« 上一頁繼續 »
a trifling event in the latter part of that work, which, no doubt, gave birth to the introduction of the gipsies in this.
The love of Parson Williams for Pamela, is here transferred to that of Farmer Giles for Patty ; which causes the same degree of jealousy in Lord Aimworth as it had before done in Mr. B-; and the young lady of quality, to whom that gentleman was going to be married, through the persuasion of his sister, is ingeniously transformed into Theodosia--whose father and mother, somewhat irregularly, seem to derive their existence from her, yet to form a very natural and entertaining, though not a very elegant, part of the drama.
Whether the catastrophe of the romance of “ Pa. V mela,” and that of “ The Maid of the Mill,” considered as a moral, be likely to produce good or ill consequences, may possibly admit of some dispute ; for, though it, most laudably, teaches man to marry where his heart is fixed, it unfortunately encourages woman to fix hers, where ambition alone may direct her choice; or where, sometimes, her hopes ought never to aspire.
The original equalizing occurrence, which takes place at the conclusion of Richardson's novel, was the delight of every reader, at the time that book was first published, and for some years after-but when admiration began to abate, ridicule was substituted in its stead; and a marriage for love, contracted by a man of quality, with his inferior in birth and fortune, was, with poor Pamela's preferment, held in the bighest contempt.
Of late years, the English nation has again changed its sentiments; and the vast number of women elevated to high rank in this kingdom, since the French revolution took place, might almost draw upon their husbands the vulgar charge of jacobinism-But love was among the passions let loose on that tremendous event, and perhaps the only one which has yet made its way, and triumphs, here.
This opera was first acted in 1765, and was most favourably received.
Richardson, though no dramatist, has furnished materials for favourite dramas, in his Pamela, to al. most every nation in Europe. In Italy and France particularly, several writers, of the first eminence, have chosen this novel for the subject of various theatrical exhibitions.
MAID OF THE MILL.
ACT THE FIRST.
A rural Prospect, with a Mill at work. Several People
employed about it ; on one side, a House, Party reading at the Window; on the other, a Barn, where Fanny sits, mending a Net ; some Gipsies. Giles appears, at a Distance, in the Mill; FAIRFIELD and RALPH taking Sacks from a Cart.
The great folks are noble, and proud let them be,
Of title, of honour, of wealth ;
Lads, stop the mill;
The work is done.
Though, in summer, I copy'd the provident ant,
For winter some grains to provide ;
Lads, stop the mill, &c.
Fair. Well done, well done; 'tis a sure sign work goes on merrily, when folks sing at it. Stop the mill there; and dost hear, son Ralph, hoist yon sacks of four
upon this cart, lad, and drive it up to Lord Aimworth's; coming from London last night, with strange company, no doubt, there are calls enough for it by this time. Ralph, why don't you go, and do the things I bid you?
Ralph. Ay, feither, there's no doubt but you'll find enow for a body to do.
Fair. What, dost mutter ? Is't not a strange plague that thou canst never go about any thing with a good will? murrain take it, what's come o'er the boy? So then, thou wilt not set a hand to what I have desired thee?
Ralph. Why don't you speak to suster Pat to do something then? I thought when she came home to us, after
my old lady's death, she was to have been of some use in the house; but, instead of that, she sits there all day, reading outlandish books, dressed like a fine madumasel, and the never a word you says to she.
Fair. Sirrah! don't speak so disrespectfully of thy sister; thou wilt never have the tithe of her deserts.
Ralph. Why, I'll read and write with her, for what she dares; and as for playing on the hapsicols, I thinks her rich godmother might have learned her something properer, seeing she did not remember to leave her a legacy at last. A farmer's wife painting pictures, and playing on the hapsicols! why, I'll be hanged now, for all as old as she is, if she knows any more about milking a cow, than I do of sewing a petticoat.