Page images

Der. I can save you this journey. I have plenty of meat at home, and will lend your wife as much as she wants.

Scrape. Ah! neighbour Derby, I am sure your meal will never suit my wife. You can't conceive how whimsical she is.

Der. If she were ten times more whimsical than she is, I am certain she would like it; for you sold it to me yourself, and you assured me it was the best you ever had.

Scrape. Yes, yes, that's true indeed; I always have the best of every thing. You know, neighbour Derby, that no one is more ready to oblige than I am; but I must tell you the mare this morning refused to eat hay; and truly I am afraid she will not carry you.

Der. Oh, never fear! I will feed her well with oats on the road.

Scrape. Oats! neighbour; oats are very dear.

Der. They are so indeed; but no matter for that. When I have a good job in view, I never stand for trifles.

Scrape. It is very slippery; and I am really afraid she will fall and break your neck.

The mare

Der. Give yourself no uneasiness about that. is certainly sure footed; and, besides, you were just now talking yourself of gallopping her to town.

Scrape. Well then, to tell you the plain truth, though I wish to oblige you with all my heart, my saddle is torn quite in pieces, and I have just sent my bridle to be mended.

Der. Luckily, I have both a bridle and a saddle hanging op at home.

Scrape. Ah! that may be; but I am sure your saddle will never fit my mare.

Der. Why then I'll borrow neighbour Clodpole's.

Scrape. Clodpole's! his will no more fit than yours does. Der. At the worst, then, I will go to my good friend, Squire Jones. He has half a score of them; and I am sure he will lend me one that will fit her.

Scrape. You know, friend Derby, that no one is more willing to oblige his neighbours than I am. I do assure you the beast should be at your service with all my heart; but she has not been curried, I believe, for three weeks

past. Her foretop and mane want combing and cutting very much. If any one should see her in her present plight, it would ruin the sale of her.

Der. O! a horse is soon curried, and my son Sam shall despatch her at once.

Scrape. Yes, very likely; but I this moment recollect the creature has no shoes on.

Der. Well, is there not a blacksmith hard by?

Scrape. What, that tinker of a Dobson! I would not trust such a bungler to shoe a goat. No, no; none but uncle Tom Thumper is capable of shoeing my mare.

Der. As good luck will have it, then, I shall pass right by his door.

Scrape. [Calling to his son.] Timothy, Timothy. Here's neighbour Derby, who wants the loan of the gray mare to ride to town to-day. You know the skin was rubbed off her back last week a hand's breadth or more. [He gives Tim a wink.] However, I believe she's well enough by this time. You know, Tim, how ready I am to oblige my neighbours. And, indeed, we ought to do all the good we can in this world. We must certainly let neighbour Derby have her, if she will possibly answer his purpose. Yes, yes, I see plainly by Tim's countenance, neighbour Derby, that he's disposed to oblige you. I would not have refused you the mare for the worth of her. If I had, I should have expected you would have refused me in your turn. None of my neighbours can accuse me of being backward in doing them a kindness. Come, Timothy, what do you say?

Tim. What do I say, father? why, I say, Sir, that I am no less ready than you are to do a neighbourly kindness. But the mare is by no means capable of performing the journey. About a hand's breadth did you say, Sir! why the skin is torn from the poor creature's back, of the bigness of your great brimm'd hat. And, besides, I have promised her, as soon as she is able to travel, to Ned Saunders, to carry a load of apples to the market.

I am very sor

Scrape. Do you hear that, neighbour? ry matters turn out thus. I would not have disobliged you for the price of two such mares. Believe me, neighbour Derby, I am really sorry for your sake, that matters turn offt thus. 504708 A

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Der. And I as much for yours, neighbour Scrapewell; for to tell you the truth, I received a letter this morning from Mr. Griffin, who tells me if I will be in town this day, he will give me the refusal of all that lot of timber, which he is about cutting down upon the back of Cobble hill; and I intended you should have shared half of it, which would have been not less than fifty dollars in your pocket. But

Scrape. Fifty dollars, did you say?

Der. Ay, truly did I; but as your mare is out of order, I'll go and see if I can get old Roan the blacksmith's horse. Scrape. Old Roan! My mare is at your service, neighbour. Here, Tim, tell Ned Saunders he can't have the mare. Neighbour Derby wants her; and I won't refuse so good a friend any thing he asks for.

Der. But what are you to do for meal?

Scrape. My wife can do without it this fortnight, if you want the mare so long.

Der. But then your saddle is all in pieces.

Scrape. I meant the old one. I have bought a new one since, and you shall have the first use of it.

Der. And you would have me call at Thumper's and get her shod.

Scrape. No, no; I had forgotten to tell you, that I let neighbour Dobson shoe her last week, by way of trial; and to do him justice, I must own he shoes extremely well.

Der. But if the poor creature has lost so much skin from off her back

Scrape. Poh, poh! That is just one of our Tim's large stories. I do assure you it was not at first bigger than my thumb nail; and I am certain it has not grown any since.

Der. At least, however, let her have something she will eat, since she refuses hay.

Scrape. She did, indeed, refuse hay this morning; but the only reason was that she was cramm'd full of oats. You have nothing to fear, neighbour; the mare is in perfect trim; and she will skim you over the ground like a bird: I wish you a good journey and a profitable job.


FEW evil habits are of more pernicious con

sequence, or overcome with more difficulty, than that very odious one of profane cursing and swearing. It cannot be expected that the force of moral principles should be very strong upon any one who is accustomed, upon every trivial occasion, and frequently without any occasion at all, to slight the precepts and the character of the Supreme Being.

2. When we have lost any degree of respect for the Author of our existence, and the concerns of futurity, and can bring the most awful appellations into our slightest conversation, merely by way of embellishing our foolish and perhaps fallacious narratives, or to give a greater force to our little resentments, conscience will soon lose its influence upon our minds.

3. Nothing but the fear of disgrace, or a dread of human laws, will restrain any person, addicted to common swearing, from the most detestable perjury. For if a man can be brought to trifle with the most sacred things in his common discourse, he cannot surely consider them of more consequence when his interest leads him to swear falsely, for his own defence or emolument.

4. It is really astonishing how imperceptibly this vice creeps upon a person, and how rootedly he afterwards adheres to it. People generally begin with using only slight exclamations, and which seein hardly to carry the appearance of any thing criminal; and so proceed on to others, till the inost shocking oaths became familiar.

5. And when once the habit is confirmed, it is rarely ever eradicated. The swearer loses the ideas which are attached to the words he makes use of, and therefore execrates his friend, when he means to bless him; and calls God to witness his intention of doing things, which he knows he has no thoughts of performing in reality.

6. A young gentleman with whom I am intimately acquainted, and who possesses many excellent qualifications, but unhappily in a declining state of health, and evidently tending rapidly to the chambers of death, has been from his

childhood so addicted to the practice of swearing in his common conversation, that, even now, I am frequently shocked by his profaning the name of that sacred Being, before whom he, most probably, will soon be obliged to ap


7. It must surely be exceedingly painful to a sensible heart, feeling for the best interests of a valuable friend, and otherwise excellent acquaintance, to observe the person he so highly regards confirmed in such a shocking habit, even while standing in the most awful situation in which it is possible for a human creature to be placed.

8. Almost every other vice affords its votaries some pretences of excuse, from its being productive of present pleasure, or affording a prospect of future advantage; but the profane swearer cannot even say that he feels any satisfaction, or that he hopes to meet with any benefit, from this foolish habit.

9. But let not the force of habit be urged as an excuse for its continuance. As well might the highwayman, who is unacquainted with any honest employment, expect on that account to be allowed to plunder every passenger he meets with impunity. The following anecdote will prove that this habit is not so inveterate that it cannot instantly be checked.

10. In the presence of men who are his superiours, the swearer is never profane. Why did you cut short your oath? said a gentleman to a man who was notoriously profane. I was afraid the king, who was present, would hear me, said the swearer. Why then, said the gentleman, do you not fear to be heard by the King of kings, who is always present?



MERCHANT of Provence, in France, of a most amiable character, but of narrow circumstances, met with some considerable losses in trade, and became a bankrupt. Being reduced to penury and want, he went to Paris to seek some assistance.

« PreviousContinue »