As we carried on the former dispute with some degree of warmth, in order to accommodate matters, it was universally agreed, that we should have a part of the venison for supper, and the girls undertook the task with alacrity. ‘I am sorry,’ cried I, ‘that we have no neighbour or stranger to take a part in this good cheer: feasts of this kind acquire a double relish from hospitality.’—‘Bless me,’ cried my wife, ‘here comes our good friend Mr Burchell, that saved our Sophia, and that run you down fairly in the argument’—‘Confute me in argument, child!’ cried I. ‘You mistake there, my dear. I believe there are but few that can do that: I never dispute your abilities at making a goose-pye, and I beg you’ll leave argument to me.’—As I spoke, poor Mr Burchell entered the house, and was welcomed by the family, who shook him heartily by the hand, while little Dick officiously reached him a chair.
I was pleased with the poor man’s friendship for two reasons; because I knew that he wanted mine, and I knew him to be friendly as far as he was able. He was known in our neighbourhood by the character of the poor Gentleman that would do no good when he was young, though he was not yet thirty. He would at intervals talk with great good sense; but in general he was fondest of the company of children, whom he used to call harmless little men. He was famous, I found, for singing them ballads, and telling them stories; and seldom went out without something in his pockets for them, a piece of gingerbread, or an halfpenny whistle. He generally came for a few days into our neighbourhood once a year, and lived upon