BOOK VIII. CONTAINING ABOUT TWO DAYS.
11. Chapter xi. In which the Man of the Hill...
In which the Man of the Hill begins to relate his history.
"I was born in a village of Somersetshire, called Mark, in the year
1657. My father was one of those whom they call gentlemen farmers. He
had a little estate of about L300 a year of his own, and rented
another estate of near the same value. He was prudent and industrious,
and so good a husbandman, that he might have led a very easy and
comfortable life, had not an arrant vixen of a wife soured his
domestic quiet. But though this circumstance perhaps made him
miserable, it did not make him poor; for he confined her almost
entirely at home, and rather chose to bear eternal upbraidings in his
own house, than to injure his fortune by indulging her in the
extravagancies she desired abroad.
"By this Xanthippe" (so was the wife of Socrates called, said
Partridge)--"by this Xanthippe he had two sons, of which I was the
younger. He designed to give us both good education; but my elder
brother, who, unhappily for him, was the favourite of my mother,
utterly neglected his learning; insomuch that, after having been five
or six years at school with little or no improvement, my father, being
told by his master that it would be to no purpose to keep him longer
there, at last complied with my mother in taking him home from the
hands of that tyrant, as she called his master; though indeed he gave
the lad much less correction than his idleness deserved, but much
more, it seems, than the young gentleman liked, who constantly
complained to his mother of his severe treatment, and she as
constantly gave him a hearing."
"Yes, yes," cries Partridge, "I have seen such mothers; I have been
abused myself by them, and very unjustly; such parents deserve
correction as much as their children."
Jones chid the pedagogue for his interruption, and then the stranger
"My brother now, at the age of fifteen, bade adieu to all learning,
and to everything else but to his dog and gun; with which latter he
became so expert, that, though perhaps you may think it incredible, he
could not only hit a standing mark with great certainty, but hath
actually shot a crow as it was flying in the air. He was likewise
excellent at finding a hare sitting, and was soon reputed one of the
best sportsmen in the country; a reputation which both he and his
mother enjoyed as much as if he had been thought the finest scholar.