyes; and, catching Trulliber by the hand in a rapture, "Brother," says he, "heavens bless the accident by which I came to see you! I would have walked many a mile to have communed with you; and, believe me, I will shortly pay you a second visit; but my friends, I fancy, by this time, wonder at my stay; so let me have the money immediately." Trulliber then put on a stern look, and cried out, "Thou dost not intend to rob me?" At which the wife, bursting into tears, fell on her knees and roared out, "O dear sir! for Heaven's sake don't rob my master; we are but poor people." "Get up, for a fool as thou art, and go about thy business," said Trulliber; "dost think the man will venture his life? he is a beggar, and no robber." "Very true, indeed," answered Adams. "I wish, with all my heart, the tithing-man was here," cries Trulliber; "I would have thee punished as a vagabond for thy impudence. Fourteen shillings indeed! I won't give thee a farthing. I believe thou art no more a clergyman than the woman there" (pointing to his wife); "but if thou art, dost deserve to have thy gown stript over thy shoulders for running about the country in such a manner." "I forgive your suspicions," says Adams; "but suppose I am not a clergyman, I am nevertheless thy brother; and thou, as a Christian, much more as a clergyman, art obliged to relieve my distress." "Dost preach to me?" replied Trulliber; "dost pretend to instruct me in my duty?" "Ifacks, a good story," cries Mrs Trulliber, "to preach to my master." "Silence, woman," cries Trulliber. "I would have thee know, friend" (addressing himself to Adams), "I shall not learn my duty from such as thee. I know what charity is, better than to give to vagabonds." "Besides, if we were inclined, the poor's rate obliges us to give so much charity," cries the wife. "Pugh! thou art a fool. Poor's reate! Hold thy nonsense," answered Trulliber; and then, turning to Adams, he told him, "he would give him nothing." "I am sorry," answered Adams, "that you do know what charity is, since you practise it no better: I must tell you, if you trust to your knowledge for your justification, you will find yourself deceived, though you should add faith to it, without good works." "Fellow," cries Trulliber, "dost thou speak against faith in my house? Get out of my doors: I will no longer remain under the same roof with a wretch who speaks wantonly of faith and the Scriptures." "Name not the Scriptures," says Adams. "How! not name the Scriptures! Do you disbelieve the Scriptures?" cries Trulliber. "No; but you do," answered Adams, "if I may reason from your practice; for their commands are so explicit, and their rewards and punishments so immense, that it is impossible a man should stedfastly believe without obeying. Now, there is no command more express, no duty more frequently enjoined, than charity. Whoever, therefore, is void of charity, I make no scruple of pronouncing that he is no Christian." "I would not advise thee," says Trulliber, "to say that I am no Christian: I won't take it of you; for I believe I am as good a man as thyself" (and indeed, though he was now rather too corpulent for athletic exercises, he had, in his youth, been one of the best boxers and cudgel-players in the county). His wife, seeing him clench his fist, interposed, and begged him not to fight, but show himself a true Christian, and take the law of him. As nothing could provoke Adams to strike, but an absolute assault on himself or his friend, he smiled at the angry look and gestures of Trulliber; and, telling him he was sorry to see such men in orders, departed without further ceremony.
An adventure, the consequence of a new instance which parson Adams gave of his forgetfulness.
When he came back to the inn he found Joseph and Fanny sitting together. They were so far from thinking his absence long, as he had feared they would, that they never once missed or thought of him. Indeed, I have been often assured by both, that they spent these hours in a most delightful conversation; but, as I never could prevail on either to relate it, so I cannot communicate it to the reader.
Adams acquainted the lovers with the ill success of his enterprize. They were all greatly confounded, none being able to propose any method of departing, till Joseph at last advised calling in the hostess, and desiring her to trust them; which Fanny said she despaired of her doing, as she was one of the sourest-faced women she had ever beheld.
But she was agreeably disappointed; for the hostess was no sooner asked the question than she readily agreed; and, with a curtsy and smile, wished them a good journey. However, lest Fanny's skill in physiognomy should be called in question, we will venture to assign one reason which might probably incline her to this confidence and good-humour. When Adams said he was going to visit his brother, he had unwittingly imposed on Joseph and Fanny, who both believed he had meant his natural brother, and not his brother in divinity, and had so informed the hostess, on her enquiry after him. Now Mr Trulliber had, by his professions of piety, by his gravity, austerity, reserve, and the opinion of his great wealth, so great an authority in his parish, that they all lived in the utmost fear and apprehension of him. It was therefore no wonder that the hostess, who knew it was in his option whether she should ever sell another mug of drink, did not dare to affront his supposed brother by denying him credit.
They were now just on their departure when Adams recollected he had left his greatcoat and hat at Mr Trulliber's. As he was not desirous of renewing his visit, the hostess herself, having no servant at home, offered to fetch it.
This was an unfortunate expedient; for the hostess was soon undeceived in the opinion she had entertained of Adams, whom Trulliber abused in the grossest terms, especially when he heard he had had the assurance to pretend to be his near relation.
At her return, therefore, she entirely changed her note. She said, "Folks might be ashamed of travelling about, and pretending to be what they were not. That taxes were high, and for her part she was obliged to pay for what she had; she could not therefore possibly, nor would she, trust anybody; no, not her own father. That money was never scarcer, and she wanted to make up a sum. That she expected, therefore, they should pay their reckoning before they left the house."
Adams was now greatly perplexed; but, as he knew that he could easily have borrowed such a sum in his own parish, and as he knew he would have lent it himself to any mortal in distress, so he took fresh courage, and sallied out all round the parish, but to no purpose; he returned as pennyless as he went, groaning and lamenting that it was possible, in a country professing Christianity, for a wretch to starve in the midst of his fellow-creatures who abounded.
Whilst he was gone, the hostess, who stayed as a sort of guard with Joseph and Fanny, entertained them with the goodness of parson Trulliber. And, indeed, he had not only a very good character as to other qualities in the neighbourhood, but was reputed a man of great charity; for, though he never gave a farthing, he had always that word in his mouth.
Adams was no sooner returned the second time than the storm grew exceedingly high, the hostess declaring, among other things, that, if they offered to stir without paying her, she would soon overtake them with a warrant.
Plato and Aristotle, or somebody else, hath said, that when the most exquisite cunning fails, chance often hits the mark, and that by means the least expected. Virgil expresses this very boldly:—
Turne, quod optanti divum promittere nemo Auderet, volvenda dies, en! attulit ultro.
I would quote more great men if I could; but my memory not permitting me, I will proceed to exemplify these observations by the following instance:—
There chanced (for Adams had not cunning enough to contrive it) to be at that time in the alehouse a fellow who had been formerly a drummer in an Irish regiment, and now travelled the country as a pedlar. This man, having attentively listened to the discourse of the hostess, at last took Adams aside, and asked him what the sum was for which they were detained. As soon as he was informed, he sighed, and said, "He was sorry it was so much; for that he had no more than six shillings and sixpence in his pocket, which he would lend them with all his heart." Adams gave a caper, and cry'd out, "It would do; for that he had sixpence himself." And thus these poor people, who could not engage the compassion of riches and piety, were at length delivered out of their distress by the charity of a poor pedlar.
I shall refer it to my reader to make what observations he pleases on this incident: it is sufficient for me to inform him that, after Adams and his companions had returned him a thousand thanks, and told him where he might call to be repaid, they all sallied out of the house without any compliments from their hostess, or indeed without paying her any; Adams declaring he would take particular care never to call there again; and she on her side assuring them she wanted no such guests.
A very curious adventure, in which Mr Adams gave a much greater instance of the honest simplicity of his heart, than of his experience in the ways of this world.
Our travellers had walked about two miles from that inn, which they had more reason to have mistaken for a castle than Don Quixote ever had any of those in which he sojourned, seeing they had met with such difficulty in escaping out of its walls, when they came to a parish, and beheld a sign of invitation hanging out. A gentleman sat smoaking a pipe at the door, of whom Adams inquired the road, and received so courteous and obliging an answer, accompanied with so smiling a countenance, that the good parson, whose heart was naturally disposed to love and affection, began to ask several other questions; particularly the name of the parish, and who was the owner of a large house whose front they then had in prospect. The gentleman answered as obligingly as before; and as to the house, acquainted him it was his own. He then proceeded in the following manner: "Sir, I presume by your habit you are a clergyman; and as you are travelling on foot I suppose a glass of good beer will not be disagreeable to you; and I can recommend my landlord's within as some of the best in all this country. What say you, will you halt a little and let us take a pipe together? there is no better tobacco in the kingdom." This proposal was not displeasing to Adams, who had allayed his thirst that day with no better liquor than what Mrs Trulliber's cellar had produced; and which was indeed little superior, either in richness or flavour, to that which distilled from those grains her generous husband bestowed on his hogs. Having, therefore, abundantly thanked the gentleman for his kind invitation, and bid Joseph and Fanny follow him, he entered the alehouse, where a large loaf and cheese and a pitcher of beer, which truly answered the character given of it, being set before them, the three travellers fell to eating, with appetites infinitely more voracious than are to be found at the most exquisite eating-houses in the parish of St. James's.
The gentleman expressed great delight in the hearty and cheerful behaviour of Adams; and particularly in the familiarity with which he conversed with Joseph and Fanny, whom he often called his children; a term he explained to mean no more than his parishioners; saying, "He looked on all those whom God had intrusted to his care to stand to him in that relation." The gentleman, shaking him by the hand, highly applauded those sentiments. "They are, indeed," says he, "the true principles of a Christian divine; and I heartily wish they were universal; but, on the contrary, I am sorry to say the parson of our parish, instead of esteeming his poor parishioners as a part of his family, seems rather to consider them as not of the same species with himself. He seldom speaks to any, unless some few of the richest of us; nay, indeed, he will not move his hat to the others. I often laugh when I behold him on Sundays strutting along the churchyard like a turkey-cock through rows of his parishioners, who bow to him with as much submission, and are as unregarded, as a set of servile courtiers by the proudest prince in Christendom. But if such temporal pride is ridiculous, surely the spiritual is odious and detestable; if such a puffed—up empty human bladder, strutting in princely robes, justly moves one's derision, surely in the habit of a priest it must raise our scorn."
"Doubtless," answered Adams, "your opinion is right; but I hope such examples are rare. The clergy whom I have the honour to know maintain a different behaviour; and you will allow me, sir, that the readiness which too many of the laity show to contemn the order may be one reason of their avoiding too much humility." "Very true, indeed," says the gentleman; "I find, sir, you are a man of excellent sense, and am happy in this opportunity of knowing you; perhaps our accidental meeting may not be disadvantageous to you neither. At present I shall only say to you that the incumbent of this living is old and infirm, and that it is in my gift. Doctor, give me your hand; and assure yourself of it at his decease." Adams told him, "He was never more confounded in his life than at his utter incapacity to make any return to such noble and unmerited generosity." "A mere trifle, sir," cries the gentleman, "scarce worth your acceptance; a little more than three hundred a year. I wish it was double the value for your sake." Adams bowed, and cried from the emotions of his gratitude; when the other asked him, "If he was married, or had any children, besides those in the spiritual sense he had mentioned." "Sir," replied the parson, "I have a wife and six at your service." "That is unlucky," says the gentleman; "for I would otherwise have taken you into my own house as my chaplain; however, I have another in the parish (for the parsonage-house is not good enough), which I will furnish for you. Pray, does your wife understand a dairy?" "I can't profess she does," says Adams. "I am sorry for it," quoth the gentleman; "I would have given you half-a-dozen cows, and very good grounds to have maintained them." "Sir," said Adams, in an ecstasy, "you are too liberal; indeed you are." "Not at all," cries the gentleman: "I esteem riches only as they give me an opportunity of doing good; and I never saw one whom I had a greater inclination to serve." At which words he shook him heartily by the hand, and told him he had sufficient room in his house to entertain him and his friends. Adams begged he might give him no such trouble; that they could be very well accommodated in the house where they were; forgetting they had not a sixpenny piece among them. The gentleman would not be denied; and, informing himself how far they were travelling, he said it was too long a journey to take on foot, and begged that they would favour him by suffering him to lend them a servant and horses; adding, withal, that, if they would do him the pleasure of their company only two days, he would furnish them with his coach and six. Adams, turning to Joseph, said, "How lucky is this gentleman's goodness to you, who I am afraid would be scarce able to hold out on your lame leg!" and then, addressing the person who made him these liberal promises, after much bowing, he cried out, "Blessed be the hour which first introduced me to a man of your charity! you are indeed a Christian of the true primitive kind, and an honour to the country wherein you live. I would willingly have taken a pilgrimage to the Holy Land to have beheld you; for the advantages which we draw from your goodness give me little pleasure, in comparison of what I enjoy for your own sake when I consider the treasures you are by these means laying up for yourself in a country that passeth not away. We will therefore, most generous sir, accept your goodness, as well the entertainment you have so kindly offered us at your house this evening, as the accommodation of your horses to-morrow morning." He then began to search for his hat, as did Joseph for his; and both they and Fanny were in order of departure, when the gentleman, stopping short, and seeming to meditate by himself for the space of about a minute, exclaimed thus: "Sure never anything was so unlucky; I had forgot that my house-keeper was gone abroad, and hath locked up all my rooms; indeed, I would break them open for you, but shall not be able to furnish you with a bed; for she has likewise put away all my linen. I am glad it entered into my head before I had given you the trouble of walking there; besides, I believe you will find better accommodations here than you expected.—Landlord, you can provide good beds for these people, can't you?" "Yes, and please your worship," cries the host, "and such as no lord or justice of the peace in the kingdom need be ashamed to lie in." "I am heartily sorry," says the gentleman, "for this disappointment. I am resolved I will never suffer her to carry away the keys again." "Pray, sir, let it not make you uneasy," cries Adams; "we shall do very well here; and the loan of your horses is a favour we shall be incapable of making any return to." "Ay!" said the squire, "the horses shall attend you here at what hour in the morning you please;" and now, after many civilities too tedious to enumerate, many squeezes by the hand, with most affectionate looks and smiles at each other, and after appointing the horses at seven the next morning, the gentleman took his leave of them, and departed to his own house. Adams and his companions returned to the table, where the parson smoaked another pipe, and then they all retired to rest.
Mr Adams rose very early, and called Joseph out of his bed, between whom a very fierce dispute ensued, whether Fanny should ride behind Joseph, or behind the gentleman's servant; Joseph insisting on it that he was perfectly recovered, and was as capable of taking care of Fanny as any other person could be. But Adams would not agree to it, and declared he would not trust her behind him; for that he was weaker than he imagined himself to be.
This dispute continued a long time, and had begun to be very hot, when a servant arrived from their good friend, to acquaint them that he was unfortunately prevented from lending them any horses; for that his groom had, unknown to him, put his whole stable under a course of physic.
This advice presently struck the two disputants dumb: Adams cried out, "Was ever anything so unlucky as this poor gentleman? I protest I am more sorry on his account than my own. You see, Joseph, how this good-natured man is treated by his servants; one locks up his linen, another physics his horses, and I suppose, by his being at this house last night, the butler had locked up his cellar. Bless us! how good-nature is used in this world! I protest I am more concerned on his account than my own." "So am not I," cries Joseph; "not that I am much troubled about walking on foot; all my concern is, how we shall get out of the house, unless God sends another pedlar to redeem us. But certainly this gentleman has such an affection for you, that he would lend you a larger sum than we owe here, which is not above four or five shillings." "Very true, child," answered Adams; "I will write a letter to him, and will even venture to solicit him for three half-crowns; there will be no harm in having two or three shillings in our pockets; as we have full forty miles to travel, we may possibly have occasion for them."
Fanny being now risen, Joseph paid her a visit, and left Adams to write his letter, which having finished, he despatched a boy with it to the gentleman, and then seated himself by the door, lighted his pipe, and betook himself to meditation.
The boy staying longer than seemed to be necessary, Joseph, who with Fanny was now returned to the parson, expressed some apprehensions that the gentleman's steward had locked up his purse too. To which Adams answered, "It might very possibly be, and he should wonder at no liberties which the devil might put into the head of a wicked servant to take with so worthy a master;" but added, "that, as the sum was so small, so noble a gentleman would be easily able to procure it in the parish, though he had it not in his own pocket. Indeed," says he, "if it was four or five guineas, or any such large quantity of money, it might be a different matter."
They were now sat down to breakfast over some toast and ale, when the boy returned and informed them that the gentleman was not at home. "Very well!" cries Adams; "but why, child, did you not stay till his return? Go back again, my good boy, and wait for his coming home; he cannot be gone far, as his horses are all sick; and besides, he had no intention to go abroad, for he invited us to spend this day and tomorrow at his house. Therefore go back, child, and tarry till his return home." The messenger departed, and was back again with great expedition, bringing an account that the gentleman was gone a long journey, and would not be at home again this month. At these words Adams seemed greatly confounded, saying, "This must be a sudden accident, as the sickness or death of a relation or some such unforeseen misfortune;" and then, turning to Joseph, cried, "I wish you had reminded me to have borrowed this money last night." Joseph, smiling, answered, "He was very much deceived if the gentleman would not have found some excuse to avoid lending it.—I own," says he, "I was never much pleased with his professing so much kindness for you at first sight; for I have heard the gentlemen of our cloth in London tell many such stories of their masters. But when the boy brought the message back of his not being at home, I presently knew what would follow; for, whenever a man of fashion doth not care to fulfil his promises, the custom is to order his servants that he will never be at home to the person so promised. In London they call it denying him. I have myself denied Sir Thomas Booby above a hundred times, and when the man hath danced attendance for about a month or sometimes longer, he is acquainted in the end that the gentleman is gone out of town and could do nothing in the business."—"Good Lord!" says Adams, "what wickedness is there in the Christian world! I profess almost equal to what I have read of the heathens. But surely, Joseph, your suspicions of this gentleman must be unjust, for what a silly fellow must he be who would do the devil's work for nothing! and canst thou tell me any interest he could possibly propose to himself by deceiving us in his professions?"—"It is not for me," answered Joseph, "to give reasons for what men do, to a gentleman of your learning."—"You say right," quoth Adams; "knowledge of men is only to be learned from books; Plato and Seneca for that; and those are authors, I am afraid, child, you never read."—"Not I, sir, truly," answered Joseph; "all I know is, it is a maxim among the gentlemen of our cloth, that those masters who promise the most perform the least; and I have often heard them say they have found the largest vails in those families where they were not promised any. But, sir, instead of considering any farther these matters, it would be our wisest way to contrive some method of getting out of this house; for the generous gentleman, instead of doing us any service, hath left us the whole reckoning to pay." Adams was going to answer, when their host came in, and, with a kind of jeering smile, said, "Well, masters! the squire hath not sent his horses for you yet. Laud help me! how easily some folks make promises!"—"How!" says Adams; "have you ever known him do anything of this kind before?"—"Ay! marry have I," answered the host: "it is no business of mine, you know, sir, to say anything to a gentleman to his face; but now he is not here, I will assure you, he hath not his fellow within the three next market-towns. I own I could not help laughing when I heard him offer you the living, for thereby hangs a good jest. I thought he would have offered you my house next, for one is no more his to dispose of than the other." At these words Adams, blessing himself, declared, "He had never read of such a monster. But what vexes me most," says he, "is, that he hath decoyed us into running up a long debt with you, which we are not able to pay, for we have no money about us, and, what is worse, live at such a distance, that if you should trust us, I am afraid you would lose your money for want of our finding any conveniency of sending it."—"Trust you, master!" says the host, "that I will with all my heart. I honour the clergy too much to deny trusting one of them for such a trifle; besides, I like your fear of never paying me. I have lost many a debt in my lifetime, but was promised to be paid them all in a very short time. I will score this reckoning for the novelty of it. It is the first, I do assure you, of its kind. But what say you, master, shall we have t'other pot before we part? It will waste but a little chalk more, and if you never pay me a shilling the loss will not ruin me." Adams liked the invitation very well, especially as it was delivered with so hearty an accent. He shook his host by the hand, and thanking him, said, "He would tarry another pot rather for the pleasure of such worthy company than for the liquor;" adding, "he was glad to find some Christians left in the kingdom, for that he almost began to suspect that he was sojourning in a country inhabited only by Jews and Turks."
The kind host produced the liquor, and Joseph with Fanny retired into the garden, where, while they solaced themselves with amorous discourse, Adams sat down with his host; and, both filling their glasses, and lighting their pipes, they began that dialogue which the reader will find in the next chapter.
A dialogue between Mr Abraham Adams and his host, which, by the disagreement in their opinions, seemed to threaten an unlucky catastrophe, had it not been timely prevented by the return of the lovers.
"Sir," said the host, "I assure you you are not the first to whom our squire hath promised more than he hath performed. He is so famous for this practice, that his word will not be taken for much by those who know him. I remember a young fellow whom he promised his parents to make an exciseman. The poor people, who could ill afford it, bred their son to writing and accounts, and other learning to qualify him for the place; and the boy held up his head above his condition with these hopes; nor would he go to plough, nor to any other kind of work, and went constantly drest as fine as could be, with two clean Holland shirts a week, and this for several years; till at last he followed the squire up to London, thinking there to mind him of his promises; but he could never get sight of him. So that, being out of money and business, he fell into evil company and wicked courses; and in the end came to a sentence of transportation, the news of which broke the mother's heart.—I will tell you another true story of him. There was a neighbour of mine, a farmer, who had two sons whom he bred up to the business. Pretty lads they were. Nothing would serve the squire but that the youngest must be made a parson. Upon which he persuaded the father to send him to school, promising that he would afterwards maintain him at the university, and, when he was of a proper age, give him a living. But after the lad had been seven years at school, and his father brought him to the squire, with a letter from his master that he was fit for the university, the squire, instead of minding his promise, or sending him thither at his expense, only told his father that the young man was a fine scholar, and it was pity he could not afford to keep him at Oxford for four or five years more, by which time, if he could get him a curacy, he might have him ordained. The farmer said, 'He was not a man sufficient to do any such thing.'—'Why, then,' answered the squire, 'I am very sorry you have given him so much learning; for, if he cannot get his living by that, it will rather spoil him for anything else; and your other son, who can hardly write his name, will do more at ploughing and sowing, and is in a better condition, than he.' And indeed so it proved; for the poor lad, not finding friends to maintain him in his learning, as he had expected, and being unwilling to work, fell to drinking, though he was a very sober lad before; and in a short time, partly with grief, and partly with good liquor, fell into a consumption, and died.—Nay, I can tell you more still: there was another, a young woman, and the handsomest in all this neighbourhood, whom he enticed up to London, promising to make her a gentlewoman to one of your women of quality; but, instead of keeping his word, we have since heard, after having a child by her himself, she became a common whore; then kept a coffeehouse in Covent Garden; and a little after died of the French distemper in a gaol.—I could tell you many more stories; but how do you imagine he served me myself? You must know, sir, I was bred a seafaring man, and have been many voyages; till at last I came to be master of a ship myself, and was in a fair way of making a fortune, when I was attacked by one of those cursed guarda-costas who took our ships before the beginning of the war; and after a fight, wherein I lost the greater part of my crew, my rigging being all demolished, and two shots received between wind and water, I was forced to strike. The villains carried off my ship, a brigantine of 150 tons—a pretty creature she was—and put me, a man, and a boy, into a little bad pink, in which, with much ado, we at last made Falmouth; though I believe the Spaniards did not imagine she could possibly live a day at sea. Upon my return hither, where my wife, who was of this country, then lived, the squire told me he was so pleased with the defence I had made against the enemy, that he did not fear getting me promoted to a lieutenancy of a man-of-war, if I would accept of it; which I thankfully assured him I would. Well, sir, two or three years passed, during which I had many repeated promises, not only from the squire, but (as he told me) from the lords of the admiralty. He never returned from London but I was assured I might be satisfied now, for I was certain of the first vacancy; and, what surprizes me still, when I reflect on it, these assurances were given me with no less confidence, after so many disappointments, than at first. At last, sir, growing weary, and somewhat suspicious, after so much delay, I wrote to a friend in London, who I knew had some acquaintance at the best house in the admiralty, and desired him to back the squire's interest; for indeed I feared he had solicited the affair with more coldness than he pretended. And what answer do you think my friend sent me? Truly, sir, he acquainted me that the squire had never mentioned my name at the admiralty in his life; and, unless I had much faithfuller interest, advised me to give over my pretensions; which I immediately did, and, with the concurrence of my wife, resolved to set up an alehouse, where you are heartily welcome; and so my service to you; and may the squire, and all such sneaking rascals, go to the devil together."—"O fie!" says Adams, "O fie! He is indeed a wicked man; but G— will, I hope, turn his heart to repentance. Nay, if he could but once see the meanness of this detestable vice; would he but once reflect that he is one of the most scandalous as well as pernicious lyars; sure he must despise himself to so intolerable a degree, that it would be impossible for him to continue a moment in such a course. And to confess the truth, notwithstanding the baseness of this character, which he hath too well deserved, he hath in his countenance sufficient symptoms of that bona indoles, that sweetness of disposition, which furnishes out a good Christian."—"Ah, master! master!" says the host, "if you had travelled as far as I have, and conversed with the many nations where I have traded, you would not give any credit to a man's countenance. Symptoms in his countenance, quotha! I would look there, perhaps, to see whether a man had the small-pox, but for nothing else." He spoke this with so little regard to the parson's observation, that it a good deal nettled him; and, taking the pipe hastily from his mouth, he thus answered: "Master of mine, perhaps I have travelled a great deal farther than you without the assistance of a ship. Do you imagine sailing by different cities or countries is travelling? No.
"Caelum non animum mutant qui trans mare currunt.
"I can go farther in an afternoon than you in a twelvemonth. What, I suppose you have seen the Pillars of Hercules, and perhaps the walls of Carthage. Nay, you may have heard Scylla, and seen Charybdis; you may have entered the closet where Archimedes was found at the taking of Syracuse. I suppose you have sailed among the Cyclades, and passed the famous straits which take their name from the unfortunate Helle, whose fate is sweetly described by Apollonius Rhodius; you have passed the very spot, I conceive, where Daedalus fell into that sea, his waxen wings being melted by the sun; you have traversed the Euxine sea, I make no doubt; nay, you may have been on the banks of the Caspian, and called at Colchis, to see if there is ever another golden fleece." "Not I, truly, master," answered the host: "I never touched at any of these places."—"But I have been at all these," replied Adams. "Then, I suppose," cries the host, "you have been at the East Indies; for there are no such, I will be sworn, either in the West or the Levant."—"Pray where's the Levant?" quoth Adams; "that should be in the East Indies by right." "Oho! you are a pretty traveller," cries the host, "and not know the Levant! My service to you, master; you must not talk of these things with me! you must not tip us the traveller; it won't go here." "Since thou art so dull to misunderstand me still," quoth Adams, "I will inform thee; the travelling I mean is in books, the only way of travelling by which any knowledge is to be acquired. From them I learn what I asserted just now, that nature generally imprints such a portraiture of the mind in the countenance, that a skilful physiognomist will rarely be deceived. I presume you have never read the story of Socrates to this purpose, and therefore I will tell it you. A certain physiognomist asserted of Socrates, that he plainly discovered by his features that he was a rogue in his nature. A character so contrary to the tenour of all this great man's actions, and the generally received opinion concerning him, incensed the boys of Athens so that they threw stones at the physiognomist, and would have demolished him for his ignorance, had not Socrates himself prevented them by confessing the truth of his observations, and acknowledging that, though he corrected his disposition by philosophy, he was indeed naturally as inclined to vice as had been predicated of him. Now, pray resolve me—How should a man know this story if he had not read it?" "Well, master," said the host, "and what signifies it whether a man knows it or no? He who goes abroad, as I have done, will always have opportunities enough of knowing the world without troubling his head with Socrates, or any such fellows." "Friend," cries Adams, "if a man should sail round the world, and anchor in every harbour of it, without learning, he would return home as ignorant as he went out." "Lord help you!" answered the host; "there was my boatswain, poor fellow! he could scarce either write or read, and yet he would navigate a ship with any master of a man-of-war; and a very pretty knowledge of trade he had too." "Trade," answered Adams, "as Aristotle proves in his first chapter of Politics, is below a philosopher, and unnatural as it is managed now." The host looked stedfastly at Adams, and after a minute's silence asked him, "If he was one of the writers of the Gazetteers? for I have heard," says he, "they are writ by parsons." "Gazetteers!" answered Adams, "what is that?" "It is a dirty newspaper," replied the host, "which hath been given away all over the nation for these many years, to abuse trade and honest men, which I would not suffer to lye on my table, though it hath been offered me for nothing." "Not I truly," said Adams; "I never write anything but sermons; and I assure you I am no enemy to trade, whilst it is consistent with honesty; nay, I have always looked on the tradesman as a very valuable member of society, and, perhaps, inferior to none but the man of learning." "No, I believe he is not, nor to him neither," answered the host. "Of what use would learning be in a country without trade? What would all you parsons do to clothe your backs and feed your bellies? Who fetches you your silks, and your linens, and your wines, and all the other necessaries of life? I speak chiefly with regard to the sailors." "You should say the extravagancies of life," replied the parson; "but admit they were the necessaries, there is something more necessary than life itself, which is provided by learning; I mean the learning of the clergy. Who clothes you with piety, meekness, humility, charity, patience, and all the other Christian virtues? Who feeds your souls with the milk of brotherly love, and diets them with all the dainty food of holiness, which at once cleanses them of all impure carnal affections, and fattens them with the truly rich spirit of grace? Who doth this?" "Ay, who, indeed?" cries the host; "for I do not remember ever to have seen any such clothing or such feeding. And so, in the mean time, master, my service to you." Adams was going to answer with some severity, when Joseph and Fanny returned and pressed his departure so eagerly that he would not refuse them; and so, grasping his crabstick, he took leave of his host (neither of them being so well pleased with each other as they had been at their first sitting down together), and with Joseph and Fanny, who both expressed much impatience, departed, and now all together renewed their journey.