“I have now a proposal to make to you. These presents, which you are to take possession of as they are, I advise you to lay by carefully. Whenever you can show me anything that you have begun, and voluntarily finished, you may at the same time bring with you one of these things, beginning with those of least value, to which I will immediately add the part that is deficient. Thus, by degrees, you may have them all completed; and if by this means you should acquire the wise and virtuous habit of perseverance, it will be far more valuable to you than the richest present you could possibly receive.”
Ascribed to OLIVER GOLDSMITH
All the world must allow that Two-Shoes was not her real name. No; her father’s name was Meanwell; and he was for many years a considerable farmer in the parish where Margery was born; but by the misfortunes which he met with in business, and the wicked persecutions of Sir Timothy Gripe, and an overgrown farmer called Graspall, he was effectually ruined.
The case was thus: The parish of Mould well, where they lived, had for many ages been let by the lord of the manor in twelve different farms, in which the tenants lived comfortably, brought up large families, and carefully supported the poor people who labored for them, until the estate by marriage and by death came into the hands of Sir Timothy.
This, gentleman, who loved himself better than all his neighbors, thought it was less trouble to write one receipt for his rent than twelve; and Farmer Graspall offering to take all the farms as the leases expired, Sir Timothy agreed with him, and in process of time he was possessed of every farm but that occupied by little Margery’s father, which he also wanted; for as Mr. Meanwell was a charitable, good man, he stood up for the poor at the parish meetings, and was unwilling to have them oppressed by Sir Timothy and this avaricious farmer. Judge, O kind, humane, and courteous reader, what a terrible situation the poor must be in, when this covetous man was perpetual overseer, and everything for their maintenance was drawn from his hard heart and cruel hand. But he was not only perpetual overseer, but perpetual churchwarden; and judge, O ye Christians, what state the church must be in, when supported by a man without religion or virtue. He was also perpetual surveyor of the highways, and what sort of roads he kept up for the convenience of travelers, those best knew who have had the misfortune to pass through that parish. Complaints indeed were made, but to what purpose are complaints, when brought against a man who can hunt, drink, and smoke, without the lord of the manor, who is also the justice of peace?