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could not avoid whispering loud enough to be heard, that he had an infinite fund of humour.
After dinner, I began with my usual toast, the Church; for this I was thanked by the chaplain, as he said the Church was the only mistress of his affections.—« Come, . tell us honestly, Frank,» said the 'Squire, with his usual archness, « suppose the Church, your present mistress, dressed in lawn sleeves, on one hand, and Miss Sophia, with no lawn about her, on the other, which would you be for?» « For both, to be sure,» cried the chaplain. — « Right, Frank, » cried the 'Squire, « for may this glass suffocate me but a fine girl is worth all the priestcraft in the creation. For what are tithes and tricks but an imposition, all a confounded imposture, and I can prove it.»—« I wish you would,» cried my son Moses; «and I think,» continued he, « that I should be able to answer you.»—« Very well, sir, » cried the 'Squire, who immediately smoked him, and
sport, « if you are for a cool argument upon that subject, I am ready to accept the challenge. And first, whether are you for managing it analogically or dialogically?» «I am for managing it rationally,» cried Moses, quite happy at being permitted to dispute. « Good again,» cried the . Squire, « and firstly, of the first: I hope you'll not deny, that whatever is, is. If you don't grant me that, I can go no farther.»-« Why,» returned Moses, « I think I may grant that, and make the best of it.»—« I hope, too,» returned the other, “ you'll grant that a part is less than the whole.» «I grant that too,» cried Moses, « it is but just and reasonable. »—« I hope,» cried the 'Squire, « you will not deny, that the two angles of a triangle are equal to two right ones.»-« Nothing can be plainer,» returned t’ other, and looked round with his usual importance. — « Very
well,» cried the 'Squire, speaking very quick, « the premises being thus settled, I proceed to observe, that the concatenation of self-existence, proceeding in a reciprocal duplicate ratio, naturally produce a problematical dialogism, which in some measure proves that the essence of spirituality may be referred to the second predicable.» « Hold, hold,» cried the other, «I deny that: Do you think I can thus tamely submit to such heterodox doctrines ?»—«What!» replied the 'Squire, as if in a passion, « not submit! Answer me one plain question: Do you think Aristotle right when he says, that relatives are related?» « Undoubtedly,» replied the other. « If so, then,, cried the 'Squire, « answer me directly to what I propose : Whether do you judge the analytical investigation of the first part of my enthymem deficient secundum quoad, or quoad minus, and give me your reasons : give me your reasons, I say, directly.»—« I protest,» cried Moses, « I don't rightly comprehend the force of your reasoning; but if it be reduced to one simple proposition, I fancy it may then have an answer. »-«O sir, » cried the 'Squire, « I am your most humble servant; I find you want me to furnish you with argument and intellects too. No, sir, there I protest you are too hard for me.» This effectually raised the laugh against poor Moses, who sat the only dismal figure in a group of merry faces; nor did he offer a single syllable more during the whole entertainment.
But though all this gave me no pleasure, it had a very different effect upon Olivia, who mistook it for humour, though but a mere act of the memory. She thought him therefore a very fine gentleman ; and such as consider what powerful ingredients a good figure, fine clothes, and fortune are in that character, will easily forgive her. Mr Thornhill, notwithstanding his real ignorance, talked with ease, and could expatiate upon the common topics of conversation with fluency. It is not surprising then, that such talents should win the affections of a girl, who by education was taught to value an appearance in herself, and consequently to set a value upon it in another.
Upon his departure, we again entered into a debate upon the merits of our young landlord. As he directed his looks and conversation to Olivia, it was no longer doubted but that she was the object that induced him to be our visitor. Nor did she seem to be much displeased at the innocent raillery of her brother and sister upon this occasion. Even Deborah herself seemed to share the glory of the day, and exulted in her daughter's victory as if it were her own. « And now, my dear,» cried she to me, « I'll fairly own, that it was I that instructed my girls to encourage our landlord's addresses. I had always some ambition, and you now see that I was right; for who knows how this may end ?» « Ay, who knows that indeed !» answered I, with a groan : « For my part, I don't much like it: and I could have been better pleased with one that was poor and honest, than this fine gentleman with his fortune and infidelity; for depend on't, if he be what I suspect him, no free-thinker shall ever have a child of mine.»
«Sure, father, » cried Moses, « you are too severe in this ; for Heaven will never arraign him for what he thinks, but . for what he does. Every man has a thousand vicious thoughts, which arise without his power to suppress. Thinking freely of religion may be involuntary with this gentleman; so that allowing his sentiments to be wrong, yet as he is purely passive in his assent, he is no more to be. blamed for his errors, than the governor of a city without
walls for the shelter he is obliged to afford an invading enemy.»
« True, my son,» cried I; « but if the governor invites the enemy there, he is justly culpable. And such is always the case with those who embrace error. The vice does not lie in assenting to the proofs they see; but in being blind to many of the proofs that offer. So that, though our erroneous opinions be involuntary when formed, yet as we have been wilfully corrupt, or very negligent in forming them, we deserve punishment for our vice, or contempt for our folly.»
My wife now kept up the conversation, though not the argument: she observed, that several very prudent men of our acquaintance were free-thinkers, and made very good husbands; and she knew some sensible girls that had skill enough to make converts of their spouses : « And who knows, my dear,» continued she, « what Olivia may be able to do. The girl has a great deal to say upon every subject, and to my knowledge is very well skilled in controversy.»
« Why, my dear, what controversy can she have read?» cried I : « It does not occur to me that I ever put such books into her hands : you certainly overrate her merit. » « Indeed, papa,» replied Olivia, « she does not: I have read a great deal of controversy. I have read the disputes between Thwackum and Square; the controversy between Robinson Crusoe and Friday the savage, and am now employed in reading the controversy in Religious Courtship.» « Very well,» cried I, « that's a good girl, I find you are perfectly qualified for making converts; and so go help your mother to make the gooseberry-pie.»
An Amour, which promises little good Fortune, yet may be productive of
The next morning we were again visited by Mr Burchell, though I began, for certain reasons, to be displeased with the frequency of his return; but I could not refuse him my company and my fire-side. It is true, his labour more than requited his entertainment; for he wrought among us with vigour, and either in the meadow or at the hay-rick put himself foremost. Besides, he had always something amusing to say that lessened our toil, and was at once so out of the way, and yet so sensible, that I loved, laughed at, and pitied him. My only dislike arose from an attachment he discovered to my daughter: he would, in a jesting manner, call her his little mistress, and when he bought each of the girls a set of ribands, her's was the finest. I knew not how, but he every day seemed to become more amiable, his wit to improve, and his simplicity to assume the superiour airs of wisdom.
Our family dined in the field, and we sat, or rather reclined round a temperate repast, our cloth spread upon the hay, while Mr Burchell gave cheerfulness to the feast. To heighten our satisfaction, two blackbirds answered each other from opposite hedges, the familiar red-breast came and pecked the crumbs from our hands, and every sound seemed but the echo of tranquillity. «I never sit thus, »