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And even spoiled the women's chats
By drowning their speaking
With shrieking and squeaking,
PERSEVERANCE AGAINST FORTUNE.
THEODORE was a boy of lively parts and engaging manners, but he had the failing of being extremely impatient in his temper, and inclined to extremes. He was ardent in all his pursuits, but could bear no disappointment; and if the least thing went wrong he threw up what he was about in a pet, and could not be prevailed upon to resume it. His father (Mr. Carleton) had given him a bed in the garden which he had cultivated with great delight. The borders were set with double daisies of different colours, next to which was a row of auriculas and polyanthuses. Beyond were stocks and other taller flowers and shrubs, and a beautiful damask rose graced the centre. The rose was just budding, and Theodore watched its daily progress with great interest. One unfortunate day, the door of the garden being left open, a drove of pigs entered, and began to riot on the herbs and flowers. An alarm being sounded, Theodore and the servant boy rushed upon them, smacking their whips. The whole herd in affright took their course across Theodore's flower-bed, on which some of them had before been grazing. Stocks, daisies, and auriculas were all trampled down or torn up; and, what was worst of all, a sow ran directly over the beautiful rose tree, and broke off its stem level with the ground. When Theodore came up,
and beheld all the mischief, and especially his favourite roses strewed on the soil, rage and grief choked his utterance. After standing awhile the picture of despair, he snatched up a spade that stood near, and with furious haste dug over the whole bed, and whelmed all the relics of his flowers deep under the soil. This exertion being ended, he burst into tears, and silently left the garden.
His father, who had beheld the scene at a distance, though somewhat diverted at the boy's childish violence, yet began seriously to reflect on the future consequences of such a temper, if suffered to grow up without restraint. He said nothing to him at the time, but in the afternoon he took him a walk into a neighbouring parish. There was a large wild common, and at the skirts of it a neat farmhouse, with fields lying round it, all well fenced and cultivated in the best manner. The air was sweetened with the bean flower and clover. An orchard of fine young fruit trees lay behind the house, and before it a little garden, gay with all the flowers of the season. A stand of beehives was on the southern side, sheltered by a thick hedge of honeysuckle and sweetbriar. A herd of cows with full udders were just coming home to be milked. Everything wore the aspect of plenty and good management. The charms of the scene struck Theodore very forcibly, and he expressed his pleasure in the warmest terms. This place, said his father, belongs to a man who is the greatest example I know of patient fortitude bearing up against misfortune; and all that you see is the reward of his own perseverance. I am a little acquainted with him, and we will go in and beg a draught of milk, and try if we can prevail upon him to tell us a story. Theodore willingly accompanied bis father. They were received by the farmer with cordial frankness. After they were seated,
“Mr. Hardman,” says Mr. Carleton, “I have often heard part of your adventures, but never had a regular account of the whole. If you will favour me and my little boy with the story of them, we sha!l think ourselves much obliged to you.”
Lack-a-day, sir!" said he, “there's little in them worth telling of, as far as I know. I have had my ups and downs in the world, to be sure, but so have many men besides. However, if you wish to hear about them they are at your service; and I can't say but it gives me pleasure sometimes to talk over old matters, and think how much better things have turned out than might have been expected.”
“ Now I am of opinion,” said Mr. C., " that from your spirit of perseverance a good conclusion might always have been expected..”
“You are pleased to compliment, sir," replied the farmer; “but I will begin without more words.
“ You may perbaps have heard that my father was a man of good estate. He thought of nothing, poor man, but how to spend it; and he had the uncommon luck to spend it twice over. For when he was obliged to sell it the first time it was bought in by a relation, who left it him again in his will. But my poor father was not a man to take warning; he fell to living as he had done before, and just made his estate and his life hold out together. He died at the age of five-and-forty, and left his family beggars. I believe he would not have taken to drink as he did had it not been for his impatient temper, which had made him fret and vex himself for every trifle, and then he had nothing for it but to drown his care in liquor.
“ It was my lot to be taken by my mother's brother, who was master of a merchant ship. I served him as an apprentice several years, and underwent a good deal of the usual hardship of a sailor's life. He had just made me his mate in
a voyage up the Mediterranean, when we had the misfortune to be wrecked on the coast of Morocco. The ship struck at some distance from shore, and we lay a long stormy night with the waves dashing over us, expecting every inoment to perish. My uncle and several of the crew died of fatigue and want, and by morning but four of us were left alive. My companions were so disheartened, that they thought of nothing but submitting to their fate. For my part I thought life still worth struggling for, and the weather having become calmer, I persuaded them to join me in making a kind of raft, by the help of which, with much toil and danger, we reached the land. Here we were seized by the barbarous inhabitants, and carried up the country for slaves to the emperor. We were employed about some public buildings, made to work very hard with the whip at our backs, and allowed nothing but water and a kind of pulse. I have heard persons talk as if there was little in being a slave but the name; but they who have been slaves themselves, I am sure will never make light of slavery in others. A ransom was set on our heads, but so high that it seemed impossible for poor friendless creatures like us ever to pay it. The thought of perpetual servitude, together with the hard treatment we met with, quite overcame my poor companions. They drooped and died one after another. I still thought it not impossible to mend my condition, and perhaps to recover my freedom. We worked about twelve hours in the day, and had one holiday in the week. I employed my leisure time in learning to make mats and flag-baskets, in which I soon became so expert as to have a good many for sale, and thereby got a little money to purchase better food, and several small conveniences. We were afterwards set to work in the emperor's gardens, and here I showed so much good-will and attention, that I
got into favour with the overseer.
He had a large garden of his own, and he made interest for me to be suffered to work for him alone, on the condition of paying a man to do my duty. I soon became so useful to him that he treated me more like a hired servant than a slave, and gave me regular wages. I learned the language of the country, and might have passed my time comfortably enough, could I have accommodated myself to their manners and religion, and forgot my native land. I saved all I could, in order to purchase my freedom, but the ransom was so high I had little prospect of being able to do it for some years to come. A circumstance, however, happened, which brought it about at once. Some civilians one night laid a plot to murder my master and plunder his house. I slept in a little shed in the garden where the tools lay, and being awakened by a noise, I saw four men break through the fence, and walk up an alley towards the house. I crept out with a spade in my hand, and silently followed them. They made a hole with instruments in the house wall big enough for a min to enter in at. Two of them had got in, and the third was beginning to enter, when I rushed forward, and with a blow of my spade clove the skull of one of the robbers, and gave the other such a stroke on the shoulder as disabled him. I then made a loud outcry to alarm the family. My master and his son, who lay in the house, got up, and having let me in, we secured the two others, after a sharp conflict, in which I received a severe wound with a dagger. My master, who looked upon me as his preserver, had all possible care taken of me, and as soon as I was cured made me a present of my liberty. He would fain have kept me with him, but my mind was so much bent on returning to my native country, that I immediately set out to the nearest seaport, and took my passage in a vessel going to Gibraltar.