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' time, to tell each of them, that nothing shewed a • fine ankle to such advantage as a spring garter.'
In the evening, after our visitors had left us, I found Umphraville sitting in his elbow-chair, in a graver mood than usual. • I am thinking, my friend,' said he, of the strange times we live in. You know I am not much of a politician; and, living retired as I do, abstracted from the world, I have little access to be acquainted with the springs that move the wheels of government, or the causes of national prosperity or adversity. For some time past, however, I have been endeavouring, in vain, to investigate the latent sources of the sudden and almost instantaneous decline of our. empire, unexampled, I believe, in the history of The scene you have this day witnessed, has given me more light on that subject than any thing I have yet met with. If such men are to 'conduct and regulate the great affairs of state, are 6 are we to wonder at our want of success? If our senate is to be filled with beings, mean as they are worthless, alike destitute of public virtue and private honour, we may cease to be surprised at any calamity that befals us. Of such creatures, I presume, the Roman senate was composed, when, by the groundless jealousy of an emperor (Gallienus, if I mistake not), the senators were prohibited from holding any military employment; and they considered the exemption as a favour, not as an af• front: so lost were they to every principle of honour, so void of every generous and manly feeling. But what astonishes me most is, that in times like these, when the empire is shook to its foundation, the people should be so infatuated as to ' trust their best, their dearest rights in such hands. Had the Congress been composed of Bobby But
tons, would America ever have made such a stand • against us?'
How long this Philippic might have lasted I cannot say, had not Miss Umphraville come in and put an end to it, by challenging me to play a game at backgammon.
No 69. TUESDAY, JANUARY 4, 1780.
To the AUTHOR of the MIRROR.
I AM a pretty constant reader of your publications by what means, you shall know before I have finished this letter. Among other papers of your publishing, I have read one marked No. 65, written by a lady, who subscribes herself S. M. That lady is pleased to complain of her situation, and to represent herself as unfortunate. I cannot think she has the least title to do so. She was received and entertained by a kind brother; but, forsooth, she took it into her head to quarrel with him because he married, and seemed to like his wife better than her, and to be displeased with the lady, because she appeared to have more vanity than she ought to have had. Pray, what right had she to find fault with those who so hospitably entertained her? or, how did she shew superior sense by thus quarrelling
with her bread and butter?—I am, Sir, the younger brother of Sir George Fielding. I live comfortably and contentedly in his house; and yet, I could lay a wager, were Madam S. M. in my situation, she would be fretful and discontented: but I shall appeal to you, Sir, if she would have any reason for her discontent.
My father, Sir Robert, sent me, when a young man to the University; but, as I had no taste for study, I spent most of my time at the billiard-table, at cards, in hunting, playing at golf, or in public diversions. I was more gaily dressed than any of my companions, and I united many of the qualities of a beau and a buck.-During the vacation, I resided at my father's house; and the elegant and expensive manner in which he lived, increased my turn for pleasure and amusement.
I was in my twentieth year when my father, who had supplied me liberally with money, died, leaving me the small patrimony of one thousand pounds. Fifty pounds a-year could not support the expence of one who had been accustomed to spend four times that sum. In this situation it was thought necessary that I should do something for myself. Amidst the various schemes that were proposed, it was determined that I should become a merchant. My brother Sir George, generously discharged all the debts I had contracted; for, notwithstanding my father's liberality while he was living, I had contracted several; and I was bound apprentice to an eminent trader. He was a sober, industrious, thriving man; but I soon found it impossible to accommodate myself to his frugal and ceconomical ideas; and my inclination for amusement, which he used to call dissipation and idleness, could not give way to his habits of industry and
Accordingly, before the term of my apprenticeship was elapsed, my master wrote to Sir George, informing him that I had taken up with bad company; that I had neglected my business; that I had not profited by his instructions; and recommending to him to try me in something else, and, in all events, to remove me to some other place.
After a good deal of deliberation, it was resolved to try to set me up as a farmer; and I entered But of a considerable farm. upon management in this business I found I did not succeed any better than in my former. Notwithstanding the good instructions I received at a club of very honest fellows, at which we met every week to talk about farming and improvements, somehow or other, my crops never paid for the expence of raising them: and in a few years, I found that I had improved away every shilling of my capital. Sir George then proposed to me that I should quit all thoughts of business, and take up my residence in his house; I cheerfully accepted his proposal, and have lived with him for fourteen years past.
In his house I find every thing provided for me, and I am perfectly contented, having nothing to ,care for. Sir George, who is beloved and respected by all the neighbourhood, has frequently crowds of company who resort to his house; but, as he does not drink himself, whenever the company wish to drink a little more than usual, he deputes me to act his part as landlord. In that capacity I do not fail to push about the bottle; and I find myself in a situation perfectly to my wish. As I am a good shot, I spend great part of my time in shooting; and Mr. Joseph, for that is the name I go by, is made a welcome guest at all the gentlemen's houses in the neighbourhood; the more so, as I seldom make a visit without carrying along with me some of the
game I have killed. I never fail to make one at all the sports in the neighbourhood. At a village wedding I am a considerable personage; and there is not a country-girl who does not think it an honour to dance with Mr. Joseph. When Lady Fielding makes a visit, I generally attend her in the absence of Sir George. The only part of my employment which I find disagreeable is, that sometimes, in the winterevenings, I am set a-reading to my Lady; and, among other publications, I have read over to her most of the MIRRORS. My Lady likes them exceedingly; so do I too, but not for the same reason that she does; I like them,—because they are short. In the course of this employment, I read S. M.'s letter, and have already given you my reasons for being much dissatisfied with what she writes.
I can make no doubt, that, were she in my situation, she would think she had much reason to be unhappy. She would, perhaps, complain that her brother was so rich, and she so poor; she would say, that it was an employment below her to act as toast-master to her brother's drunken company; that it was despicable to be known only by the name of Mr. Joseph; that she could not but con. sider herself as in a contemptible situation, being unfit for any employment, or to act any higher part than that of a sportsman, a dancer at a countrywedding, or an humble attendant on my Lady Fielding. But I am of a very different opinion. I certainly neither have the fortune, nor do I meet with the same respect that my brother Sir George does -but what does that signify?—I eat, drink, and am merry, enjoy good health and good spirits; and I have neither the trouble of managing a great estate, nor am I obliged to be circumspect in my conduct, in order that I may act up, as I hear my brother and some of his friends express it, to a