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The reverend gentleman was interrupted by a messenger, who informed him that the Charity Commissioners requested his presence at the inn, where they were holding a sitting

“The Charity Commissioners !” exclaimed the reverend gentleman, “who on earth are they ?

The messenger could not inform him, and the reverend gentleman took his hat and stick, and proceeded to the inn.

On entering the best parlour, he saw three well-dressed and bulky gentlemen sitting at a table, and a fourth officiating as clerk, with an open book before him, and a pen in his hand. The churchwardens, who had been also summoned, were already in attend

ance.

The chief commissioner politely requested the Reverend Doctor Folliott to be seated, and

after the usual meteorological preliminaries had been settled by a resolution, nem. con., that it was a fine day but very hot, the chief commissioner stated, that in virtue of the commission of Parliament, which they had the honor to hold, they were now to inquire into the state of the public charities of this village.

THE REV. DR. FOLLIOTT.

The state of the public charities, sir, is exceedingly simple. There are none. The charities here are all private, and so private, that I for one know nothing of them.

FIRST COMMISSIONER.

We have been informed, sir, that there is an annual rent charged on the land of Hautbois, for the endowment and repair of an almshouse.

THE REV. DR. FOLLIOTT.

Hautbois ! Hautbois !

FIRST COMMISSIONER.

The manorial farm of Hautbois, now occupied by Farmer Seedling, is charged with the endowment and maintenance of an almshouse.

THE REV. DR. FOLLIOTT,

(to the Churchwarden.) How is this, Mr. Bluenose?

FIRST CHURCHWARDEN.

I really do not know, sir. What say you, Mr. Appletwig ?

MR. APPLETWIG, (parish-clerk and schoolmaster; an old man.)

I do remember, gentlemen, to have been informed, that there did stand, at the end of the village, a ruined cottage, which had once been an almshouse, which was endowed and maintained, by an annual revenue of a mark and a half, or one pound sterling, charged some centuries ago on the farm of Hautbois; but the means, by the progress of time, having become inadequate to the end, the almshouse tumbled to pieces.

FIRST COMMISSIONER.

But this is a right which cannot be abrogated by desuetude, and the sum of one pound per annum is still chargeable for charitable purposes on the manorial farm of Hautbois.

THE REV. DR. FOLLIOTT.

Very well, sir.

MR. APPLETWIG.

But sir, the one pound per annum is still received by the parish, but was long ago, by an unanimous vote in open vestry, given to the minister. .

THE THREE COMMISSIONERS;

(una voce.)

The minister!

FIRST COMMISSIONER.

This is an unjustifiable proceeding.

SECOND COMMISSIONER.

A misappropriation of a public fund.

THIRD COMMISSIONER.

A flagrant perversion of a charitable donation.

THE REV. DR. FOLLIOTT.

God bless my soul, gentlemen! I know nothing of this matter. How is this, Mr. Bluenose? Do I receive this one pound per annum ?

FIRST CHURCHWARDEN.

Really, sir, I know no more about it than

you do.

MR. APPLETWIG.

You certainly receive it, sir. It was voted to one of your predecessors. Farmer Seedling lumps it in with his tithes.

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