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mind ever since I heard of it. At one time, I thought of going to talk with them, but they'll only laugh at what comes from old Humphrey Preach.” “ As you say there is a scholar amongst them,” said I, “what think you of a written expostulation?"
Humphrey's countenance brightened at the question. “I do think, Sir, it might do." For as I said before, they are honest-hearted men on the whole, (the farmer's the worst) and before their passions are heated too far, they might hear reason." “Well then,” replied I, " the trial shall he made directly, as the first essay of intellect under my new wig." or You had better write in your night-cap, Sir,” replied Humphrey, “I once served an author, and he was always grumbling that the hairs of his wig sat nine bobs square, as the saying is, and sure enough so they did, though I dressed them every week. 'Twas the greatest mystery in the world to me, how it happened, 'till one day by accident the servant shewed me into his study, instead of the parlour. His back was to the door, so that he did not see me come in. He was writing away like mad, with great books piled up on both sides of him. Every now and then, however, he stopped to take breath, and recollect himself I suppose.
Then was all the mischief done, for he beset his head in such a manner with both hands, scratching every hair in his wig the wrong
ways that at last I could bear it no longer, but cried out, Stop, Sir, or you'll not have a curl left;'-Pray, Sir, don't write this letter in your new wig."
I promised compliance with the advice, and on Humphrey's departure sat down to my work with my best cotton night-cap drawn over my ears. Line after line followed each other, and line after line received the disgraceful mark of oblivion. The sheet finished, proved no other mark of intelligence, to the credit of its author, than his judgment in llotting. Not wholly discouraged, I seized a new one, and tried the effect of besetting, as Humphrey. termed it, both sides of my head, after the manner of his customer, the author. This too proved in. effectual, and at length I yielded up the point, dread. ing as much to meet the disappointed hopes of the honest barber, as the poor dependant scribbler, the critique of his, wary bookseller.
With hasty steps I saw him approaching early the next morning. But how was my anxiety, relieved, when I heard, him exclaim" Sir, I have thought of another scheme! I don't think writing that letter will be of any use at all.
But I do think, that if you would but condescend for once to dress like a poor working man, and go to the public-house, where they meet, and talk with them, it would be more likely to serve the purpose,*
Such was my vanity that I felt well pleased at the opportunity of concealing from Humphrey, a. truth, every author would like, if possible, to conceal even from himself-an unsuccessful attempt at writing good sense. I assured him of my wil. lingness to adopt any plan likely to convey reason into unreasonable minds, and agreed with him in the opinion, that in some cases, (perhaps the present) a little well-timed discourse might be the likeliest to effect it. For in conversation we meet the humour and objections of the speaker, which He concealed from the knowledge of the writer. << But,” said I, “would they not be more disposed to hear reason from me in my proper person Surely they must suspect at least, that their superiors in station and information, must know better what is right." Humphrey gave it as his judgment, that it was more likely they would be awed by my appearance in full dress. “ For, Sir,” added he,
you must be sensible you are not an every day looking gentleman.” I then raised the supposition that they would admit no one into their club-room, besides themselves. But Mr. Peach said, the landlord of the Turk's-head was a wary one, and declared he would have no shut up room, that might lay him open to suspicion, and be the means of having his licence taken away ; For,"
", continued Humphrey, “the new justice of the county does his duty, and gives a sharp look out, especially into the public-houses, and that makes me have double
fears. Besides, going dressed like a gentleman, mayhap he would not be willing for you to go amongst them, for 'tis said by some, though I trust without any truth, that here and there a-80-say gentleman, (that is a man who has got money, which never yet alone made a real one) is found to encourage a riotous and grumbling spirit amongst his poor neighbours,"
Humphrey's arguments seemed so much the result of consideration, that I consented to his proposal without more opposition, and the important arrangement of my dress only remained.
He thought my gardening coat too good, and neither of my old hats and wigs sufhciently disguising to conceal me from the knowledge of my acquaintance, as I passed through our own village, which he supposed I would wish to do. I said, it might be as well, as it would prevent any gossip's story of my transformation into an old miser.
Mr. Peach further informed me, that the evening of their meeting, to the great vexation of his cousin, the stone cutter's wife, was fixed on a Monday, when having the most money in his pocket, her husband spent the most in drink. He then took leave of me, under an engagement to bring a suitable dress for the next Monday evening, which he said he knew he had by him.
I submitted to every change in my outward appearance which Mr. Peach thought adviseable, and entertained no apprehensions of discovery after surveying myself in my large pier glass. Humphrey then viewed me with the greatest complacency and then exclaimed, “ Your own mother's son could not know you, Sir.” He then expressed his hopes that suitable thoughts would arise in my mind, and as I walked along took leave of me, with no other hint, but the caution, that I would not shoot over their heads, by shewing too much of my learning