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MR. WORTHY AND MR. FREE, A FRIEND OF THE FAMILY
OF THE LOVELYS.
CONTAINING THE CHARACTER OF ALDERMAN GREEDY,
THE Lovelys were in the habit of making excur
sions about that neighbourhood, that they might entertain themselves with the scenery of the country. One morning they went to see a beautiful romantie water-fall, which being at some distance, occupied them the whole of the day.
A gentleman of an easy and liberal mind, whose name is Freo, an old friend of the family of the Lovelys, had lately come into that neighbourhood. He accidentally hearing that young Mr. Lovely was recently married, and that he was hospitably entertained at Mr. Worthys, came over to see him; but unfortunately, on the very day on which he went to see the waterfall. The reader however, by this event, will gain more information respecting the family of the Greedys, especially of the great uncle, than otherwise might have been the case.
Mr. Worthy therefore with his usual hospitality, insisted that Mr. Free should be detained that day at Brookfield-Hall, that he might not be disappointed of his errand. Mr. Free having been thus hospitably invited to the house, after some introductory conversation, the following dialogue took place.
Wor. Have you long known the family of the Lovelys Sir ?
Free. Sir, Mr. Lovely's father and I were school. fellows, and we have been in the habits of intimacy ever since; we were also near neighbours, till about five years ago.
Wor. Then I suppose you lived somewhere near Grediton ?
Free. Yes Sir, much too near for the good of my health. The air of that place never agreed with my constitution. Our house was situated about halfway between Grediton and Fairfield, the abode of Mr. Lovely.
Wor. I should suppose, from what young Mr. Lovely says of his father, that he is a person of a very respectable character.
Free. Very much so indeed Sir, though he married into a shocking family.
Wor. Yes, by his account the family of the Greedys are a sad set; his uncle has used him most cruelly on account of his marriage.
Free. Indeed Sir, the conduct of his uncle in that business was not less treacherous and unjust, than the behavior of Mr. George Lovely was genbrous and fair. He quite takes after his father. He is of an excellent disposition.
Wor. I am quite charmed with him, he is such an honorable youth. But it seems his uncle is determin ed to out him off from every penny, on account of his marriage, though he is his heir at law.
Free. So he gives it out. But I should not wonder, when his rage is abated, though he is of a very revengeful and malicious turn of mind, if he leaves him every farthing. I know all the family well--they are a strange set.
Wor. I am afraid his mother is quite a Greedy, though he says nothing to us about her.
Free. Indeed Sir, she is entirely one of the family; she is always aiming at that which is covetous and mean, while her husband is just the reverse.
Wor. It is bad work when the disposition of the husband and wife are so contrary to each other: but he talks of a very rich, old great uncle, a lawyer, and one of the aldermen of Grediton, who approves of the snatch as highly as the other uncle opposes it. Though I do not like to ask the young people any questions about their rich relations, as it always brings some painful reflections to their mind; yet Mrs. Lovely has mentioned several things to Mrs. Worthy, respecting his astonishing covetousness. From what we can gather, he must be one of the most remarkable misers that ever existed.
Free. I should suppose, if you could search the kingdom over, you would not find his equal: and he is not less wicked than mean.
Wor. I should suppose his character as a miser, is almost as complete as it can be. While the prodigal in the Gospel, like him spends all in mad and riotous living, till he becomes a mere pensioner upon the hogs: this miser it seems, though he feeds on the imaginary idea of his wealth, sustains the real evils of one in abject poverty.
Free. As a lawyer, nobody knows better how to turn the pockets of others inside out, that he may fill his own.
Wor. The profession of the law turns in well for those, who can get rid of conscience and principle, in their profession.
Free. Sir, from his childhood he was educated in all its subterfuges and chicanery; the practice of which, for some years, proved considerably to his advantage: but as he made it a point to stick at nothing, provided that he could serve himself, rather than his client, he had but little business after a while, except among those of his own sort.
Wor. In this respect, it seems he was rather too roguish for his own interest.
Tree. Rather so; but then he procured for himself soine excellent pickings through life, by being agent for the corporation to which be belonged.
Wor. I am told he is immensely rich.-Had he much to begin with ?
Free. His private fortune, as one of the younger branches of a wealthy family, was no more thản three thousand pounds, and from this comparatively small sum, either by his hoardings as a miser, or by his getting's as a lawyer, he is now supposed to be worth fifty times that sum.
Wor. It seems he was never married.
Free. Report says, he never thought of marrying but once, and that was to a rich widow, who was nearly as frugal as himself. The marriage articles were accordingly drawn out by himself: but when be came to lecture her on his methods of oeconomy, and especially that he could never allow but one sheet te the bed, as lying upon the blankets is the niost wholesome, she begged to be off. Upon this he threatened to prosecute her for a breach of contract, and thereby picked her pocket of two hundred pounds.
Wor. What a strange trick! But all this was no great sum to begin with, if what Mr. George Lovely says be true, that he is now worth upwards of five thousand pounds a year.
Free. Šir, I don't doubt it. Hoarding and saving are all his delight. He is an excellent arithmetician; and this talent he always exercises in the old proverb, “A penay saved is a penny got.” He was so well acquainted with the consequences of simple interest and compound interest, that report says, it was he who recommended that plan to the late prime minister, to pay off the national debt; and as on that occasion, he feigned himself a man of property, he got a good slice of the secret service money for his advice, another addition to his useless hoard.
Wor. As to his personal expencos, it seems he is stiuigy beyond any thing.
Free. Sir, report says, he wore the same snit of clothes, of a dark grey mixture, for full fourteen years; and which most people remembered from childhood: so that he was known by the name of the grey alderman. And as he was ander the necessity of appearing decent, that he might pick up a few of those precious things called guineas, which he was in the habit of receiving, upon being consulted for his advice; and when he appeared abroad upon his business, it is said, that to keep his best suit in a state of proper preservation, he adhered strictly to the following rules. First, he never wore them but as he was professionally consulted ; and then if at home, when any came for his advice, he would slip off his morning gown, and put on his coat and waistcoat, and next cover his old patched tattered small. clothes with a silk handkerchief, which was always at hand for that purpose.
Secondly. As soon as he had given his advice, these clothes were immediately slipt off, and returned to the chest, that they might be preserved from dust, wind, and weather, till wanted again.
Thirdly, Whenever he was called abroad, and when seated in an elbow chair in these clothes, he would always sit like a trusted turkey, with his arms close to his body, that he might not damage the elbows by any wastesül rubs; the same care be also took not to lean back, but sat as upright as a dart, that the shoulder bones might not have the same effect on the back of his coat.
Wor. What an astonishing instance of frugality and care!
Free. Yes Sir; and his old morning gown was another piece of curious antiquity, the real age of which could never be correctly ascertained. It was originally fabricated outof some old curtains, which he bought as a bargain at a sale, and designed as hangings for his bed. But having discovered that these would be unwholesome, as they were likely to prevent the free circulation of the air, they were by himself, who for the same frugal purposes, had pretty well learnt the use of the needle, transmogrified into this morning gown. His wig also, was another piece of valuable antiquity, which had been in existence up
is of nine years, and which gave him a very respectable and alderman-like appearance. This also