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wilder than the Campagna of Rome, or the uncultivated vales of the Alps and Apennines.' And now the Arcadian fpirit comes ftrong upon him, and we find him in excellent trim for a fancy-flight,
To Thebes, or Athens, or the Lord knows where,
Warm,' fays he, with a claffical enthufiafm, I journied on, and with fancy's eye beheld the rural divinities, in those 'facred woods and groves, which fhade the fides of many of the vaft furrounding fells, and the fhores and promontories of many lovely lakes, and bright running ftreams. For feveral hours I travelled over mountains tremendous to behold, and through vales the finest in the world. Not a man or houfe could I fee in eight hours time, but towards five in • the afternoon, there appeared at the foot of a hill, a fweetly fituated cottage, that was half covered with trees, and ftood < by the fide of a large falling ftream: a vale extended to the fouth from the door, that was terminated with rocks, and ⚫ precipices on precipices, in an amazing point of view, and through the flowery ground, the water was beautifully seen, as it winded to a deeper flood at the bottom of the vale. Half a dozen cows were grazing in view; and a few flocks of feeding fheep added to the beauties of the scene.
To this houfe I fent my boy, to enquire who lived there, and to know, if for the night I could be entertained, as I ⚫ knew not where elfe to go. O'Fin very quickly returned, and informed me, that one Farmer Price was the owner of the place, but had gone in the morning to the next town; and that his wife faid, I was welcome to what her house • afforded. In then I went, and was moft civilly received by an exceeding pretty woman, who told me her husband 'would foon be at home, and be glad, fhe was fure, to fee me at their lone place; for he was no ftranger to gentlemen and the world, though at prefent he rarely converfed with any one.'
While our Knight of the hills and dales was regaling himfelf with a cruft, and a cup of extraordinary malt-drink*, in came Mr. Price.
*It is obfervable, that wherever our Author goes, he has always the good fortune to meet with good cheer; and the extraordinary eating, and the extraordinary drinking, are as duly celebrated, as the extraordinary beauty, and the extraordinary genius and learning of the extraordinary ladies he meets with; whence it may not, perhaps, be altoge her unreasonable to conclude, that this gentleman is not one of those rigid mortals, who reckon a fine girl, and a bottle, amongit the number of mortal fins.
The man,' fays Mr. Buncle, feemed greatly astonished € at entering the room, and after he had looked with great earneftness at me for a little while, he cried out, Good Heaven! what do I fee! Falstaff, my clafs-fellow, and my fecond felf! My dear Friend, you are welcome, thrice welcome to this part of the world! All this furprized me not a little, for I could not recollect at once a face that had been greatly altered by the fmall-pox: and it was not till I reflected on the name Price, that I knew I was then in the ⚫house of one of my fchool-fellows, with whom I had been • most intimate, and had played the part of Plump Jack, in: Henry the Fourth, when he did Prince Henry. This was an unexpected meeting, indeed; and confidering the place, and all the circumftances belonging to the scene, a thing more ftrange and affecting never came in my way. Our pleasure at this meeting was very great, and when the most affectionate falutations were over, my friend Price pro⚫ceeded in the following manner,
"Often have I remembered you fince we parted, and exclufive of the Greek and English plays we have acted together: at Sheridan's fchool, in which you acquired no fmall applaufe, I have frequently thought of our frolickfome rambles. in vacation time, and the merry dancings we have had at • Mother Red-cap's, in Back-lane; the hurling matches we have played at Dolphin's barn, and the cakes and ale we ufed to have at the Organ houfe, on Arbor-hill. These things have often occurred to my mind; but little did I ⚫ think we should ever meet again on Stanmore-hills. What ftrange things does time produce! It has taken me from a town-life, to live on the most folitary part of the globe:And it has brought you to journey where never man, I believe, ever thought of travelling before. So it is (I replied) and ftranger things, dear Jack, may happen yet, before our • eyes are closed: why I journey this untravelled way, I wilk inform you by and by; when you have told me by what ftrange means you came to dwell in this remote and filent vale. That you fhall know (Mr. Price faid) very foon, as 'foon as we have eaten a morfel of fomething or other which my dear Martha has prepared, against my return. Here it
comes, a fowl, bacon, and greens, and as fine, I will an fwer, as London market could yield. Let us fit down, my friend, and God bless us and our meat.
Down then we fat immediately to our difh, and most ex⚫cellent every thing was. The focial goodness of this fond $ couple added greatly to the pleasure of the meal, and with
• mirth and friendship we eat up our capon, our bacon, and our · greens. When we had done, Price brought in pipes and tobacco, and a fresh tankard of his admirable ale. Liften now (he faid) to my ftory, and then I will hearken to
Here we have the fhort hiftory of Jack Price; who had been a moft extravagant debauchee; had fpent an immenfe fortune in the diffipations of the gay world; and being reduced to the laft five hundred, had at laft married Patty, a Weftmorlandfarmer's daughter; who made the beft ufe of the above-mentioned remains of her husband's fortune, in the fuccessful cultivation of the fnug farm, where Mr. Buncle now found the C happieft of wedded mortals.'
And now, the rare accomplishments and virtues of Mrs." Martha Price come in for their fhare of praife and celebration;" for, think not, Reader, that thefe were confined to the brewing of extraordinary fine ale, or the furnishing her husband's table with extraordinary fine capons, and bacon, and greens; no,' Sir, thefe, though valuable qualifications, especially for a farmer's wife, were but trifles, compared with the endowments of her mind; in the enumeration of which, the happy Price: thus gratefully expreffes himself.
It is not only happiness in this world, that I have acquir⚫ed by this admirable woman, but life eternal. You remember, my friend, what a wild and wicked one I was.- -When < I was courting my wife, the foon difcerned my impiety, and that I had very little notion of Heaven and Hell, Death and Judgment. This fhe made a principal objection, and told C me, fhe could not venture into a married state with a man who had no regard to the Divine laws; and therefore, if <fhe could not make me a Christian, in the true fense of the word, he would never be Mrs. Price.
This from a plain country girl,' continues Mr. Price, • furprized me not a little, and my aftonifhment rofe very high, • when I heard her talk of religion.She foon convinced me, that religion was the only means by which we can arrive at true happiness; by which we can attain to the last perfection and dignity of our nature; and that the word of God is the fureft foundation of religion, The fubftance of what fhe faid is as follows: I fhall never forget the leffon.'
Here Mr. Price recapitulates the fum of Mrs. Patty's documents; and, in truth, her lecture was fuch, as not only would do honour to any woman, whatever, but was even not unworthy a Tillotson, a Fofter, or a Sykes.
Mr. Buncle having, in turn, related his ftory to Mr. Price, fome other chat fucceeds; and the latter, in merry mood, proposes, that the reft of the evening fhould be gaily spent.
Here comes my beloved wife,' adds Mr. Price, with a little bowl of punch, and as the fings extremely well, and you have not forgot, I fancy, our old fong, we will have it over our nectar. You fhall reprefent Janus and Momus, and I will be Chronos and Mars, and my wife Diana and Venus. Let us take a glass first-the liberties of the world! <--and then do you begin.'
Here that lively interlude,
Chronos, Chronos, mend thy paće, &c.
is introduced; after which our joyous Adventurer thus pro teeds in quick tranfition, to matters of more ferious import.
In this happy manner did we páfs the night in this wild ⚫ and frightful part of the world, and for three fucceeding < evenings and days, enjoyed as much true fatisfaction as it was poffible for mortals to feel. Price was an ingenious, • chearful, entertaining man, and his wife had not only fenfe more than ordinary, but was one of the best of women.
was prodigiously pleafed with her converfation. Tho' fhe was no woman of letters, nor had any books in her house, · except the Bible, Barrow's and Wichcott's fermons, Ho well's Hiftory of the World, and the History of England, yet from thefe few, a great memory, and an extraordinary conception of things, had collected a valuable knowlege, and she talked with an eafe and perfpicuity that was won⚫derful. On religious fubjects fhe aftonifhed me.'
Sunday being one of the days of our Author's abode at this, place, the afternoon was fpent in a very fenfible, inftructive, and animated converfation, between Mrs. Price, and Mr. Buncle, concerning the nature, end, and defign of Chriftianity; in the course of which, the latter gives a curious and learned review of the state of religion, from the creation to this time. The whole of this conversation shews the genius of this furprizing writer, to vaft advantage; we fhould with pleafure lay it before our Readers, were it not too large to be copied entire and it were a thousand pities to deftroy its beauty and connection, by any abstract. We refer, therefore, to the book at large; wherein, as to topics of this nature, the Reader will find infinitely more fatisfaction than it would he natural to expect, from any character given of fo motley
a performance, drawn from the lighter and more extravagant parts of it :-Our Author is, indeed, a most amazing man!
That part of the country, in the north of England, called Stanmore-hills, is fo rude and uncultivated, that it is very little vifited by travellers, or even by the inhabitants of the circumjacent parts. Our Author feems to have taken advantage of this circumftance, in his lavish descriptions; as well knowing, that few of his Readers would be able to question, or difprove, their reality. We make no doubt, however, that many things, feemingly very extraordinary, may be as he defcribes them; while others are too improbable, too romantic, for any to believe, but those who have feen very little of the world, have, moreover, an uncommon fhare of native credulity, and, into the bargain, an imagination tinctured with the marvellous, and the extravagant, by too much reading of fabulous poetry, fictitious travels, and romantic adventures: among the number of which, we muft, undoubtedly reckon the greatest part of what Mr. Buncle relates of his journey through Stanmore. Let us accompany him, part of the way at least, and fee how the country looks.
The 13th of June,' fays he, I took my leave of my friend, John Price, and his admirable wife, promifing to vifit them again, as foon as it was in my power; and proceeded on my journey, in queft of Mr. Turner. I would not let Price go with me, on fecond thoughts, as many fad accidents might happen in this rough and defolate part of the world, and no relief, in fuch cafe, to be found. If I fell, there was no one belonging to me to fhed a tear for me: but if a mischief fhould befall Jack Price, his wife would be miferable indeed, and I the maker of a breach in "the fweeteft fyftem of felicity that love and good fenfe had ever formed. This made me refufe his repeated offers to accompany me. All I would have, was a boy and a horse of his, to carry fome provifions, wet and dry, as there was < no public houfe to be found in afcending those tremendous hills, or in the deep vales through which I muft go; nor 6 any house, that he knew of, beyond his own.
With the rifing fun, then, I fet out, and was charmed ⚫ for feveral hours with the air and views. The mountains, the rocky precipices, the woods, and the waters, appeared in various ftriking fituations every mile I travelled on, and formed the most aftonishing points of view. Sometimes I was above the clouds, and then crept to enchanting • vallies below. Here glins were feen, that looked as if the ⚫ mountains had been rent afunder, to form the amazing scenes: