The opposition which Little Margery’s father made to this man’s tyranny gave offense to Sir Timothy, who endeavored to force him out of his farm; and, to oblige him to throw up the lease, ordered both a brick-kiln and a dog kennel to be erected in the farmer’s orchard. This was contrary to law, and a suit was commenced, in which Margery’s father got the better. The same offense was again committed three different times, and as many actions brought, in all of which the farmer had a verdict, and costs paid him; but notwithstanding these advantages, the law was so expensive, that he was ruined in the contest, and obliged to give up all he had to his creditors; which effectually answered the purpose of Sir Timothy, who erected those nuisances in the farmer’s orchard with that intention. Ah, my dear reader, we brag of liberty, and boast of our laws; but the blessings of the one, and the protection of the other, seldom fall to the lot of the poor; and especially when a rich man is their adversary. How, in the name-of goodness, can a poor wretch obtain redress, when thirty pounds are insufficient to try his cause? Where is he to find money to fee counsel, or how can he plead his cause himself (even if he was permitted) when our laws are so obscure and so multiplied that an abridgment of them cannot be contained in fifty volumes folio?
As soon as Mr. Meanwell had called together his creditors, Sir Timothy seized for a year’s rent, and turned the farmer, his wife, Little Margery, and her brother out of doors, without any of the necessaries of life to support them.
This elated the heart of Mr. Graspall, this crowned his hopes, and filled the measure of his iniquity; for, besides gratifying his revenge, this man’s overthrow gave him the sole dominion over the poor, whom he depressed and abused in a manner too horrible to mention.
Margery’s father flew into another parish for succor, and all those who were able to move left their dwellings and sought employment elsewhere, as they found it would be impossible to live under the tyranny of two such people. The very old, the very lame, and the blind were obliged to stay behind, and whether they were starved, or what became of them, history does not say; but the characters of the great Sir Timothy, and the avaricious tenant, were so infamous, that nobody would work for them by the day, and servants were afraid to engage themselves by the year, lest any unforseen accident should leave them parishioners in a place where they knew they must perish miserably; so that great part of the land lay untilled for some years, which was deemed a just reward for such diabolical proceedings.