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No. XII. WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14.
-Veteres avias tibi de pulmone revelio.
T my coming to London, it was some time before
I could fettle myfelf in a house to my liking. I was forced to quit my first lodgings, by reason of an officious landladv, that would be asking me every morning how I had slept. I then fell into an honest family, and lived very happily for above a weck; when my landlord, who was a jolly good-natured man, took it into his head that I wanted company, and therefore would frequently come into my chamber to keep me from being alone. This I bore for two or three day> ; but telling me one day that he was afraid I was me. lancholy, I thought it was high time for me to be gone, and accordingly took new lodgings that very night. About a week after, I found my joliy landlord, who, as I laid before, was an honett hearty man, had put me into an advertisement of the Dails Courant, in the following words : “ Whereas a melancholy man left his “ lodgings on Thurfuay lait in the afternoon, and was “ afterwards feen going towards Islington; if any one
can give notice of him to R. B. fithmonger in the “ Strand, he fhall be very well rewarded for his pains.” As I am the best inan in the world to keep my own countel, and my landlord the fishmonger not knowing my name, this accident of my life was never discovered to this very day.
I am now settled with a widow-woman, who has a great many children, and coinplies with my humour in every thing. I do not remember that we have exchanged a word together thefe tive years : my coflee comes into my chamber every morning without asking for it; if I want fire, I point to my chimney; if water, to my bao fon; upon which my landlady pods; as much as to say Dhe takes my meaning, and immediately obey's my
fignals. She has likewise inodelled her family so well,
e; fo that at pretent I walk into the kitchen or parlour without being taken notice of, or giving any interruption to the busineis or discourte of the family. The maid will ak hier mistress (though I am by) whether the gentleman is ready to go to dinner, as the mitress (who is indeed an excellent housewife) scolds at the servants as heartily before my face as behind my back. In short, I move up and down the house, and enter into all companies with the same liberty as a cat, or any other domestic anjinal, and am as little fufpeeted of telling any thing that I hear or fie.
I remember, last winter there were several young girls of the neighbourhood fitting about the fire with my landJady's daughters, and telling stories of Ipirits and apparitions. Upon any opening the door, the young women broke off their discourse; but iny landlady's daugh:er telling them that it was nobody but the gentleman (for that is the name which I go by in the neighbourhood, as well as in the family) they went on without minding
I feated myself by the candle that stood on a table at onc end of the room; and pretendiog to read a book that I took out of my pocket, heard feveral dreadful ftories of ghoits as pale as aihes that had stood at the fece of a bed, or walked over a church-yard by moonlight; and of others that had been conjured into the Red Sua for disturbing people's reit, and drawing their curtuins at midnight ; with many other old womens fables of the like nature. As one ipirit raised another, I obferved that at the end of every story the whole company closed their ranks, and crowded about the tire. I took notice in particular of a little boy, who was fo attentive
to every story, that I am miltaken if he ventures to go to bed by himself thiseivelve-month. Indeed they talked to long, that the imaginations of the whole allembly were manifestly crazed; and, I am sure, will be the worse for it as long as they live. I heard one of the girls, that had looked upon me over her thoulder, asking the company how long I had been in the room, and whether I did not look paler than I used to do. This put me under fome apprehenfions that I should be forced to explain myself if I did not retire; for which realon I took the candic in my hand, and went up into my chamber, not without wondering at this unaccountable weakness in realonable creatures, that they should love to astonish and terrify one another. Were I a father, I should take a particular care to preserve my children from these little horrors of imagination which they are apt to contract when they are young, and are not able to ihake off when they are in years. I have known a foldier that has entered a breach, affrighted at his own shadow, and look pale upon a little fcratching at his door, who the day before had marched up against a battery of cannon. There are instances of persons who have been terrified, even to distraction, at the figure of a tree or the shaking of a bullruth. The truth of it is, I look upon a found imagination as the greatest bleiing of life; next to a clear judgment and a good conscience. In the mean time, since there are very few whole minds are not more or leis subject to these dreadful thoughts and apprehenfions, we ought to arm ourselves against them by the dictates of reason and religion; “ to pull the old woman
out of our hearts” (as Persius expresses it in the moito of my paper) and extinguish that impertinent notions which we imbibed at a time that we were not able to judge of thcir absurdity. Orif we believe, as many wile and good men have done, that there are such phantoms and apparitions as thole I have been speaking of, let us endeavour to establish to ourselves an interest in Him who holds the reins of the whole creation in his hand, and moderates them after such a manner, that it is iin
possible for one being to break loose upon another without his know ledge and permutlion.
For my own part, I am apt to join in opinion with thote who believe that all the regions of nature sivarm with spirits ; and that we have multitudes of fpectators on all our actions, when we think curfelves moft alone ; but, instead of terrifying myself with such a notion, I ain wonderfully pleased to think that I am always engaged with such an innumerable society, in searching out the wonders of the creation, and joining in the fame confort of praise and adoration.
Milton has finely described this mixed communion of men and spirits in Paradise ; and had doubtless his eve upon a verse in old He iod, which is almost word for word in the fame with his third linc in the following paffage :
-Nor think, though men were none,
No. XIII. THURSDAY, MARCH 15.
Dic mihi, fi fias tu leo, qualis eris?
matter of greater amusement to the town than Sige
nior Nicolini's combat with a Lion in the Hav-market, which has been very often exbibited, to the general latisfacion of most of the nobility and gentry in the kingdom of Great Britain. Upon the first rumour of this intended combat, it was confidently afirmed, and is ftill believed by many in both galleries, that there would be a tame lion feat from the Tower crery opera-night, in order to be killed by Hydaires. This report, though altogether groundless, fo universally prevailed in the upper regions of the play-house, that some of the most refined politicians in those parts of the audience gave it our in whiler, that the lion was a couin-gerinan of the tiger who made his appearance in King 'illiam's days, and that the fage would be supplied with lions at the pullic expence, Juring the whole feflion. Many likewise were the conjectures of the treatment which this lion was to meet with from the hands of Signior Nicolini : foine supposed that he was to fubdue him in recitativo, as Orpheus used to serve the wild beaits in his time, and afterwards to knock him on the head; fome fancied that the lion would not pretend to lay his paws upon the hero, by reafon of the received opinion, that a lion will not hurt a virgin : feveral, who pretended to have seen the opera in Italy, bad informed their friends that the lion was to act a part in High Dutch, and roar twice or thrice to a thorough-bass before he fell at the feet of Hydaípe's. To clear up a mat er that was so variously reported, I have made it my business to examine whether this pretended lion is really the favage he appears to be, or only a counterfeit.
But before I communicate my discoveries, I must acquaint the reader, that upen iny walking behind the scenes last winter, as I was thinking of something else, I accidentally joitled against a monstrous animal that extremely startled me, and, upon my nearer furrey of it, appeared to be a lion rampant. The lion, recing me very much furprised, told me, in a gentle voice, that I might come by him if ! pleated; as for,'' says he, “ I “ do not intend to hurt any body.” I thanked him very kindly, and palled by hin; and in a little time after