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novelty of the person that talked to me, as he could be for his life with the springing of a pheasant, and therefore listened to him with more than ordinary attention.
In the midst of his discourse the bell rung to dinner, where the gentleman I have been speaking of had the pleasure of seeing the buge jack, he had caught, served up for the first dish in a most sumptuous manner. Upon our sitting down to it he gave us a long account how he had hooked it, played with it, foiled it, and at length drew it out upon the bank, with several other particulars that lasted all the first
A dish of wild fowl that came afterwards furnished conversation for the rest of the dinner, which concluded with a late invention of Will's for improving the quail-pipe.
Upon withdrawing into my room after dinner, I was secretly touched with compassion towards the honest gentleman that had dined with us; and could not but consider with a great deal of concern, how so good an heart and such busy hands were wholly employed in trifles; that so much humanity should be so little beneficial to others, and so much industry so little advantageous to himself. The same temper of mind and application to affairs might have recommended him to the public esteem, and have raised his fortune in another station of life. What good to his country or himself might not a trader or a merchant have done with such useful thougl ordinary qualifications?
Will Wimble's is the case of many a younger brother of a great family, who had rather see their children starve like gentlemen, than thrive in a trade or profession that is beneath their quality. This humour fills several parts of Europe with pride and beggary. It is the happiness of a trading nation like ours, that the younger sons, though incapable of
any liberal art or profession, may be placed in such a way of life, as may perhaps enable them to vie with the best of their family. Accordingly we find several citizens that were launched into the world with narrow fortunes, rising by an honest industry to greater estates than those of their elder brothers. It is not improbable but Will was formerly tried at divinity, law, or physic; and that finding his genius did not lie that way, his parents gave him up at length to his own inventions. But certainly, however improper he might have been for studies of a higher nature, he was perfectly well turned for the occupations of trade and commerce. As I think this is a point which cannot be too much inculcated, I shall desire my reader to compare what I have here written with what I have said in my twenty-first speculation,
No 109. THURSDAY, JULY 5, 1711.
HOR. 2 Sat. ii. 3,
Of plain good sense, untutor’d in the schools.
I was this morning walking in the gallery, when Sir Roger entered at the end opposite to me, and advancing towards me, said he was glad to meet me among his relations the De Coverleys, and hoped I liked the conversation of so much good company, who were as silent as myself. I kuew he alluded to the pictures, and as he is a gentleman who does not a little value himself upon his ancient descent,
I expected he would give me some account of them, We were now arrived at the upperend of the gallery, when the knight faced towards one of the pictures, and as we stood before it, he entered into the matter, after his blunt way of saying things as they occur to his imagination, without regular introduction, or care to preserve the appearance of chain of thought.
It is,' said he, worth while to consider the force of dress; and how the persons of one age differ from those of another, merely by that only. One may observe also, that the general fashion of one age has been followed by one particular set of people in another, and by them preserved from one generation to another. Thus the vast jetting coat and small bonnet, which was the habit in Henry the Seventh's time, is kept on in the yeomen of the guard ; not without a good and politic view, because they look a foot taller, and a foot and a half broader: besides, that the cap leaves the face expanded, and consequently more terrible, and fitter to stand at the entrance of palaces.
• This predecessor of ours you see is dressed after this manner, and his cheeks would be no larger than mine were he in a hat as I am. He was the last man that won a prize in the Tilt-yard (which is now a common street before Whitehall.) You see the broken lance that lies there by his right foot. He shivered that lance of his adversary all to pieces; and bearing himself, look you, sir, in this manner, at the same time he came within the target of the gentleman who rode against him, and taking him with incredible force before him on the pummel of his saddle, he in that manner rid the tournament over, with an air that shewed he did it rather to perform the rule of the lists, than expose his
enemy; however it appeared he knew how to make use of a victory, and with a gentle trot he marched up
gallery where their mistress sat, (for they were rivals) and let him down with laudable courtesy and pardonable insolence. I do not know but it might be exactly where the coffee-house* is now.
• You are to know this my ancestor was not only of a military genius, but tit also for the arts of peace, for he played on the bas-viol as well as any gentleman at court; you see where his viol hangs by his basket-bilt sword. The action at the Tilt-yard you may be sure won the fair lady, who was a maid of honour, and the greatest beauty of her time; here she stands the next picture.
You see, sir, my great great great grandmother has on the newfashioned petticoat, except that the modern is gathered at the waist; my grandmother appears as if she stood in a large drum, whereas the ladies now walk as if they were in a go-cart. For all this lady was bred at court, she became an excellent countrywife, she brought ten children, and when I shew you the library, you shall see in her own hand (allowing for the difference of the language) the best receipt now in England both for an hasty-pudding and a white-pot.
you please to fall back a little, because it is necessary to look at the three next pictures at one view; these are three sisters. She on the right hand who is so very beautiful, died a maid; the next to her, still handsomer, had the same fate, against her will; this homely thing in the middle had both their portions added to her own, and was stolen by a neighbouring gentleman, a man of stratagem and resolution, for he poisoned three mastiffs to come at her, and knocked down two deer-stealers in carrying her off. Misfortunes happen in all families. The theft of this romp, and so much money,
The Tilt-yard coffee-house, still in being,
was no great matter to our estate. But the next heir that possessed it was this soft gentleman, whom you see there. Observe the small buttons, the little boots, the laces, the slashes about his clothes, and above all the posture he is drawn in, (which to be sure was his own choosing) you see he sits with one hand on a desk writing and looking as it were another way, like an easy writer, or a sonnetteer. He was one of those that had too much wit to know how to live in the world; he was a man of no justice, but great good-manners; he ruined every body that had any thing to do with him, but never said a rude thing in his life; the most indolent person in the world, he would sign a deed that passed away half his estate with his gloves on, but would not put on his hat before a lady if it were to save his country. He is said to be the first that made love by squeezing the hand. He left the estate with ten thousand pounds debt upon it; but however, by all hands I have been informed that he was every way the finest gentleman in the world. That debt lay heavy on our house for one generation, but it was retrieved by a gift from that honest man you see there, a citizen of our name, but nothing at all akin to us. I know Sir Andrew Freeport has said behind my back, that this man was descended from one of the ten children of the maid of honour I shewed you above; but it was never made out. We winked at the thing indeed, because money was wanting at that time.'
Here I saw my friend a little embarrassed, and turned my face to the next portraiture.
Sir Roger went on with his account of the gallery in the following manner: “ This man (pointing to him I looked at) I take to be the honour of our house. Sir Humphry de Coverley; he was in his dealings as punctual as a tradesman, and as gene