1 LORD! sister, here's the butcher come,
2 And not one word from brother Tom;
3 The punctual spark, that made his boast
4 He'd write by ev'ry other post![Page 175]
5 That ever I was so absurd
6 To take a man upon his word!
7 Quoth Frances, Child, I wonder much
8 You cou'd expect him to keep touch:
9 'Tis so, my dear, with all mankind;
10 When out of sight you're out of mind,
11 Think you he'd to his sisters write?
12 Was ever girl so unpolite!
13 Some fair Italian stands possess'd,
14 And reigns sole mistress in his breast;
15 To her he dedicates his time,
16 And fawns in prose, or sighs in rhyme.
17 She'll give him tokens of her love,
18 Perhaps not easy to remove;
19 Such as will make him large amends
20 For loss of sisters, and of friends.
21 Cries Harriot, when he comes to France,
22 I hope in God he'll learn to dance,
23 And leave his aukward habits there,
24 I'm sure he has enough to spare.
25 O cou'd he leave his faults, saith Fanny,
26 And bring the good alone, if any,
27 Poor brother Tom, he'd grow so light,
28 The wind might rob us of him quite!
29 Of habits he may well get clear;
30 Ill humours are the faults I fear,
31 For in my life I ne'er saw yet
32 A creature half so passionate,[Page 176]
33 Good heav'ns! how did he rave and tear,
34 On my not going you know where;
35 I scarcely yet have got my dread off:
36 I thought he'd bite my sister's head off.
37 'Tween him and Jenny what a clatter
38 About a fig, a mighty matter!
39 I cou'd recount a thousand more,
40 But scandal's what I most abhor.
41 Molly, who long had patient sate,
42 And heard in silence all their chat,
43 Observing how they spoke with rancour,
44 Took up my cause, for which I thank her.
45 What eloquence was then display'd,
46 The charming things that Molly said,
47 Perhaps it suits not me to tell;
48 But faith! she spoke extremely well.
49 She first, with much ado, put on
50 A prudish face, then thus begun.
51 Heyday! quoth she, you let your tongue
52 Run on most strangely, right or wrong.
53 'Tis what I never can connive at;
54 Besides, consider whom you drive at;
55 A person of establish'd credit,
56 Nobody better, tho' I said it.
57 In all that's good, so tried and known,
58 Why, girls, he's quite a proverb grown,
59 His worth no mortal dares dispute:
60 Then he's your brother too to boot.
61 At this she made a moment's pause,
62 Then with a sigh resum'd the cause.
63 Alas! my dears, you little know
64 A sailor's toil, a trav'ler's woe;
65 Perhaps this very hour he strays
66 A lonely wretch thro' desart ways;
67 Or shipwreck'd on a foreign strand,
68 He falls beneath some ruffian's hand:
69 Or on the naked rock he lies,
70 And pinch'd by famine wastes and dies.
71 Can you this hated brother see
72 Floating, the sport of wind and sea?
73 Can you his feeble accents hear,
74 Tho' but in thought, nor drop a tear?
75 He faintly strives, his hopes are fled,
76 The billows booming o'er his head;
77 He mounts upon the waves again,
78 He calls on us, but calls in vain;
79 To death preserves his friendship true,
80 And mutters out a kind adieu.
81 See now he rises to our sight,
82 Now sinks in everlasting night.
83 Here Fanny's colour rose and fell,
84 And Harriot's throat began to swell:
85 One sidled to the window quite,
86 Pretending some unusual sight,
87 The other left the room outright;
88 While Molly laugh'd, her ends obtain'd,
89 To think how artfully she feign'd.