Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

and always chastised when wrong, stripes became so familiar, and his disposition so completely soured, that he grew regardless of his conduct, and never feeling * the pleasure of pleasing,' his mind, the elasticity of which was not subdued by severity, sought for and found consolation in retaliating the injuries that he suffered upon those who committed them.

“ His brother, being a tell tale kind of a boy, a little hypocritical, and a little knavish, always took care to make all the mischief he could, and lay every accident on poor Jack whose denial went for nothing: such , being the case, Jack determined to keep his own counsel, and never affirm or deny any thing, endeavouring, as far as he was able, to give a Rowland for an Oliver. His resentments were generally levelled at the pocket, for cruelty had no share in his disposition. The windows were broken, the cattle turned into the lanes, the hogs driven into the kitchen and flower gardens, the ripe fruit shook from the trees, and the poultry put into the barn. One day, when Jack had been punished for what, in his estimate of right and wrong, did not amount to a punishable offence, his father ordered him to be confined in the cellar without food until the next day. What energies will not the untamed spirit even of a child call forth? and what will he not dare when wronged?—Few, I dare say, will guess at Jack's expedient; why he took the cock out of every barrel of beer and ale, and when the servant was sent to draw some for supper, he found Jack up

, to the ancles in malt liquor; but not a drop was left

in any of the casks. This crime, as might be expected, procured a second drubbing, but without effect; for being confined in the coal cellar, which he could not contrive to set on fire, he managed to get out through the trap door, and doing several mischievous tricks, secreted himself for three days in a neighbour's house. During this time a pretty uproar was created; every pond in the neighbourhood was dragged, and those persons who knew the cruelty with which Jack had been treated, even went so far as to insinuate that his father had killed him by beating. At length the lost boy, appeared, and went home as unconcerned as though nothing had happened. His mother, with whom Jack was always a favourite, was ready to die with joy, and his father was scarcely less pleased at being relieved from the stigma which slander had thrown upon his character, and on that account forgave all that had passed. Now it is evident that there were faults on both sides; the son was too like the father, and seemed to acknowledge a wrong when he had not committed one, or even of saying “ Forgive me, and I'll do so no more.” This was a language which Jack was a stranger to; yet if he had submitted occasionally, even to a wrong, he would certainly have conciliated the affections of his parent; but however he jogged on without, and being of course soon driven from home, he plunged into those dissipations which his finances permitted. He had ever been fond of books, and fond of writing, which often solaced him under the reflection that he was oba noxious to a father's anger.

“ It must not be omitted, that he gave the preference to female company; indeed, he is a general favourite of the ladies, who find in Jack all the careless good nature, and suavity of manners, that is requisite to a good companion; he enters into conversation with a gaiety which surprises those who know what he has suffered, and chats on every subject as far as he understands it, without affectation; for lie has skimmed the circle of general knowledge, and is seldom at a loss in conversation. His friendships are always warm and generally lasting; his purse is the property of his friend, and the unfortunate; and he not unfrequently suffers pecuniary inconvenience to relieve his friend from it. This conduct, as he is wanting in precaution, and seldom discriminates between real friends, and those who appear only to be so, has plunged him into difficulties and embarrassments of the most distressing nature. In a word, if the voice of want assails his ear, he is unable to fly from it, considering that while he is coolly ascertain. ing the measure of their distress they might perish. Yet, with all this humanity, there is not a soul breathing that possesses more pride than Jack Giddy, and so many other peculiarites, that, take him all together, he is one of the strangest compounds that can wear the face of humanity, as will be perceived when we finish this outline sketch of an odd fellow's cha. facter,

« JACK GIDDY,"

a

a

If it were not that we are flattered through life with continual fresh prospects and lively hopes, dull and heavy indeed would be the road; happily we are no sooner vexed or disappointed at any thing, but in the common course of incidents we have, by the turn of a few hours, some new hope or expectation to refresh and enliven us, keeping us in temper with the uphill journey of life. Satisfaction does not even close the scene upon us; satisfaction is the end of hope; yet not the end, since from her maturities fresh prospects rise yet more pleasant to look to; she gives us all we ask and promises us more; nor has the man any reason to be depressed, who has met with a train of disappointments; he who awaits vicissitude with

good humour plays but at hazard, at which, however for a time the run of luck may be against him, he is sure one day or other to get a game. Equally useless and unnecessary is it to give way to too great a share of reflection upon the past; after thoughts are of little value, and regret a tormenting fiend, who will never let us be enough at ease to put things to rights. Reflection is only necessary to bring before us past experiences, and then it is of noble service to the mind, which, to act properly in life, should be free from the disorders of despair and dejection, which enslave the best intentions and endeavours, and render us unfit even for good fortune. Happy are those characters who grow from experience better in mind and judgment, without melancholy retrospects and unavailing chagrin. I shall give my readers a description of one of the last characters, as a good lesson for the road so

many are destined to travel; it is in the following lines:

[ocr errors][merged small]

Now, firm in my saddle, I gallop'd all day,
Nor car'd for a gate, though it came in my way;
Quite careless and easy I leapt over all,
Till the filly, calla Fortune, gave me a fall.

I recover'd my seat, and to prove I was game,
Still gallop'd the jade, till I found she was lame;
Till at last, with Experience, I thought I'd get down,
So dismounted my hobby and walk'd thro' the town.

At last we put up at an inn in our way,
Where trav’llers but seldom are tempted to stay,
Their objections, however, shall never be mine,
The house was a good one, Contentment the sign.

The hostess assur'd me, the comforts of life
Were none of them wanting--not even a wife ;
So my nag to the stables by Reason was led,
And the hostess and I went together to bed.

Such is the traveller, who laugh and joke, and frolic along the road, who can stand the rough of all weathers, because he is not afraid of spoiling a fine coat, or catching cold with the showers and hail storms which will at times assail him; he canters on, and is sure, if he chuses, to find the inn if he only looks for the sign.

Perhaps the more sensible and delicate minds, who delight in the luxuries of the imagination, and who appear actually to disdain contentment, may find en

[ocr errors]
« ForrigeFortsæt »