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strict temperance, to which he had been accustomed from his very infancy: he seldom eat more than one meal a day: he disliked wine, lived chiefly upon vegetables, and often, during seasons of devotion and on fasting days, bread and water constituted the whole of his dinner. As his fortune increased, he augmented the number of his servants and transcribers : these he always took with him on his journeys, and kept more horses to carry his books. Twelve years before his death, he gave his rich collection of ancient manuscripts to the Venetian Senate, and thus became the founder of the library of Saint Marc. He requested, and received, by way of remuneration, a mansion in Venice. The only fault which he contracted from the possession of wealth, was the custom of boasting too much about the good use he made of it.
Essays on Petrarch.
On the skirts of the neighbouring village, there lives · a kind of small potentate, who, for aught I know, is a representative of one of the most ancient legitimate lines of the present day, for the empire over which he reigns has belonged to his family time out of mind. His territories comprise'a considerable number of good fat acres, and his seat of power is in an old farmhouse, where he enjoys, unmolested, the stout oaken
chair of his ancestors. The personage to whom I allude, is a sturdy old yeoman, of the name of John Tibbets, or, rather, Ready-Money Jack Tibbets, as he is called throughout the neighbourhood.
The first place where he attracted my attention, was in the church-yard on Sunday, where he sat on a tombstone after the service, with his hat a little on one side, holding forth to a small circle of auditors, and, as I presumed, expounding the law and the prophets, until, on drawing a little nearer, I found he was only expatiating on the merits of a brown horse. He presented so faithful a picture of a substantial English yeoman, such as he is often described in books, heightened, indeed, by some little finery peculiar to himself, that I could not but take note of his whole appearance. He was between fifty and sixty, of a strong muscular frame, and at least six feet high, with a physionomy as grave as a lion's, and set off with short, curling, irongrey locks. His shirt collar was turned down, and displayed a neck covered with the same short; curling, grey hair; and he wore a coloured silk neckcloth, tied very loosely, and tucked in at the bosom, with a green paste brooch on the knot. His coat was of dark green cloth, with silver buttons, on each of which was engraved a stag, with his own name, John Tibbets, underneath. He had an inner waistcoat of figured chintz, between which and his coat was another of scarlet cloth, unbuttoned. His breeches were also left unbuttoned at the knees, not from any slovenliness, but to show a broad pair of scarlet garters. His stockings were blue, with white clocks; he wore large silver shoe-buckles, a broad paste buckle in his hat-band, his sleeve-buttons were gold seven shilling pieces, and he had two or three guineas hanging as ornaments to his watch-chain.
On making some enquiries about him, I gathered, that he was descended from a line of farmers that had always lived on the same spot, and owned the same property; and that half of the church-yard was taken up with the tomb-stones of his race. He has all his life been an important character in the place. When a youngster, he was one of the most roaring blades of the neighbourhood. No one could match him at wrestling, pitching the bar, cudgel play, and other athletic exercises. Like the renowned Pinner of Wakefield, he was the village champion; carried off the prize at all the fairs, and threw his gauntlet at the country round. Even to this day, the old people talk of his prowess, and undervalue, in comparison, all heroes of the green that have succeeded him ; nay, they say, that if Ready-Money Jack were to take the field even now, there is no one could stand before him.
When Jack's father died, the neighbours shook their heads, and predicted that young hopeful would soon make way with the old homestead; but Jack falsified all their predictions. The moment he succeeded to the paternal farm he assumed a new character; took a wife, attended resolutely to his affairs, and became an industrious, thrifty farmer. With the family property he inherited a set of old family maxims, to which he steadily adhered. He saw to every thing himself, put his own hand to the plough, worked hard, ate heartily, slept soundly, paid for every thing in cash down, and never danced, except he could do it to the music
of his own money in both pockets. He has never been without a hundred or two pounds in gold by him, and never allows a debt to stand unpaid. This has gained him his current name, of which, by the bye, he is a little proud, and has caused him to be looked upon as a very wealthy man by all the village.
Notwithstanding his thrift, however, he has never denied himself the amusements of life, but has taken a share in every passing pleasure. It is his maxim, that “he that works hard can afford to pay.” He is, therefore, an attendant at all the country fairs and wakes, and has signalized himself by feats of strength and prowess on every village green in the shire. He often makes his appearance at horse races, and sports his half guinea, and even his guinea, at a time; keeps a good horse for his own riding, and to this day is fond of following the hounds, and is generally in at the death. He keeps up the rustic revels, and hospitalities too, for which his paternal farm-house has always been noted, has plenty of good cheer, and dancing at harvest-home, and, above all, keeps the"merry night,”* as it is termed, at Christmas.
With all his love of amusement, however, Jack is, by 'no means, a boisterous jovial companion. He is seldom known to laugh, even in the midst of his gaiety, but maintains the same grave, lion-like demeanour. He is very slow at comprehending a joke,
MERRY Night. A rustie merry-making in a farm house, about Christmas, common in some parts of Yorkshire. There is abundance of bomely fare, ten, cakes, fruit, and ale, varioas feats of agility, amusing games, romping, dancing, and kissing withal. They commonly break up at midoighit.
and is apt to sit puzzling at it with a perplexed look, while the rest of the company is in a roar. This gravity has, perhaps, grown on him with the growing weight of his character; for he is gradually rising into patriarchal dignity in his native place. Though he no longer takes an active part in athletic sports, yet he always presides at them, and is appealed to on all occasions as umpire. He maintains the peace on the village green at holyday games, and quells all brawls and quarrels by collaring the parties, and shaking them heartily if refractory. No one ever pretends to raise a hand against him, or to contend against his decisions; the young men having grown up in habitual awe of his prowess, and in implicit deference to him as the champion and lord of the green.
He is a regular frequenter of the village inn, the landlady having been a sweetheart of his in early life, and he having always continued on kind terms with her. He seldom, however, drinks any thing but a draught of ale, smokes his pipe, and pays his reckoning before leaving the tap-room. Here he “ gives his little senate laws ;" decides bets, which are very generally referred to him, determines upon the characters and qualities of horses; and, indeed, plays now and then the part of a judge in settling petty disputes between neighbours, which otherwise might have been nursed by country attorneys into tolerable lawsuits. Jack is very candid and impartial in his decisions, but he has not a head to carry a long argument, and is very apt to get perplexed and out of patience if there is much pleading: He generally breaks through the argument with a strong voice, and brings matters to