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O Master Prim, Master Prim! had not you bet. ter now have given us a Guinea for the Doctor and his four Children, and reserved your Half Crown for the Lady, who, if I may judge from her Garb and Equipage, does not want it half so much as the poor Parson; but you will be in the Fashion, fo give us your Mite ; fet down Mr. Priin 'Two and Sixpence.-Sir, Good Morrow to you-Gentlemen, your Servant
Such, my Lord, you see, is the Force of FaThion, and such the Influence of Exampie, that a constant Church-goer, and one perhaps who fancies himself a very good Christian, iliall throw away one Pound one with all the Pleafure imaginable for an Evening's Entertainment at the Theatre, and at the fame Time grudge Half a Crown for two and fifty Discourses from the Pulpit, which, if he turns to his Arithmetic Book, he will fee amounts to about ---three Farthings a Sermon--and a fober Citizen too, as Lady Town'y says, “ fye! fye!'
These, my Lord, are melancholy Truths, and, though you and I who are Philosophers may laugh at them, have made many, an honest Man's Heart ake.
I will leave your Lordship to imagine, without entering any further into this Subject, what the great and desirable Emoluments must be arising from a Town Lectureship; hardly equal at the best to the Wages of a Journeyman Staymaker, and by nu Means upon a Level with the Profits of Drawers, Coffee-house Waiters, or the Footmen of our Nobility. This very lucrative Employment, notwithstanding, as being too considerable for one Man, is frequently split in two and divided, like the Places of Poft Master General, Secretary, &c.' amongst the Great. I have myself the Honour, my Lord, of being what is called a Joint-Lecturer, not having Interest enough in the Parish, where I had been CuVOL. II.
rate for twenty Years, to secure the Whole. I cannot indeed so far agree with our old Friend Hefiod as to think the Half better than the Whole, but, embracing the + English instead of the Greek Proverb, fit myself down contentedly, and eat my half Loaf in Quiet. But, to confess the Truth, I find the Profits of both Preferments (for your Lordship ices I am a Pluralis) rather too small, to provide, in these hard Times, for the Necessities of a growing Family, and have lạtely been obliged to eke out Matters by entering myself on my Friend H---w's Lift. As there is something curious in this Mr. H-, both with Regard to himself, and the Business he is engaged in, I shall beg Leave to introduce him to your Lordfhip's Acquaintance, as I believe, during what I may call your Minority in the Church, no such Character or Occupation was in being
You must know then, my Lord, that the ingenious Mr. He has found out a new Method of being serviceable to the Ciergy and himself, by keeping a Kind of Ecclefiaftical Register Office, or, more properly speaking, Divinity-Shop, in the City, where Parsons are hired by the Day, Week, Month, &c. as Occasion requires. For this Purpose he keeps a regular alphabetical List of unemployed Divines, from the Age of threescore and ten, to two and twenty, ready to be let out for certain stipulated Sums, deducting a proper Premium for the Agent from every one of them. If any labouring Curate, Lecturer, Morning Preacher, &c. is too busy or too idle to perform his own Duty, he may immediately repair to the faid Office, and be supplied with as much found and orthodox Divinity as he is able or willing to pay for. To this very useful Gentleman, I had myself, not long since, Occasion to apply,
πλεον ήμισυ παντG-. † Hali a Loaf is better than no Bread.
being obliged to leave my Church for a Fortnight; when the following Conversation, as near as I can remember, passed between us : if it does not make you smile, I can only fay, your Lordship's risible. Muscles are not so pliant as they used to be.
Curate. I suppose, Mr. H- you can guess my Ertand; I am going out of Town To-morrow, and Thall want a Supply, and withal, Master H, I come to inform you, I shall commence from this Day both Agent and Patient, and intend to hire and to be hired: so, as I am likely to be a pretty constant Dealer, and am besides an old Acquaintance, hope you will give me the Turn of the Scale : so put me down in your Lift immediately.
Mr. H-- (pulling out the Lift. It Thall be done, Sir: and a most respectable Lif it is, I assure you ; I have just got a fresh Cargo of Scotch Divines, piping hot from Edinburgh; besides the old Corps--my Collection ends with--let me fee..-fourteen School-Masters, five Doctors of Divinity, (pray, my Lord mind the Climax) two Reviewers, three political Writers, two Bible-makers, and a K-m's C-n.
Mr. HExcellent Scholars, charming Preachers, I assure you : but, entre nous, not one of them worth Sixpence in the World --but to your Business.
Curate. Aye, Mr. H, I must have good Voice for Wednesdays and Fridays, and one of your best Ora
tors for Sunday next : you know, my Congregation is a little delicate.
Mr. H Aye; more nice than wise perhaps --but let us look sharp---here's Parson Rawbones, one of my Athletic, able-bodied Divines, it is not long since he knock'd down a Clerk in the Desk for interrupting him in the Middle of a Prayer ; this, you know, shew'd a good Spirit, and keeps up the Dignity of the Cloth : but I doubt whether he'll do for you ; for he's a North country Min, and has got the Burr in his Throat ; he'll never pass at your End of the Town : I shall sport him, however, at a Day-lecture, or an early Sacrament.
find me out somebody, for I am in Haste.
Mr. HIf you had wanted a Brawler for a Charity Ser. mon, I could have help'd you to the best Beggar in England, an Errant Pick-pocket for the Middle Ise; beats your Do's and W-'s out of the Pit, a Doctor of Divinity too, and a Justice of Peace ; but he won't do for you, for the Dog's over Head and Ears in Debt, and durft not ftir out on a Week-day for Fear of the Bum-bailiffs ; but--here I have him for you---the quickest Reader in England : I'll bet my Stackhouse's Bible to a CommonPrayer Book, he gives Dr. Drawl to the Te Deum, and overtakes him before he comes to the Thanksgiving ! O, he's a rare Hand at a Collect ; but, remember, if he preaches, you must furnish him with the Paraphernalia ; for he's but just got upon the List, and has not Money enough yet to purchase Canonicals.
Curate. O, we can equip him with them, but what's his Price?
Mr. Mr. H
[whispers. Why, you would not offer him less than for the sake of your Brethren, for your own Sake. Let me tell you, Sir, I am one of the best Friends to the inferior Clergy, and have done more for them, (and that's a bold Word) than the whole Bench of B-p's. I believe I may safely say, I have raised the Price of Lungs at least Cent, per Cent : I knew the Time, and so did you, when a well caffock'd Divine was glad to read Prayers, and on a Holiday too, for Twelve-pence; Old C- never had more in his Life ; now, Sir, I never let a Tit go out of my Stable, (you'll pardon my Jocularity) under five Shillings..
My Friend H- was running on in this unmerciful Manner, and would, for aught I know, have talked to this Time, if I had not stopp'd him short, pretended immediate Business, paid my Earnest, and took my Leave: not a little chagrin'd, you may imagine, at the contemptuous Kindness he expressed for the Cloth, and the degrading Familiarity with which he treated that Function to which your Lordship, equally with myself, has the Honour to belong.
To say the Truth — But this must be deferred, with many other considerations, to another Letter ; my Wife having just now broke into my Study to remind me, that I have a Sermon to finish before Ten, To-morrow, which will scarce give me Time to subscribe myself,