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Far. The Lord forbid! but why should you think so, Thomas ?
Tho. Why I am told our 'squire is to go next winter to London to put one of his sons to some place of larning. I hope he wont stop long, for all the poor people in our village are in a sad taking when he is away; but I am afraid if he was to tell Lord Cancellor what a wonderful man our minister is, the king (God bless him) will soon make him lord Archbishop of Canterbury.
[Thus the Farmer and Thomas went on chatting till his arrival at home. The sequel of some further events will soon be presented to the reader. ]
DIALOGUE VII. .
'SQUIRE WORTHY, MR. LOVEGOOD, MR. LITTLEWORTH,
Proving the utility of Sunday Schools.
SAMUEL WORTHY, Esq
. possesses an ample knighted when he took up the county address on the birth of his present majesty, he being then the sheriff, was one of those good old-fashioned gentlemen, who used to live at home among their tenants and neighbours ; giving a true sample of the simplicity and generosity known in this kingdom about sixty years ago, when no country gentleman went to London but once in four or five years. His mode di travelling was in a coach and four, the butler and groom riding upon two other coach horsės, commonly called helpers. They travelled five miles an hour, and about twenty-five miles a day, and in general were obliged to pass a Sunday upon the road. From the inn he and his family always went twice to church; and he had no more thought of breaking in on the solemnities of the sabbath, than he had of robbing on the highway. You had always the idea of a funeral procession, passing through the village on the con mencement of this journey; but on his return, every bell in the stęčple echoed and re-echoed the joy of the inhabitants; when every grown person stood at the door with a bow or a curtsey, and every child ran out into the street, with a bow down to the ground, close by the coach door, to testify their general joy on his happy return.
While in London, the family used to take lodgings at three pounds a week, in some convenient large house in or near Bond Street, for the sake of country air : even Brook Street, connected with it, was not then in existence, and assumed its name from an aunt of the writer of these dialogues, who was also herself no distant relation to the family of the Worthies. This family, though once very numerous, being found almost in every country, and some of them even of noble blood, yet from a very fatal disease which has of late years prevailed among them, it is feared they will soon become extinct. This unhappy mortality in the family has taken place since their descendants have been accustomed to attend so many bathing and waterdrinking places in the summer, and especially since they have taken up their winter's residence in our great metropolis ; and may be imputed, partly to the poisonous vapours of the former, and the noxious stagnated air of the latter. The . venerable knight (a title in those days honourable) kept a very regular house. Though he was rather formal than spiritual in his religion, yet family prayer was regularly attended to; nor could any thing to sickness detain the family from church and sacrament on all occasions; but, unfortunately for that gentleman, Mr. Deadman was then vicar of the parish.
His son, Mr. S. Worthy, not less respectable than his father, succeeded to the estate about sixteen years ago. After which Mr. Deadman died of a lethargy, and Mr. Lovegood was presented to the living. Mr. and Mrs. Worthy were at first considerably astonished at what was called his new doctrine, and felt some degree of irritation, though intermixed Voi, I.
with candour. When they first heard, they considered that as all the formality and decency belonging to the character of their most respectable predecessor was adopted by them, they were righteous enough already ; but, by the wise and good conduct of Mr. Lovegood, their prejudices were soon abated; and after he had delivered a most striking sermon from that text, “ Thou hast a name to live and art dead," they were determined to examine the Bible for themselves; and happily for them, (they being bred very strict church people) they found the Bible so well comported with the doctrines of the Common Prayer Book, that they soon discovered old Mr. Deadman, and his cousin-german Mr. Blindman, had preached no more the true doctrine of the Bible, as it relates to salvation by Jesus Christ, than if they had been two of the priests of Jupiter. This truly valuable gentleman, as soon as he received good, promoted it to the utmost of his power, and became a very warm advocate for Sunday Schools. The reader, therefore, shall know what passed while he made a feast for a large assembly of poor children and their parents belonging to the Sunday School of the parish in which he presided.
The reader must recollect, that in a former dialogue Mr. and Mrs. Worthy had invited Farmer Littleworth to attend the meeting, as hopes were then entertained that, by the time intended for the celebration of this kind festival, Henry might arrive from sea: but the Farmer, having heard of many storms and tempests, was strongly agitated with a variety of doubts and fears, whether he should ever be blessed with the sight of a son, now rendered so dear to him by such circumstances as have already been related. Notwithstanding, the invitation was accepted. The farmer rode down to Mr. Worthy's, though with a heavy heart, (to see his son was now
all in all to him,) and Miss Nancy rode behind her father. Miss Polly and Miss Patty chose to walk, while Sam carried some new purchased trappings from Mrs. Flirt's, which were to be put on in Mrs. Trusty's (the housekceper's) room before they made their appearance in the parlour. Thus, while the affectation of the two misses was noticed with secret ridicule and contempt, the unaffected simplicity of Nancy and her father was observed with reverence and respect.
A litile fracas, however, had just before happened between the Farmer and his wife.
She was a very prudent thrifty woman, and loved this world better than the next: but now the Funmer's heart was opened. Once he thought of nothing but how to get, now it was in his heart to know how to give. He fixed his eyes on a large flitch of bacon, and after a little controversy with Mrs. Littleworth, who still loved getting more than giving, it was entrusted to Thomas, to be carried to the 'Squire's, there to be catered among the children, as an additional present to the parents of those who behaved well.
Mr. Lovegood first led his family of little ones to the church, where they were seated together, and surrounded by their parents and friends; then chose some lessons very appropriate, and made some affectionate and striking observations as he read them.His sermon, as designed for children, was concise, but impressive ; and knowing that little minds must have short lessons, he varied the subject by the following little histories.
First, he told them of a child of a perverse and obstinate turn of mind, who, neither with nor without correction would obey her poor mother, whose husband had cruelly gone away and left her. This child, after a mild and moderate correction, went out of the house resentful and sulky, and drowned