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His torments projecting,
MARY THE COOKMAID'S LETTER TO DR. SHE
RIDAN. Well, if ever I saw such another man since my
mother bound my head! You a gentleman! marry come up! I wonder
where you were bred. I'm sure such words do not become a man of your
cloth: I would not give such language to a dog, faith
and troth. Yes, you call'd my master a knave: fie, Mr. She
ridan, 'tis a shame For a parson, who should know better things, to
come out with such a name.
Knave in your teeth, Mr. Sheridan! 'tis both a
shame and a sin; And the dean, my master, is an honester man than
you and all your kin; He has more goodness in his little finger than you
have in your whole body; My master is a personable man, and not a spindle
shank'd hoddy-doddy. And now, whereby I find you would fain make an excuse,
[goose; Because my master one day, in anger, callid you Which, and I am sure I have been his servant four
years since October, And he never callid me worse than sweetheart,
drunk or sober: Not that I know his reverence was ever concern'd,
to my knowledge, Though you and your come-rogues keep him out
so late in your college, You say you will eat grass on his grave: a Chris
tian eat grass! Whereby you now confess yourself to be a goose
or an ass:
But that's as much as to say, that my master should
die before ye; Well, well, that's as God pleases; and I don't be
lieve that's a true story: And so say I told you so, and you may go
my master, wliat care I?
[Mary. And I don't care who knows it; 'tis all one to, Every body knows that I love to tell truth, and
shame the devil; I am but a poor servant, but I think gentlefolks
should be civil. VOL. V.
Besides, you found fault with our victuals one day
that you were here; I remember it was on a Tuesday, of all days in the
year; And Saunders the man says you are always jesting
and mocking: Mary,' said he one day as I was mending my
master's stocking, My master is so fond of that minister that keeps
the schoolI thought my master a wise man, but that man
makes him a fool.' ‘Saunders,' said I, 'I would rather than a quart
of ale He would come into our kitchen, and I would pin
a dishclout to his tail.' And now I must go and get Saunders to direct
this letter; For I write but a bad scrawl, but my sister Mar
get she writes better. Well, but I must run and make the bed, before
my master comes from pray'rs : And see now, it strikes ten, and I hear him coming
up stairs; Whereof I could say more to your verses, if I
could write written band : And so I remain, in a civil way, your servant to command,
THE WELL OF ST. KEYNE.
A well there is in the west-country,
And a clearer one never was seen, There is not a wife in the west-country
But has heard of the well of St. Keyne.
An oak and an elm tree stand beside,
And behind does an ash-tree grow,
Droops to the water below.
Pleasant it was to his eye;
And there was not a cloud in the sky.
For thirsty and hot was he, And he sat down upon the bank
Under the willow tree,
There came a man from the neighbouring town,
At the well to fill his pail, On the well-side he rested it,
And bade the stranger hail. Now art thou a batch’lor, stranger?' quoth he:
*For an if thou hast a wife, The happiest draught thou hast drank this day
That ever thou didst in thy life.
In Cornwall ever been ?
She has drank of the well of St. Keyne.'
* I have left a good woman who never was here,'
The stranger made reply; * But that my draught should be better for that,
I pray you answer why.' ‘St. Keyne,' quoth the countryman, 'many a time,
Drank of this crystal well,
She laid on the water a spell.
If the husband of this gifted well
Shall drink before his wife,
For he shall be master for life.
* But if the wife should drink of it first,
God help the husband then!'
And drank of the waters again.
"You drank of the well I warraut betimes?"
He to the countryman said: But the countryman smil'd as the stranger spake
And sheepishly shook his head.
Aud left my wife in the porch: