« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
"wilder than the Campagna of Rome, or the uncultivated “vales of the Alps and Apennines.' And now the Arcadian spirit comes strong upon him, and we find him in excellent trim for a fancy-flight,
To Thebes, or Athens, or the Lord knows where,
Warm,' says he, with a classical enthusiasm, I journied on, and with fancy's eye beheld the rural divinities, in those ' sacred woods and groves, which thade the sides of " the vast surrounding fells, and the shores and promontories
of many lovely lakes, and bright running streams. For fe? veral hours I travelled over mountains tremendous to behold, ' and through vales the finest in the world. Not a man or • house could I see in eight hours time, but towards five in • the afternoon, there appeared at the foot of a hill, a sweetly • situated cottage, that was half covered with trees, and stood
by the side of a large falling stream: a vale extended to the
south from the door, that was terminated with rocks, and .. precipices on precipices, in an amazing point of view, and
through the flowery ground, the water was beautifully seen,
as it winded to a deeper flood at the bottom of the vale. • Half a dozen cows were grazing in view, and a few flocks of feeding Meep added to the beauties of the scene.
“To this house I sent my boy, to enquire who lived there, " and to know, if for the night I could be entertained, as I
knew not where else to go. O'Fin very quickly returned, 6 and informed me, that one Farmer Price was the owner of
the place, but had gone in the morning to the next town; « and that his wife said, I was welcome to what her house « afforded. In then I went, and was most civilly received
by an exceeding pretty woman, who told me her husband o would soon be at home, and be glad, she was fure, to see
me at their lone place; for he was no stranger to gentlemen " and the world, though at present he rarely converted with
While our Knight of the hills and Jales was regaling himself with a cruit, and a cup of extraordinary malt-drink*, in came Mr. Price,
* It is observable, that wherever our Autḥor goes, he has always the good fortune to meet with good cheer; and the extraordinary eating, and the extraordinary drinking, are as duly celebrated, as the extraordinary beauty, and the extraordinary genius and learning of the extraordinary ladies he meets with ; whence it may not, perhaps, be altoge'hr unreasonable to conclude, that this gentleman is not one of those rigid mortals, who reckon a fine girl, and a botile, ämongit the number of mortal fins.
· The man,' says Mr. Buncle, “ seemed greatly astonished
at entering the room, and after he had looked with great * earneftness at me for a little while, he cried out, Good Hea
ven! what do I fee! Falstaff, my class-fellow, and my fecond self! My dear Friend, you are welcome, thrice welcome to this
of the world! All this surprized me not a little, for I could not recollect at once a face that had been greatly altered by the small-pox: and it was not till I re« Aected on the name Price, that I knew I was then in the « house of one of my school-fellows, with whom I had been ( moft intimate, and had played the part of Plump Jack, in: • Henry che Fourth, when he did Prince Henry. This was " an unexpected meeting, indeed: and confidering the place, .. and all the circumstances belonging to the scene, a thing
more strange and affecting never came in my way. Our
pleasure at this meeting was very great, and when the most 6 affectionate falutations were over, my friend Price pro-. « ceeded in the following manner.
• Often have I remembered you since we parted, and exclu
five of the Greek and English plays we have acted together $ at Sheridan's school, in which you acquired no small ap• plaule, I have frequently thought of our frolicksome rambles sin vacation time, and the merry dancings we have had at
Mother Red-cap's, in Back-lane; the hurling matches we < have played at Dolphin's barn, and the cakes and ale we
used to have at the Organ-house, on Arbor-bill. These things have often occurred to my mind; but little did I
think we should ever meet again on Stanmore hills. What • strange things does time produce! It has taken me from a
town-life, to live on the most folitary part of the globe: y And it has brought you to journey where never man, I be
lieve, ever thought of travelling before. So it is (I replied) ? and stranger things, dear Jack, may happen yet, before our
eyes are closed : why I journey this untravelled way, I will inform you by and by; when you have told me by what strange means you came to dwell in this remote and filent
vale. That you fhall know (Mr. Price said) very soon, as • soon as we have eaten a morsel of something or other which ! my dear Martha has prepared, against my return. Here it
comes, a fowl, bacon, and greens, and as fine, I will an! swer, as London market could yield. Let us sit down, my ☆ friend, and God bless us and our meat.
• Down then we fat immediately to our dish, and most excellent every thing was. The social goodness of this fond y couple added greatly to the pleasure of the meal, and with
« mirth and friendship we eat up our capon, our bacon, and our greens.
When we had done, Price brought in pipes and tobacco, and a fresh tankard of his admirable ale, Liften now (he said) to my story, and then I will hearken to yours. .' Here we have the short history of Jack Price; who had been a moft extravagant debauchee; had spent an immenfe fortune in the diffipations of the gay world ; and being reduced to the laft five hundred, had at last married Patty, a Westmorlandfarmer's daughter; who made the beft ufe of the above-mentioned remains of her husband's fortune, in the fuccessful cultivation of the fnug farm, where Mr. Buncle now found the
happieft of wedded mortals."
And now, the rare accomplishments and virtues of Mrs.' Martha Price come in for their fhare of praise and celebration; for, think not, Reader, that thefe were confined to the brewing of extraordinary fine ale, or the furnifhing her husband's table with extraordinary fine capons, and bacon, and greens ; no, Sir, thefe, though valuable qualifications, especially for a farmer's wife, were but trifles, compared with the endowments of her mind; in the enumeration of which, the happy Price thus gratefully expresses himself.
. It is not only happiness in this world, that I have acquirced by this admirable woman, but life eternal. You remem«ber, my friend, what a wild and wicked one I was.- When
I was courting my wife, she foon difcerned my impiety, and that I had very little notion of Heaven and Hell, Death and Judgment. This she made a principal objection, and told me, The could not venture into a married state with a man
who had no regard to the Divine laws; and therefore, if < she could not make me a Christian, in the true fenfe of the & word, she would never be Mrs. Price.
This from a plain country girl, continues Mr. Price; e furprized me not a little, and ny astonishment rose very high, 4 when I heard her talk of religion.-She foon convinced me, . that religion was the only means by which we can arrive at 4 true happiness; by which we can attain to the last perfec&tion and dignity of our nature; and that the word of God is
the surest foundation of religion. The fubftance of what « she faid is as follows: I fhall never forget the leffon.'
Here Mr. Price recapitulates the sum of Mrs. Patty's documents; and, in truth, her lecture was fuch, as not only would do honour to any woman, whatever, but was even not unworthy a Tillotson, a Foster, or a Sykes.
Mr. Buncle having, in turn, related his story to Mr Price; fome other chat fucceeds, and the latter, in merry mood, pro poses, that the reft of the evening fhould be gaily spent.
• Here comes my beloved wife,' adds Mr. Price, with a • little bowl of punchs, and as the sings 'extremely well, and
you have not forgot, I fancy, our old song, we will have it
over our nectar. You thall represent Janus and Momus, • and I will be Chronos and Mars, and my wife Diana and • Venus. Let us take a glass first--the liberties of the world! 6--and then do you begin.' Here that lively interlude,
Chronos, Chronos, mend thy pace, &c. is introduced, after which our joyous Adventurer thus proteeds in quick transition, to matters of more ferious import.
In this happy manner did we pass the night in this wild . and frightful part of the world, and for three fucceeding
evenings and days, enjoyed as much true fatisfaction as it was poffible for mortals to feel. Price was an ingeniousy chearful, entertaining man, and his wife had not only sense
than ordinary, but was one of the best of women. I was prodigiously pleased with her conversation. Tho' the
was no woman of letters, nor had any books in her house; • except the Bible, Barrow's and Wichcott's fermons, Hoá 'well's History of the World, and the History of England,
yet from these fuw, a great memory, and an extraordinary • conception of things, had collected a valuable knowlege, " and the talked with an ease and perspicuity that was won• derful. On religious fubjects the astonished me.'
Sunday being one of the days of our Author's abode at this place, the afternoon was spent in a very sensible, instructive, and animated conversation, between Mrs. Price, and Mr. Buncle, concerning the nature, end, and design of Chriftianity; in the course of which, the latter gives a curious and learned review of the state of religion, from the creation to this time. The whole of this conversation shews the genius of this surprizing writer, to vaft advantage; we fhould with pleasure lay it before our Readers, were it not too large to be copied entire: and it were a thousand pities to deftroy its beauty and connection, by any abstract. We refer, therefore, to the book at large; wherein, as to topics of this nature, the Reader will find infinitely more satisfaction than it would he natural to expect, from any character given of so motley
a performance, drawn from the lighter and more extravagant parts of it:-Our Author is, indeed, a most amazing man!
That part of the country, in the north of England, called Stanmore-hills, is so rude and uncultivated, that it is very little visited by travellers, or even by the inhabitants of the circúmjacent parts. Our Author seems to have taken advantage of this circumstance, in his lavish descriptions; as well knowing, that few of his Readers would be able to question, or disprove, their reality. We make no doubt, however, that many things, seemingly very extraordinary, may be as he defcribes them; while others are too improbable, too romantic, for
any to believe, but those who have seen very little of the world, have, moreover, an uncommon share of native credulity, and, into the bargain, an imagination tinctured with the marvellous, and the extravagant, by too much reading of fabulous poetry, fictitious travels, and romantic adventures : among the number of which, we must, undoubtedly reckon the greatest part of what Mr. Buncle relates of his journey through Stanmore. » Let us accompany him, part of the way at least, and fee how the country looks.
«The 13th of June,' says he, I took my leave of my • friend, John Price, and his admirable wife, promising to
visit them again, as foon as it was in my power; ceeded on my journey, in quest of Mr. Turner. I would not let Price go with me, on second thoughts, as many fad accidents might happen in this rough and desolate part of
the world, and no relief, in such case, to be found. If I sfell, there was no one belonging to me to shed a tear for
but if a mischief should befall Jack Price, his wife < would be miserable indeed, and I the maker of a breach in " the sweetest system of felicity that love and good sense had
ever formed. This made me refuse his repeated offers to accompany me. All I would have, was a boy and a horse of his, to carry some provisions, wet and dry, as there was no public house to be found in ascending those tremendous
hills, or in the deep vales through which I must go; nor * any house, that he knew of, beyond his own.
• With the rising fun, then, I set out, and was charmed • for several hours with the air and views. The mountains, " the rocky precipices, the woods, and the waters, appeared • in various striking situations every mile I travelled on,
and formed the most astonishing points of view. Some
times I was above the clouds, and then crept to enchanting • vallies below. Here glins were seen, that looked as if the
mountains had been rent afunder, to form the amazing scenes: