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THERE are an hundred faults in this Thing, and an hundred things might be said to prove them beauties: but it is needless. A book may be amusing with numerous errors, or it may be very dull without a single absurdity. The hero of this piece unites in himself the three greatest characters upon earth; he is a priest, an husbandman, and the father of a family. He is drawn as ready to teach, and ready to obey; as simple in affluence, and majestic in adversity. In this age of opulence and refinement, whom can such a character please ? Such as are fond of high life, will turn with difdain from the simplicity of his country fire-fide; such as mistake ribaldry for humour, will find no wit in his harmless conversation; and such as have been taught to deride religion, will laugh at one whose chief stores of comfort are drawn from futurity
VICAR OF WAKEFIELD.
CH A P. I.
THE DESCRIPTION OF THE FAMÍLY'OF WAKEFIELD;
IN WHICH A KINDRED LIKENESS PREVAILS AS WELL OF MINDS AS OF PERSONS.
I Was ever of opinion
, that the honeft man who married
and brought up a large family, did more service than he who continued single, and only talked of population. From this motive, I had scarce taken orders a year, before I began to think seriously of matrimony, and chose my wife as she did her wedding gown, not for a fine glofly furface, but such qualities as would wear well. To do her justice, she was a good-natured notable woman"; and as for breeding, there were few country ladies who could Thew more. She could read any English book without much spelling : but for pickling, preserving, and cookery, none could excel her. She prided herself also upon being an excellent contriver in houfo-keeping; though I could never find that we grew richer with all her contrivances.
However, we loved each other tenderly, and our fondness increased as we grew old. There was in fact, nothing that could make us angry with the world, or each
other. We had an elegant house, situated in a fine country, and a good neighbourhood. The year was spent in a moral or rural amusement ; in visiting our rich neighbours, and relieving such as were poor. We had no revolutions to fear, nor fatigues to undergo; all our adventures were by the fire-fide, and all our migrations from the blue bed to the brown.
As we lived near the road, we often had the traveller or stranger visit us, to taste our gooseberry-wine, for which we had great reputation ; and I profefs, with the veracity of an historian, that I never knew one of them find fault with it. Our cousins too, even to the fortieth remove, all remembered their affinity, without any help from the herald's office, and came very frequently to see us. Some of them did us no great honour by these claims of kindred; as we had the blind, the maimed, and the halt, amongst the number. However, my wife always insisted, that as they were the same flesh and blood, they should fit with us at the same table. So that if we had not very rich, we generally had very happy friends about us; for this remark will hold good through life, that the poorer the guest, the better pleased he ever is with being treated ; and as some men gaze with admiration at the colours of á tulip, or the wing of a butterfly, so I was by nature an admirer of happy human faces. However, when any one of our relations was found to be a person of a very bad character, a troublesome guest, or one we defired to get rid of, upon his leaving my house, I ever took care to lend him a riding-coat, or a pair of boots, or sometimes an horse of small value, and I always had the satisfaction of finding he never came back to return them. By this the house was cleared of such as we did not like ; but never was the fa