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of any of the house in those of the ftage. Ariftotle and Longinus are much better understood by him than Littleton or Čoke. The father fends up every poft questions relating to marriage-articles, leafes, and tenures, in the neighbourhood; all which queftions he agrees with an attorney to answer and take care of in the lump. He is ftudying the paffions themselves when he should be inquiring into the debates among men which arise from them. He knows the argument of each of the orations of Demofthenes and Tully, but not one cafe in the reports of our own courts. No one ever took him for a fool, but none, except his intimate friends, know he has a great deal of wit. This turn makes him at once both difinterested and agreeable: as few of his thoughts are drawn from business, they are moft of them fit for converfation. His tafte of books is a little too juft for the age he lives in; he has read all, but approves of very few. His familiarity with the cuftoms, manners, actions, and writings of the ancients, makes him a very delicate obferver of what occurs to him in the prefent world. He is an excellent critic, and the time of the play is his hour of bufinefs; exactly at five he paffes through New-Inn, croffes through Ruffel-Court, and takes a turn at Will's till the play begins; he has his fhoes rubbed and his periwig powdered at the barber's 's as you go into the Rofe. It is for the good of the audience when he is at a play, for the actors have an ambition to please him.
The perfon of next confideration, is fir ANDREW FREEPORT, a merchant of great eminence in the city of London. A perfon of indefatigable induftry, ftrong reason, and great experience. His notions of trade are noble and generous, and (as every rich man has ufually fome fly way of jefting, which would make no great figure were he not a rich man) he calls the fea the British Common. He is acquainted with commerce in all its parts, and will tell you that it is a fupid and barbarous way to extend dominion by arms; for true power is to be got by arts and induftry. He will often argue, that if this part of our trade were well cultivated, we fhould gain from one nation; and if another, from another. I have heard him prove, that
diligence makes more lafting acquifitions than valour,
Next to fir ANDREW in the club-room fits captain SENTRY, a gentleman of great courage, good understanding, but invincible modefty. He is one of thofe that deferve very well, but are very aukward at putting their talents within the obfervation of fuch as fhould take notice of them. He was fome years a captain, and behaved himself with great gallantry in feveral engagements and at feveral fieges; but having a small eftate of his own, and being next heir to fir ROGER, he has quitted a way of life in which no man can tife fuitably to his merit, who is not fomething of a courtier, as well as a foldier. I have heard him often lament, that in a profeffion where merit is placed in fo confpicuous a view, impudence fhould get the better of modefty. When he has talked to this purpofe, I never heard him make a four expreffion, but frankly confefs that he left the world, becaufe he was not fit for it. A ftrict honefty and an even regular behaviour, are in themselves obftacles to him that must prefs through crowds, who endeavour at the fame end with himfelf, the favour of a commander. He will however in his way of talk excufe generals, for not difpofing according to mens defert, or inquiring into it: for, fays, he, that great man who has a mind to help me, has as many to break through to come at me, as I have to come at him therefore he will conclude, that the man who would make a figure, especially in a military way, muft get over all falfe
modefty, and affift his patron against the importunity of other pretenders, by a proper affurance in his own vindication. He fays it is a civil cowardice to be backward in afferting what you ought to expect, as it is at military fear to be flow in attacking when it is your duty. With this candour does the gentleman fpeak of himself and others. The fame franknefs runs through all his converfation. The military part of his life has furnished him with many adventures, in the relation of which he is very agreeable to the company; for he is never overbearing, though accuftomed to command men in the utmost degree below him; nor ever too obfequious, from an habit of obeying men highly above him.
But that our fociety may not appear a fet of humourists unacquainted with the gallantries and pleafures of the age, we have among us the gallant WILL HoNEYCOMB, a gentleman, who according to his years fhould be in the decline of his life, but having ever been very careful of his perfon, and always had a very eafy fortune, time has made but very little impreffion, either by wrinkles on his forehead, or traces in his brain. His perfon is well turned, of a good height. He is very ready at that fort of difcourfe with which men ufually entertain women. He has all his life dreffed very well, and remembers habits as others do men. He can fmile when one speaks to him, and laughs eafily. He knows the hiftory of every mode, and can inform you from which of the French king's wenches our wives and daughters had this manner of curling their hair, that way of placing their hoods; whofe frailty was covered by fuch a fort of petticoat, and whofe vanity to fhew her foot made that part of the drefs fo fhort in fuch a year. In a word, all his converfation and knowledge has been in the female world as other men of his age will take notice to you what fuch a minifter faid upon fuch and fuch an occafion, he will tell you, when the duke of Monmouth danced at court, fuch a woman was then fmitten, another was taken with him at the head of his troop in the Park. In all these important relations, he has ever about the fame time received a kind glance or a blow of a fan from fome
celebrated beauty, mother of the prefent lord fuch-aone. If you fpeak of a young commoner that said a lively thing in the houfe, he ftarts up, He has good blood in his veins, Tom Mirabell begot him, the rogue cheated me in that affair, that young fellow's 'mother ufed me more like a dog than any woman I ever made advances to.' This way of talking of his very much enlivens the converfation among us of a more fedate turn; and I find there is not one of the company, but myself, who rarely fpeak at all, but fpeaks of him as of that fort of man who is ufually called a well-bred fine gentleman. To conclude his character, where women are not concerned, he is an honeft worthy man.
I cannot tell whether I am to account him whom I am next to speak of, as one of our company; for he visits us but feldom, but when he does it adds to every man elfe a new enjoyment of himself. He is a clergyman, a very philofophic man, of general learning, great fanctity of life, and the moft exact good breeding. He has the misfortune to be of a very weak conftitution, and confequently cannot accept of fuch cares and bufinefs as preferments in his function would oblige him to: he is therefore among divines what a chamber-counsellor is among lawyers. The probity of his mind, and the integrity of his life, create him followers, as being eloquent or loud advances others. He feldom introduces the fubject he fpeaks upon; but we are fo far gone in years, that he obferves when he is among us, an earneftness to have him fall on fome divine topic, which he always treats with much authority, as one who has no interefts in this world, as one who is haftening to the object of all his wishes, and conceives hope from his decays and infirmities. These are my ordinary companions. R.
Saturday, March 3.
Et quoi quifque ferè ftudio devinctus adhæret,
Lucr. 1. 4. ver. 959.
-What studies please, what moft delight, And fill mens thoughts, they dream them o'er at night. CREECH.
IN one of my late rambles, or rather speculations, I
looked into the great hall, where the bank is kept, and was not a little pleafed to fee the directors, fecretaries, and clerks, with all the other members of that wealthy corporation, ranged in their feveral ftations, according to the parts they act in that juft and regular œconomy. This revived in my memory the many difcourfes which I had both read and heard concerning the decay of public credit, with the methods of restoring it, and which in my opinion have always been defective, because they have always been made with an eye to separate interefts, and party principles.
The thoughts of the day gave my mind employment for the whole night, fo that I fell infenfibly into a kind of methodical dream, which disposed all my contemplations into a vifion or allegory, or what else the reader fhall please to call it.
Methought I returned to the great hall, where I had been the morning before, but, to my furprife, inftead of the company that I left there, I faw towards the upper end of the hall, a beautiful virgin, seated on a throne of gold. Her name (as they told me) was Public Credit. The walls, inftead of being adorned with pictures and maps, were hung with many acts of parliament written in golden letters. At the upper end of the hall was the Magna Charta, with the