Chapter 4


The gentleman returned with the bottle; and Adams and he sat some time silent, when the former started up, and cried, “No, that won’t do.” The gentleman inquired into his meaning; he answered, “He had been considering that it was possible the late famous king Theodore might have been that very son whom he had lost”; but added, “that his age could not answer that imagination. However,” says he, “G—disposes all things for the best; and very probably he may be some great man, or duke, and may, one day or other, revisit you in that capacity.” The gentleman answered, he should know him amongst ten thousand, for he had a mark on his left breast of a strawberry, which his mother had given him by longing for that fruit.

That beautiful young lady the Morning now rose from her bed, and with a countenance blooming with fresh youth and sprightliness, like Miss ——,1 with soft dews hanging on her pouting lips, began to take her early walk over the eastern hills; and presently after, that gallant person the sun stole softly from his wife’s chamber to pay his addresses to her; when the gentleman asked his guest if he would walk forth and survey his little garden, which he readily agreed to, and Joseph at the same time awaking from a sleep in which he had been two hours buried, went with them. No parterres, no fountains, no statues, embellished this little garden. Its only ornament was a short walk, shaded on each side by a filbert-hedge, with a small alcove at one end, whither in hot weather the gentleman and his wife used to retire and divert themselves with their children, who played in the walk before them. But, though vanity had no votary in this little spot, here was variety of fruit and everything useful for the kitchen, which was abundantly sufficient to catch the admiration of Adams, who told the gentleman he had certainly a good gardener. Sir, answered he, that gardener is now before you: whatever you see here is the work solely of my own hands. Whilst I am providing necessaries for my table, I likewise procure myself an appetite for them. In fair seasons I seldom pass less than six hours of the twenty-four in this place, where I am not idle; and by these means I have been able to preserve my health ever since my arrival here, without assistance from physic. Hither I generally repair at the dawn, and exercise myself whilst my wife dresses her children and prepares our breakfast; after which we are seldom asunder during the residue of the day, for, when the weather will not permit them to accompany me here, I am usually within with them; for I am neither ashamed of conversing with my wife nor of playing with my children: to say the truth, I do not perceive that inferiority of understanding which the levity of rakes, the dulness of men of business, or the austerity of the learned, would persuade us of in women. As for my woman, I declare I have found none of my own sex capable of making juster observations on life, or of delivering them more agreeably; nor do I believe any one possessed of a faithfuller or braver friend. And sure as this friendship is sweetened with more delicacy and tenderness, so is it confirmed by dearer pledges than can attend the closest male alliance; for what union can be so fast as our common interest in the fruits of our embraces? Perhaps, sir, you are not yourself a father; if you are not, be assured you cannot conceive the delight I have in my little ones. Would you not despise me if you saw me stretched on the ground, and my children playing round me? “I should reverence the sight,” quoth Adams; “I myself am now the father of six, and have been of eleven, and I can say I never scourged a child of my own, unless as his schoolmaster, and then have felt every stroke on my own posteriors. And as to what you say concerning women, I have often lamented my own wife did not understand Greek.”—The gentleman smiled, and answered, he would not be apprehended to insinuate that his own had an understanding above the care of her family; on the contrary, says he, my Harriet, I assure you, is a notable housewife, and few gentlemen’s housekeepers understand cookery or confectionery better; but these are arts which she hath no great occasion for now: however, the wine you commended so much last night at supper was of her own making, as is indeed all the liquor in my house, except my beer, which falls to my province. “And I assure you it is as excellent,” quoth Adams, “as ever I tasted.” We formerly kept a maid-servant, but since my girls have been growing up she is unwilling to indulge them in idleness; for as the fortunes I shall give them will be very small, we intend not to breed them above the rank they are likely to fill hereafter, nor to teach them to despise or ruin a plain husband. Indeed, I could wish a man of my own temper, and a retired life, might fall to their lot; for I have experienced that calm serene happiness, which is seated in content, is inconsistent with the hurry and bustle of the world. He was proceeding thus when the little things, being just risen, ran eagerly towards him and asked his blessing. They were shy

  By PanEris using Melati.

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