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mily of Wakefield known to turn the traveller or the poor dependant out of doors.
Thus we lived feveral years in a state of much happinefs, not but that we fometimes had thofe little rubs which Providence fends to enhance the value of its favours. My orchard was often robbed by school-boys, and my wife's cuftards plundered by the cats or the children, The fquire would fometimes fall asleep in the most pathetic parts of my fermon, or his lady return my wife's civilities at church with a mutilated curtfey. But we foon got over the uneafiness caused by such accidents, and usually in three or four days began to wonder how they vext us.
My children, the offspring of temperance, as they were educated without foftnefs, fo they were at once well formed and healthy; my fons hardy and active, my daughters beautiful and blooming. When I ftood in the midst of the little circle, which promifed to be the fupports of my declining age, I could not avoid repeating the famous story of Count Abensberg, who in Henry II.'s progrefs through Germany, while other courtiers came with their treasures, brought his thirty-two children, and prefented them to his fovereign as the most valuable offering he had to bestow. In this manner, though I had but fix, I confidered them as a very valuable prefent made to my country, and confequently looked upon it as my debtor. Our eldest son was named George after his uncle, who left us ten thousand pounds. Our fecond child, a girl, I intended to call after her aunt Griffel; but my wife, who during her pregnancy had been reading romances, infisted upon her being called Olivia. In less than another year we had another daughter, and now I was determined that Griffel fhould be her name; but a rich relation taking a
fancy to ftand godmother, the girl was, by her directions, called Sophia: fo that we had two romantic names in the family; but I folemnly protest I had no hand in it. Mofes was our next; and after an interval of twelve years, we had two fons more.
It would be fruitlefs to deny my exultation when I fawmy little ones about me; but the vanity and the fatisfaction of my wife were even greater than mine. When our vifitors would fay,- Well, upon my word, Mrs. Primrofe, you have the finest children in the whole country.' Aye, neighbour,' fhe would anfwer, they are as 'Heaven made them, handsome enough, if they be good enough; for handfome is, that handfome does.' And then she would bid the girls hold up their heads; who, to conceal nothing, were certainly very handsome. Mere outfide is so very trifling a circumstance with me, that I fhould scarce have remembered to mention it, had it not been a general topic of converfation in the country. Olivia, now about eighteen, had that luxuriancy of beauty with which painters generally draw Hebe; open, sprightly, and commanding. Sophia's features were not so striking at first, but often did more certain execution; for they were foft, modest, and alluring. The one vanquished by a fingle blow, the other by efforts fuccefsfully repeated.
The temper of a woman is generally formed from the turn of her features: at leaft, it was fo with my daughters. Olivia wifhed for many lovers, Sophia to fecure one. Olivia was often affected from too great a defire to please. Sophia even repreffed excellence, from her fears to offend, The one entertained me with her vivacity when I was gay, the other with her fenfe when I was ferious. But these qualities were never carried to excefs in either, and
I have often seen them exchange characters for a whole day together. A fuit of mourning has transformed my coquette into a prude, and a new fet of ribbands has given her youngest fifter more than natural vivacity. My eldest fon, George, was bred at Oxford, as I intended him for one of the learned profeffions. My fecond boy, Mofes, whom I defigned for bufinefs, received a fort of a miscellaneous education at home. But it is needless to attempt describing the particular characters of young people that had seen but very little of the world. In fhort, a family likeness prevailed through all, and properly speaking, they had but one character, that of being all equally generous, credulous, fimple, and inoffensive.
CHA P. II.
FAMILY MISFORTUNES. THE LOSS OF FORTUNE
THE temporal concerns of our family were chiefly
committed to my wife's management; as to the fpiritual, I took them entirely under my own direction. The profits of my living, which amounted to about thirty-five pounds a year, I made over to the orphans and widows of the clergy of our diocese; for having a fufficient fortune of my own, I was careless of temporalities, and felt a fecret pleafure in doing my duty without reward. I also fet a resolution of keeping no curate, and of being acquainted with every man in the parish, exhorting the married men to temperance, and the bachelors to matrimony; fo that in
a few years it was a common faying, that there were three strange wants at Wakefield, a parson wanting pride, young men wanting wives, and alehoufes wanting cuftomers.
Matrimony was always one of my favourite topics, and I wrote feveral fermons to prove its happiness; but there was a peculiar tenet which I made a point of supporting; for I maintained with Whifton, that it was unlawful for a priest of the church of England, after the death of his first wife, to take a fecond, or to express it in one word, I valued myself upon being a strict monogamist.
I was early initiated into this important difpute, on which fo many laborious volumes have been written. I published fome tracts upon the subject myself, which, as they never fold, I have the confolation of thinking are read only by the happy few. Some of my friends called this my weak fide; but, alas! they had not like me made it the subject of long contemplation. The more I reflected upon it, the more important it appeared. I even went a step beyond Whifton in difplaying my principles: as he had engraven upon his wife's tomb that she was the only wife of William Whifton; fo I wrote a fimilar epitaph for my wife, though ftill living, in which I extolled her prudence, œconomy, and obedience till death; and having got it copied fair, with an elegant frame, it was placed over the chimneypiece, where it answered several very useful purposes. It admonished my wife of her duty to me, and my fidelity to her: it inspired her with a paffion for fame, and conftantly put her in mind of her end.
It was thus, perhaps, from hearing marriage fo often recommended, that my eldest fon, juft upon leaving college, fixed his affections upon the daughter of a neighbouring clergyman, who was a dignitary in the church, and
in circumstances to give her a large fortune: but fortuné was her smallest accomplishment. Mifs Arabella Wilmot was allowed by all (except my two daughters) to be completely pretty. Her youth, health, and innocence, were ftill heightened by a complexion fo transparent, and fuch a happy fenfibility of look, as even age could not gaze on with indifference. As Mr. Wilmot knew that I could make a very handsome settlement on my fon, he was not averse to the match; fo both families lived together in all that harmony which generally precedes an expected alliance. Being convinced by experience that the days of courtship are the most happy of our lives, I was willing enough to lengthen the period; and the various amufements which the young couple every day shared in each other's company, feemed to increase their paffion. We were generally awaked in the morning by mufic, and on fine days rode a hunting. The hours between breakfast and dinner the ladies devoted to dress and ftudy; they usually read a page, and then gazed at themselves in the glass, which even philosophers might own often prefented the page of greatest beauty. At dinner my wife took the lead; for, as the always infisted upon carving every thing herself, it being her mother's way, fhe gave us upon thefe occafions the hiftory of every dish. When we had dined, to prevent the ladies leaving us, I generally ordered the table to be removed; and sometimes, with the music-master's affiftance, the girls would give us a very agreeable concert. Walking out, drinking tea, country dances, and forfeits, fhortened the rest of the day, without the affiftance of cards, as I hated all manner of gaming, except backgammon, at which my old friend and I fometimes took a twopenny hit. Nor can I here pass over an ominous circumstance that happened the