fore, to hear the story of an unhappy man, I will relate it to you. Indeed you judge rightly in thinking there is commonly something extraordinary in the fortunes of those who fly from society; for however it may seem a paradox, or even a contradiction, certain it is, that great philanthropy chiefly inclines us to avoid and detest mankind; not on account so much of their private and selfish vices, but for those of a relative kind, such as envy, malice, treachery, cruelty, with every other species of malevolence. These are the vices which true philanthropy abhors, and which rather than see and converse with, she avoids society itself. However, without a compliment to you, you do not appear to me one of those whom I should shun or detest; nay, I must say, in what little hath dropped from you, there appears some parity in our fortunes: I hope, however, yours will conclude more successfully.'
Here some compliments passed between our hero and his host, and then the latter was going to begin his history, when Partridge interrupted him. His apprehensions had now pretty well left him, but some effects of his terrors remained; he therefore reminded the gentleman of that excellent brandy which he had mentioned. This was presently brought, and Partridge swallowed a large bumper.
The gentleman then, without any farther preface, began as you may read in the next chapter.
In which the Man of the Hill begins to relate his history
'I WAS born in a village of Somersetshire, called Mark, in the year 1657; my father was one of those whom they call gentlemen farmers. He had a little estate of about £300 a year of his own, and rented another estate of near the same value. He was prudent and industrious, and so good a husbandman that he might have led a very easy and comfortable life, had not an arrant, vixen of a wife soured his domestic quiet. But though this circumstance perhaps made him miserable, it did not make him poor; for he confined her almost entirely at home, and rather chose to bear eternal upbraidings in his own house, than to injure his fortune by indulging her in the extravagances she desired abroad.