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insomuch that the major sometimes, in the height of his military pride, calls me the philosopher; and sir Jeoffrey, no longer ago than last night, upon a dispute what day of the month it was then in Holland, pulled his pipe out of his mouth, and cried, What does the scholar say to it?
Our club meets precisely at six of the clock in the evening; but I did not come last night until half an hour after seven, by which means I escaped the battle of Naseby,which the major usually begins at about three quarters after six. I found also that my good friend the bencher had already spent three of his disțiehs ; and only waited an opportunity to hear a sermon spoken of, that he might introduce the couplet where ra stick' rhimes to ecclesiastic.' At my entrance into the room, they were naming a red petticoat and a cloke; by which I found that the bencher had been diyerting them with a story of Jack Ogle.
I had no sooner taken my seat, but sir Jeoffrey, to show his good-will towards me, gave me a pipe of his own tobacco, and stirred up the fire. I look upon it as a point of imorality, to be obliged by those who endeavour to oblige me; and therefore, in requital for his kindness, and to set the conversation a-going, I took the best occasion I could to put hinn upon telling us the story of old Gantlett, which he always does with very particular concern. He traced up his descent on both sides for seyeral generations, describing his diet and manner of life, with his several battles, and particularly that in which he fell. This Gantlett was a game cock, upon whose head the knight, in his youth, had won five hundred pounds, and lost two thousand. This naturally set the major upon the ac
count of Edgehill fight, and ended in a duel of Jack Ogle’s.
Old Reptile was extremely attentive to all that was said, though it was the same he had heard every night for these twenty years, and upon all occasions winked upon his nephew to mind what passed.
This may suffice to give the world a taste of our innocent conversation, which we spun out until about ten of the clock, when my maid came with a lantern to light me home. I could not but reflect with myself, as I was going out, upon the talkative humour of old men, and the little figure which that part of life makes in one who cannot employ his natural propensity in discourses which would make him venerable. I must own, it makes me very melancholy in company, when I hear a young man begin a story; and have often observed, that one of a quarter of an hour long in a man of five-and-twenty gathers circumstances every time he tells it, until it grows into a long Canterbury tale of two hours by that time he is threescore.
The only way of avoiding such a trifling and frivolous old age is, to lay up in our way to it such stores of knowledge and observations as may make us uséful and agreeable in our declining years. The mind of man in a long life will become a magazine of wisdom or folly, and will consequently discharge itself in something impertinent or improving. For which
on, as there is nothing more ridiculous than an old trifling story-teller, so there is nothing more venerable than one who has turned his experience to the entertainment and advantage of mankind.
FRENCH COOKERY. No. 148.
I REMEMBER I was last summer invited to a friend's house, who is a great admirer of the French cookery, and, as the phrase is, eats well.' At our sitting down, I found the table covered with a great variety of unknown dishes. I was mightily at a loss to learn what they were, and therefore did not know where to help myself. That which stood before me I took to be a roasted porcupine; however, did not care for asking questions, and have since been informed that it was only a larded turkey. I afterwards passed my eye over several hashes, which I do not know the name of to this day; and, hearing that they were delicacies, did not think fit to meddle with them.
Among other dainties, I saw something like a pheasant, and therefore desired to be helped to a wing of it; but, to my great surprise, my friend told me it was a rabbit, which is a sort of meat I never cared for. At last I discovered, with some joy, a pig at the lower end of the table, and begged a gentleinan that was near it to cut me a piece of it. Upon which the gentleman of the house - said, with great civility, I am sure you will like the pig, for it was whipped to death. I must confess I heard himn with horror, and could not eat of an animal that had u ed so tragical a death. I was now in great hunger and confusion, when methought I smelled the agreeable savour of roast beef, but could not tell from which dish it arose, though I did not question but it lay disguised in one of them. Upon turning my head, I saw a noble sirloin on the side-table, smoking in the most delicious manner. I had recourse to it more than once, and could not see,
without some indignation, that substantial English dish banished in so ignominious a manner, to make way for French kickshaws.
The dessert was brought up at last, which in truth was as extraordinary as any thing that had come before it. The whole, when ranged in its proper order, looked like a very beautiful winter-piece. There were several pyramids of candied sweetmeats, that hung like icicles, with fruits scattered up and down, and hid in an artificial kind of frost. At the same time there were great quantities of cream beaten up into a snow, and near them little plates of sugar-plums, disposed like so many heaps of hail-stones, with a multitude of congelations in jellies of various colours. I was indeed so pleased with the several objects which lay before me, that I did not care for displacing any of them; and half
that for the sake of a piece of lemon-peel or a sugar-plum would spoil so pleasing a picture. Indeed, I could not but smile to see several of them cooling their mouths with lumps of ice, which they had just before been búrning with salts and peppers.
As soon as this show was over, I took my leave, that I might finish my dinner at my own house : for as I in every thing love what is simple and natural, so particularly in my food : two plain dishes, with two or three goodnatured, cheerful, ingenious friends, would make me more pleased and vain than all that pomp and luxury can bestow. For it is my maxim, that he keeps the greatest table who has the most valuable company at it.
ON FEMALE VANITY. No. 151.
When artists would expose their diamonds to an advantage, they usually set them to show in little cases of black velvet. By this ineans the jewels appear in their true and genuine lustre, while there is no colour that can infect their brightness, or give a false cast to the water. When I was at the opera the other night, the assembly of ladies in mourning made me consider them in the same kind of view. A dress wherein there is so little variety shows the face in all its natural charms, and makes one differ from another only as it is more or less beautiful.
Painters are ever careful of offending against a rule which is so essential in all just representations. The chief figure must have the strongest point of light, and not be injured by any gay colourings, that may draw away the attention to any less considerable part of the picture. The present fashion obliges every body to be dressed with propriety, and makes the ladies' faces the principal objects of sight. Every beautiful person shines out in all the excellence with which nature has adorned her: gaudy ribbands and glaring colours being now out of use, the sex has no opportunity given them to disfigure themselves, which they seldom fail to do whenever it lies in their power. When a woman comes to her glass, she does not employ her time in making herself look more advantageously what she really is, but endeavours to be as much another creature as she possibly can. Whether this happens because they stay so long, and attend their work so diligently, that they forget the faces and persons which they first sat down with, or whatever it is, they seldom rise from the toilet the