Page images

'me, can witness that I loved him as dearly as if he had been my own son. Indeed, I have con“sidered him as a child sent by fortune to my care. I still remember the innocent, the helpless situation in which I found him. I feel the tender pressure of his little hands at this moment--' He was my darling, indeed he was.' At which words he ceased, and the tears stood in his eyes.

As the answer which Mrs. Miller made may lead us into fresh matters, we will here stop to account for the visible alteration in Mr. Allworthy's mind, and the abatement of his anger to Jones. Revolutions of this kind, it is true, do frequently occurin histories and dramatic writers, for no other reason than because the history or play draws to a conclusion, and are justified by authority of Authors; yet though we insist upon as much authority as any Author whatever, we shall use this power very sparingly, and never but when we are driven to it by necessity, which we do not at present foresee will happen in this work.

This alteration then in the mind of Mr. Allworthy was occasioned by a letter he had just received from Mr. Square, and which we shall give the reader in the beginning of the next chapter.


Containing Two Letters in very different Styles.




you in my last, that I was for"bidden the use of the waters, as they were found

by experience rather to increase than lessen the symptoms of my distemper. I must now ac

quaint you with a piece of news, which, I be"lieve, will afllict my friends more than it hath "afilicted. me. . Dr. Harrington and Dr. Brewster.


" have informed me, that there is no hopes of my

recovery. “ I have somewhere read, that the great use of philosophy is to learn to die. I will not there“ fore so far disgrace nine as to shew any surprise “ at receiving a lesson which I must be thought " to have so long studied. Yet, to say the truth,

one page of the Gospel teaches this lesson better " than all the volumes of ancient or modern philo“sophers. The assurance it gives us of another life “is a much stronger support to a good mind, than “all the consolations that are drawn from the ne“cessity of nature, tlie emptiness or satiety of our

enjoyments here, or any other topic of those “ declamations which are sometimes capable of

arming our minds with a stubborn patience in “ bearing the thoughts of death; but never of

raising them to a real contempt of it, and much “ less of making us think it is a real good. I would

not here be understood to throw the horrid cene

sure of atheism, or even the absolute denial of “immortality, on all who are called philosophers. “Many of that sect, as well ancient as modern, “ have, from the light of reason, discovered some “ hopes of a future state; but, in reality, that light “ was so faint and glimmering, and the hopes were

so uncertain and precarious, that it may be justly doubted on which side their belief turned. “ Plato himself concludes his Phædon with declar

ing, that his best arguments amount only to “ raise a probability; and Cicero himself scems “ rather to profess an inclination to believe, than

any actual belief in the doctrines of immortality. As to myself, to be very sincere with you, I

never was much in carnest in this faith, till I was “ in earnest a christian. “ You will perhaps wonder at the latter

expres“sion; but I assure you it hath not been till very “ lately, that I could, with truth, call myself so. “ The pride of philosophy had intoxicated my rea

[ocr errors]

son, and the sublimest of all wisdom appeared to me, as it did to the Greeks of old, to be foolish

ness. God hath however been so gracious tu shew “me my error in time, and to bring me into the

way of truth, before I sunk into utter darkness


[ocr errors]


o for ever.

you dis

“ I find myself beginning to grow weak, I shall " therefore hasten to the main purpose of this « letter,

“ When I reflect on the actions of my past life, “I know of nothing which sits heavier upon my conscience, than the injustice I have been guilty “ of to that poor wretch your adopted son. I have s indeed not only connived at the villany of “ others, but been myself active in injustice to“wards him. Believe me, my dear friend, when I “ tell you on the word of a dying man, he hath “ been basely injured. As to the principal fact,

upon the misrepresentation of which “carded him, I solemnly assure you he is innocent. “When you lay upon your supposed deathbed, he

was the only person in the house who testified

any real concern; and what happened after“ wards arose from the wilựlness of his joy on your

recovery; and, I am sorry to say it, from the “baseness of another person (but it is my desire

to justify the innocent, and to accuse none). “ Believe me, my friend, this young man hath the “ noblest generosity of heart, the most perfect ca

pacity for friendship, the highest integrity, and “indeed every virtue which can ennoble a man. « Ile hath some faults, but among them is not to “ be numbered the least want of duty or gratitude “ towards you. On the contrary, I am satisfied “ when you dismissed him from your house, his 5. heart blod for you more than for himself

Worldly motives were the wicked and base “ reasons of my concealing this from you so long:

to reveal it now I can have no inducement but the desire of serving the cause of truth, of doing


I hope

* right to the innocent, and of making all the "amends in my power for a past offence. " this declaration therefore will have the effect de“sired, and will restore this deserving young man “ to your favour; the hearing of which, while I am

yet alive, will afford the utinost consolation to,

“ Your most obliged,
“ obedient humble servant,


The reader will, after this, scarce wonder at the revolution so visibly appearing in Mr. Allworthy, notwithstanding he received from Thwackum, by the same post, another letter of a very different kind, which we shall here add, as it may possibly be the last time we shall have occasion to mention the name of that gentleman.


[ocr errors]

SIR, 'I am not at all surprised at hearing from your worthy nephew a fresh instance of the villany of Mr. Square, the atheist's young pupil. I shall not . wonder at any murders he may commit; and I ' heartily pray that your own blood may not seal

up his final commitment to the place of wailing ‘and gnashing of teeth.

* Though you cannot want sufficient calls to repentance for the many unwarrantable weaknesses exemplified in your behaviour to this wretch, so much to the prejudice of your own lawful family, • and of your character; I say, though these may

, 'sufficiently be supposed to prick and goad your 'conscience at this season; I should yet be want

ing to my duty, if I spared to give you some ad'monition in order to bring you to a due sense of your errors. I therefore pray you seriously to consider the judgement which is likely to over


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


take this wicked villain; and let it serve at least s as a warning to you, that you may not for the * future despise the advice of one who is so indefa'tigable in his prayers for your welfare.

"Tad not my hand been withheld from due cor“rection, I had scourged much of this diabolical

spirit out of a boy, of whom from liis infancy I discovered the devil had taken such entire possession. But reflections of this kind now come too late.

'I am sorry you have given away the living of Vesterton so hastily. I should hare applied on

that occasion earlier, bad I thought you would 'not have acquainted me previous to the disposition.

Your objection to pluralities is being righteous over-much. If there were any crime in the practice, so many godly men would not agree 'to it. If the vicar of Aldergrove should die (as we hear he is in a declining way), I hope you will

think of me, since I am certain you must be con'vinced of my most sincere attachment to your highest welfare-a welfare to which all worldly

considerations are as trilling as the small tithes ' mentioned in scripture are, when compared to the weighty matters of the law.

· I am, Sir,
"Your faithful humble servant,



[ocr errors]

This was the first time Thwackum ever wrote in this authoritative style to Allworthy, and of this he had afterwards sufficient reason to repent, as in the case of those who mistake the highest degree of goodness for the lowest degree of weakness. Allworthy had indeed never liked this man. He knew him to be proud and ill-natured; he also knew that his divinity itself was tinctured with his temper, and such as in many respects lie him

« PreviousContinue »