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the last proof of his parental feeling, while I was for democratical equaby kicking me out of doors, which I lity. have never since entered ;-but let David, my eldest brother, was a me not anticipate.
tall, lubberly coward, but proud and I was first introduced to all the irrascible, never, for a moment, forpleasures and pains that mortal flesh getting his right of primogeniture ; is heir to, on New-year's-day, which he then appeared, what he has since implies, at least, a probability that I proved, rather of obtuse intellect. had been begotten on the first of His brother Peter was of a delicate, April : whether this had any influ- and, I believe, infirm constitution ; ence on my brain, I shall leave phi. seldom in good health, which made losophers and metaphysicians to de him fretful, peevish, and unhappy : cide. The annals of the first three perhaps the parents nursed and proyears of my life present nothing moted the wayward dispositions of worthy of recording ; besides, as I both, by foolish and injudicious wish to speak from my own know fondness; the one, because he was ledge, if I ever recollected any events their first born, and the other on acof that period, they are now faded count of his sickly constitution. Most from my memory. It may, however, firmly do I still believe, that my pabe necessary to mention, that my pa- rents erred in both extremes, for my rents gave me the name of Gilbert, brothers were spoiled by indulgence, to which I have since added the sure while I was injured by neglect; and name of Greenwood. Having been that they also laid the foundation of preceded by two brothers, and before that early dislike which subsisted beI had completed my first year, my tween my brothers and me, which mother giving me the felicity of ha- seemed to ving a sister, I ran no great risk of a
“Grow with our growth, and strengthen being a spoiled child. Indeed, both parents had at my birth been rather
with our strength." displeased with me, for what I have When we met in the parlour, for never been able to consider myself childish sport, David insisted upon in any degree responsible ; namely, having every thing his own way, and because I was not of the feminine if this was not instantly granted, like gender, that being the sex upon Achilles, he became sullen, and with. which both had set their hearts. The drew in a pet: Peter, again, would birth of my sister still farther oper- cry at a chance fall, or the most tri. ated on the thermometer of their af. vial contradiction ; till I was kicked fection to me, wbich, at its highest from the parlour to the kitchen, like point, had never been beyond tem- the scape-goat to the wilderness, for perate, generally below; and by the the faults of others. time my sister could lisp “ pa" and I ought, perhaps, to have men“ma," it had sunk nearly to the tioned, that there might have been freezing point. I could speak these another reason for the dislike of my endearing appellations much plainer, parents: I had, and still have, a and could clasp my father's knees peculiar cast of countenance, the reand my mother's neck as fondly; verse of an Adonis, which was still but, somehow, my efforts did not farther heightened by a most remark. meet the same return; and I soon able squint with my right eye; and it began to pine in discontent, when I is among my earliest recollections of saw my sister almost smothered with my father's uncle, from England, vimaternal kisses, and dandled in my siting my paternal roof; he looked at father's arms, while I stood neglect me with intense curiosity, would ed, or was perhaps scolded from the give me sweetmeats from his pocket, parlour. From my earliest recollec- stare full in my face, and then place tion, I was left almost solely to the me so as to have a profile view of care of servants, and, except the my countenance. This was done in housemaids, had no other compa- the presence of my parents; after nions; for by some unlucky chance, which, he laughingly asked my mo. my brothers and I could never agree; ther if she had ever been either in they always assumed something re London or Paris ? With much sembling aristocratical superiority, simplicity, she answered “ No."
"Did she ever see John Wilkes?" he had named John Wilkes. My fa(then in the zenith of his civic and ther, glancing at me with the glare political fame ;) she again answered of a tiger, exclaimed, “ Vile wretch ! in the negative; inquiring his reason you have cost the family at least ten for these extraordinary questions. thousand pounds!" i have since "Because," said he, « your son, understood that this was the suppowhom I delight to look on, is the sed amount of my uncle's fortune, very picture of that celebrated pa, and that my father calculated upon and dairy, always putting the girls had left her work imperfect; and in such good humour that they could when Marion set both feet to the deny me nothing. Although in the ground, her altitude was many inches fifth year of my age, I yet slept with less, besides making her lean conone of the inaids, a giddy, buxom siderably from the perpendicular: wench, who delighted in romping like myself, she had a most bewitchwith the men-servants ; she had a ing squint with one eye, and the peculiar pleasure in hearing me other was constantly distilling a speak what was to me an unknown scalding rheum. If there had ever tongue; and under her tutelage, been roses on her cheeks, they had with my daily visits to the stables, faded before I had the pleasure of my vocabulary was every day in- seeing her; but the thorns still recreasing, till I became the delight of mained, and stood thick and proevery menial on the establishment. minent, black and bristling, on her
being his heir; I was deemed the My father believed himself a poli- cause of their quarrel, which had intician ; and if he hated any man duced the old man to marry, and I who had never injured him, it was became almost odious in the sight of John Wilkes, whom his uncle had my parents. This incident, I bepronounced a celebrated patriot. This lieve, had an influence on my future he attributed to his loyalty, although fate, and has since been the source of I have since discovered that it pro. much deliberate and serious thought ceeded from some attachment to to me;-the heaviest consequences of Lord Bute.“ Like that scoundrel !" the quarrel fell on me, although I exclaimed my father; “I would as have never been able to convince soon hear you say he is like the myself that I was not the most inGrand Turk !” “And he may be a nocent of all concerned. very respectable man, and a good. It was now seldom that I was perlooking personage for aught I know," mitted to enter the parlour; and my Teplied the uncle. A dispute now reception when there had no tendentook place, which I was not of an cy to make me regret the prohibiage to understand; but I can recol- tion; for my father kept harping lect that it was continued till both about my ugly countenance, and got angry; for my father's breath my mother upbraided me with my failed him, which it always did when awkward manners and vulgar lanin a rage, and my uncle's face red- guage, forgetting that both were dened like the gills of the turkey- copied from those with whom their cock in the yard when I provoked unkindness had doomed me to ashim with a stick. My uncle was a sociate. rich old bachelor, and had come In proportion as I was an object down intending to pass some weeks of dislike up stairs, I became a fa. of the summer with us ; but the vourite in the kitchen, the dairy, conversation about Wilkes was re- and stables ; for I could curse and newed next day at breakfast ; at swear in a style that the groom dinner they “ fought their battle said did his heart good to hear, and o'er again ;" and the result was, that he pronounced me a most promising uncle took his departure next morn- boy; he had also taught me several ing. After he was gone, I went up words and phrases, of which I knew to my father to shew him a bird not the meaning, although I heard which had been given me by a ser- them often used by him and his vant; but he stamped with his foot, companions. · I, bowever, happened and, with a frown which I have not to utter some of them in the hearyet forgotten, cried, “ Get out of my ing of the maid-servants; they callsight, you ugly brat! yon are a dis- ed me a little devil; but I observed grace to the family !" I did not that they laughed to each other; then understand this; but I felt they knew my temper to be such, that every day after I was less wel- that a prohibition was the readiest come to the presence of both iny method of making me repeat them, parents.
which I did, till I saw that they In about a year after, my father liked to hear them, for they kissed received a letter from his uncle, and fondled me after I had thus thanking him for having been the dared to disobey them; and I soon cause of greater happiness than ever discovered, that if I had a favour he had expected to enjoy; for ke was to solicit from them, the repetition of now blessed with a fond and affec- these cabalistical words was like Alitionate wife, who had made him the Baba's “ Open, Sesame," which gave happy father of an infant son, whom me the command of both cupboard
I did not yet know my letters; chin. A large black mole decorated but, exclusive of the qualifications the centre of her arched nose, which already mentioned, I could play at was hooked like a hawk's bill; her blind-man's-buff and blind trumps, lips were thin, and, like her cheeks, in the kitchen ; pitch-and-toss in the skinny, parched, and wrinkled; ber stable-yard ; romp with the maids; teeth had never been drilled into and wrestle'a fall, or box with any symmetrical order; many had now boy in the neighbouring village, al. deserted their posts, and, by an inthough several years older; for I veterate custom of smoking tobacco, had been taught wrestling and pu. the few that remained appeared in gilism, scientifically, by my good the garb of mourning, perhaps for friends of the stable. I was the their companions who had fallen or ready messenger and faithful confi- been disabled in the service. There dant of the twilight assignations was something almost appalling in which took place between my friends her cadaverous complexion; and her of different sexes; and my presence dingy tresses, interspersed with grey, was never considered as an interrup- floated on a long and scraggy neck, tion to their romping freedoms, so in colour much resembling a parchthat I had already more unblushing ment charter granted some centuries confidence-why should I not say ago; her voice resembled the boarse forward impudence-than most boys croaking of the raven; and there was of double my age. I was also expert something so fascinating in her gute in cunning, could tell a lie with tural pronunciation, that I soon imi. an easy grace, and bear a cross-ex- tated her with great success. Her amination without contradicting my- only sensual enjoyments, as far as self. By the means already men I could ever learn, were drinking tioned, I knew how to obtain curds strong tea and smoking tobacco; and and cream, and laid both dairy and her sole companions, exclusive of her pantry under contribution as often pupils, were a green parrot and toras I pleased.
toise-shell cat ; this last generally I was now sent to a day-school, in lay purring on her lap, ready to a village about half a mile distant. munch a bit of cheese, or any other Marion Skae, the governess of this delicacy, which often proved a peaceLyceum, was a vestal, if not of offering from some idle or roguish youthful loveliness, at least of virgin urchin, propitiating the rising wrath purity. She had been often heard of Marion. The parrot's cage was to affirm, that this was her own de suspended in another apartment, liberate choice, although others at that its loquacity might not intertributed it to the Parcae who pre- rupt the school exercises ; but after sided over her destiny. Be this as their lessons, favourite pupils were it may, her personal attractions, even permitted to retire, and hold a conin her youthful bloom, had been of fabulation with pretty Poll, as a rea peculiar, and rather uncommon laxation from their studies. kind. When, like some bipeds of When I stood up beside her to my the feathered creation, she stood lesson, a suppressed titter went round upon one leg, she might have passed the room, for she squinted with one muster for a grenadier; but Nature eye, and I with another; and both
our looks seemed averted, when we As Grimalkin had been only teased were staring each other full in the and frightened, without receiving face. I had, as already mentioned, any injury, I conceived myself unlearned to imitate her pronunciation, justly punished, and accordingly mewhich perhaps she considered min ditated sweet revenge; and soon after, mickry and mocking, and I, there. by the aid of a friendly hint, hit fore, was no favourite. There was upon the following expedient: when perhaps another reason ; I was way- Marion smoked a pipe, she always ward, self-willed, and practised many knocked out the ashes, and instantly little roguish tricks, any one of filled it, to be ready for the next dis. which, although per se trivial, by charge, placing it on a little shelf on continued repetition, or taken in the the chimney. While warming myself aggregate with its companions, was at the fire, I contrived to secrete the rather too much for Marion's philo- pipe, and retiring to the apartment sophy. During the first year of my where there was no witness, except scholarship, not a week elapsed in the parrot, and which I believed which I did not experience one or could no: bear evidence against me, more castigations, which were the I introduced what I conceived a full more severely administered, as the charge of gunpowder, covered it up dame was mortified to find that she with the tobacco, and placing my could never extract a tear from my Congreve rocket in statu quo, retired eyes. When I went home at night, to my seat, impatient for the catasthe occurrences of the school served trophe, reckless whether it proved to amuse my friends in the kitchen, tragical or comical. The dame, who who now became my counsellors, had forborne her accustomed whiff teaching me many tricks, for tease longer than usual, at last took her ing and plaguing the school-mistress, seat at the fire, called me up to read whom I neither loved nor feared. my lesson at her elbow, and began to I shall relate one or two of my feats light her pipe. Aware of my danger, at this seminary, as they followed I was far from easy, but durst nei. one another in a consecutive series, ther quit my post nor exhibit any and ultimately led to my expulsion. signs of alarm ; but I was not long
There was a small lake behind the kept in suspense; the explosion soon village, where we amused ourselves took place the bowl of the pipe was on the ice in winter. I procured shivered in innumerable pieces, which some bird-lime and walnut-shells, flew in all directions; one of them and one day, at noon, by the help of came against my check with a prosome confederates, decoyed the Tom jectile force, which fixed it deep in cat till we shod him with the shells, the flesh, and was not extracted till put him in a bag, and carried him to the dairy-maid performed that office the ice, set him down, and amused in the evening; the scar still reourselves with his tumbling and mains, as an evidence of my early sprawling, for he could neither run folly. When I looked up, Goody's nor walk. The tale was soon told to cap was in a blaze ; however, she Marion, who hurried out to the res- had presence of mind to throw up cue of her favourite ; but she durst her worsted apron, and drawing it not approach us, but stood fretting closely around her head, soon extinon the margin of the lake, while our guished the flame. The bursting of shouts of laughter were echoing both a bombshell in a fortress could not loud and long; our mirth maddened have produced greater astonishment her into fury, and she brandished and alarm than the sudden exploher crutch in impotent rage. When sion did among the terrified urtired of the sport, we conveyed the chins. Marion's mind was, howtrembling animal on shore, released ever, as masculine as her form ; him from his pattens, when he was she neither fainted nor went into carried home in the arms of his hysterics; but after recovering from mistress. A strict investigation took her panic, a moment's reflection conplace; I was inforined upon as the vinced her that the accident had primum mobile of the whole, and a been produced by gunpowder, and severe flagellation was the conse- her suspicion rested on me as the quence.
incendiary. I was aware that this would be the case, but having no floor at every stroke, and absolutely confederate, I considered detection bit iny tongue through in the agony impossible. Without saying a word, I endurel. Laying down the whip, she came slily behind me, laid me he now ordered me to kneel before on the floor, and holding me down Mrs Skae, and beg her pardon, prowith the grasp of an amazon, order- mising to be a good boy in time comed my pockets to be searched. I had ing. She had looked on with savage foolishly retained my superfluous satisfaction during my flagellation ; stock of ammunition ; it was produ- and thus to humble myself before her ced, and my conviction was complete. was what went sadly against my stoShe calmly ordered me to my seat, mach, and I stood trembling with and proceeded in the routine of her mingled agony of mind and body, duty, although I could see a settled naked and bleeding, looking at her gloom on her countenance; this I with stern defiance; however, a fresh considered as the harbinger of an ap- application of the whip subdued my proaching storm, which I believed haughty spirit, and after half a dozen would be the more dreadful, on ac- of strokes more severe than any of count of the calm by which it was the preceding, I crawled to her chair, preceded. It was the first time she fell on my knees, muttered some ex. had ever been able to inspire me with pressions of contrition and promises any feeling resembling 'fear, but I of submission in future, to all of certainly did now feel a presentiment which my heart gave the lie, for alof impending danger. However, we ready was it meditating revenge; she were dismissed for the day, without held out her withered hand for me any notice having been taken of my to kiss, and I know not the substance delinquency. I went exultingly home, in nature I would not have preferand was, with great glee, retailing red coming in contact with my lips, yet my exploit to the maids, who were I was forced to submit. Although not laughing and holding their sides, the first, this was the severest whipwhen I was summoned to the par- ping I had ever got from my father. lour. This was something unusual, The apathy, or rather savage delight, and I went with a kind of boding re- with which Marion Skae witnessed luctance. On my entrance, the first my chastisement, stung me deeper sight I beheld was the school-mis- than the wounds on my lacerated tress ; she was set at one side of the back; and had I not imagined her room, and my father at the other, too despicable for my hatred, she with the fragment of the burnt cap should have had it in full measure; and my packet of gunpowder on the but I contented myself with honour table. I comprehended the whole; ing her with my contempt, although my fortitude was shaken, while my that did not allay my desire of reflushed cheek and quivering lip bore venge. I recollected the promise exevidence against me, before a word torted by my father, or rather by the had been uttered. The charge was whip with which he was armed; but made; I knew the evidence was with a casuistry, similar to that of strong, and that denial would avail Hudibras, argued with myself, that nothing, and therefore stood in ob
He that imposes an oath makes it ; stinate silence. In a tone which I
Not he that for convenience takes it. had never dared to disobey, my father ordered me to strip instantly ; I was afraid that she would have with nerveless fingers I undid button refused to take me back as a scholar, after button, and at length stood be- and thereby have deprived me of that fore him naked from the loins up- vengeance for which my heart pantward : brandishing a whip over my ed; no such proposition being made, Jiead, he demanded an instant con- I returned to school next day, where fession of my guilt; still I stood sul. I was received with a fondness which len and silent, but a smart applica. Marion had never before shewn to tion of the whip soon produced full me. Whether this was hypocrisy, or confession. He now seized me by if she relented and felt contrition for the arm, and plied the instrument of the sufferings she had caused me, I vengeance so severely, that, although know not, but I certainly despised I despised to cry, I sprung from the her the more for the kindness she