SCENE II.—A Landscape.
Enter WILLIAM DOWTON, R., FARMER GATES, and FARMER STEVENS, meeting.
(C.) Good day, good day. Mr. Edward was not at church last sabbath.
I heard tell where he was in the afternoon.
Aye, Stevens, you told me. Well, well, I'm right sorry. We used to consider
Mr. Edward a promising young man, and when we seed him get married and settle
among us, we thought to have a respectable man like his father for a neighbor, and
that like him, he'd go
to the general court one of these days. I earnestly hope he han't agoing to stick to these bad ways.
(R.) I don't exactly know what you mean, Farmer Gates. Mr. Middleton is about the same free kind-hearted fellow that he ever was, it appears to me. No longer ago than this blessed morning, he says to me, Bill, says he, your birth-day comes this day week, go to Ned Grogran's, the tailor, next the post office, and get yourself measured for a new suit of clothes at my expense. Now if I that lives with him, and sees everything he does, think well of him, I don't know as other folks need be so very perpendicular about it.
Well, well, I'll tell you what I have heard; you know Squire Cribbs?
In course I does.
Well, he says that if your foster brother doesn't attend a little more to his own interest—
He'll do it for him, I suppose! Now, Mr. Stevens, I'll tell you what I think of that sly old fox, Squire Cribbs. He takes to wickedness just as natural as young ducks take to water. I think, really, if Mr. Edward's soul was put in a great box, that seven thousand such souls as that black beetle's wouldn't fill up the chinks—the spare room around the edges.
Give us your hand. Bill, my man, lawyer Cribbs bears but a middling character hereabout. He has got a prodigious sight of larning, and 'tis not for the likes of me to pretend to decide between you; but I'll be darned if I don't like the man that stands up for him whose bread he eats; and so, Bill, any time you want a drink of cider, just call up our way, and you shall have what you can drink, if it's a gallon. [Exit, R.
Well, well, William, after all neighbor Gates has said, I fear the young man's in a dangerous way—spending his Sabbaths going about the country from one tavern to another. I don't say that he does take too much liquor—but there's a great many that has began that way. [Exit, R.
[Rather serious.] Well, good-bye to you, and thank'ye. I don't think Mr. Edward drinks
any too much—at least I hope not. For my part I wish he'd never seen anything
stronger than milk or green tea. I
wish I hadn't seen them two fellers, they've just made me feel as bad as ever, when I thought I was getting well over it, and beginning to see daylight again. What, dear Mr. Edward, with such a sweet lamb of a wife, and the prettiest little girl that ever drew breath—oh, no, it's nothing. I won't borrow trouble—he just took part of a bowl of punch with a friend at the Flying Horse—but that's no more than the parson himself might do, and there's Deacon Whit-leather, he never sits down to dinner without a stiff horn of something to wash it down. Well, now, I think it's better let alone altogether—for if a man doesn't put his hand in the fire, he runs a better chance of not burning his fingers. [Exit, R.