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Books are valued upon the like considerations. An abusive, scurrilous style passes for satire, and a dull scheme of party notions is called fine writing.
There is one piece of sophistry practised by both sides, and that is the taking any scandalous story, 3 that has been ever whispered or invented of a private man, for a known undoubted truth, and raising suitable speculations upon it. Calumnies that have been never proved, or have been often refuted, are the ordinary postulatums of these infamous scribblers, 10 upon which they proceed as upon first principles granted by all men, though in their hearts they know they are false, or at best very doubtful. When they have laid these foundations of scurrility, it is no wonder that their superstructure is every way answerable 15 to them. If this shameless practice of the present age endures much longer, praise and reproach will cease to be motives of action in good men.
There are certain periods of time in all governments when this inhuman spirit prevails. Italy was 20 long torn in pieces by the Guelphs and Ghibellines, and France by those who were for and against the League :' but it is very unhappy for a man to be born in such a stormy and tempestuous season. It is the restless ambition of artful men that thus breaks a 25 people into factions, and draws several well-meaning persons to their interest by a specious concern for their country. How many honest minds are filled
with uncharitable and barbarous notions, out of their 5 zeal for the public good? What cruelties and out
rages would they not commit against men of an adverse party, whom they would honor and esteem, if, instead of considering them as they are represented,
they knew them as they are ? Thus are persons of 10. the greatest probity seduced into shameful errors and
prejudices, and made bad men even by that noblest of principles, the love of their country. I cannot here forbear mentioning the famous Spanish proverb, “If
there were neither fools nor knaves in the world, all 15 people would be of one mind."
For my own part I could heartily wish that all honest men would enter into an association, for the support of one another against the endeavors of those
whom they ought to look upon as their common ene20 mies, whatsoever side they may belong to. Were
there such an honest body of neutral forces, we should never see the worst of men in great figures of life, because they are useful to a party; nor the best
unregarded, because they are above practising those 25 methods which would be grateful to their faction. We should then single every criminal out of the herd, and hunt him down, however formidable and overgrown he might appear; on the contrary, we should shelter distressed innocence, and defend virtue, however beset with contempt or ridicule, envy or defama- 5 cion. In short, we should not any longer regard our fellow-subjects as Whigs or Tories, but should make the man of merit our friend, and the villain our enemy
SIR ROGER AND THE GYPSIES. As I was yesterday riding out in the fields with my friend Sir Roger, we saw at a little distance from us a troop of gypsies. Upon the first discovery of them, my friend was in some doubt whether he should not exert the Justice of the Peace upon such a band of lawless vagrants; but not having his clerk with him, 15 who is a necessary counsellor on these occasions, and fearing that his poultry might fare the worse for it, he let the thought drop: but at the same time gave me a particular account of the mischiefs they do in the country, in stealing people's goods and spoiling 20 their servants. “If a stray piece of linen hangs upon an hedge,” says Sir Roger, “ they are sure to have it; if the hog loses his way in the fields, it is ten to one
Sis Regera's 5
but he becomes their prey; our geese cannot live in peace for them; if a man prosecutes them with severity, his hen-roost is sure to pay for it: they generally
straggle into these parts about this time of the year; 5 and set the heads of our servant-maids so agog for
husbands, that we do not expect to have any business done as it should be whilst they are in the country. I have an honest dairy-maid who crosses their hands
with a piece of silver every summer, and never fails 10 being promised the handsomest young fellow in the
parish for her pains. Your friend the butler has been fool enough to be seduced by them; and, though he is sure to lose a knife, a fork, or a spoon every time his
fortune is told him, generally shuts himself up in the 15 pantry with an old gypsy for above half an hour once
in a twelvemonth. Sweethearts are the things they live upon, which they bestow very plentifully upon all those that apply themselves to them. You see
now and then some handsome young jades among 20 them: the sluts have very often white teeth and black
Sir Roger, observing that I listened with great attention to his account of a people who were so entirely
new to me, told me that, if I would, they should tell us 25 our fortunes. As I was very well pleased with the
Knight's proposal, we rid up and communicated our hands to them. A Cassandrao of the crew, after having examined my lines very diligently, told me that I loved a pretty maid in a corner; that I was a good woman's man; with some other particulars which I 5 do not think proper to relate. My friend Sir Roger alighted from his horse, and exposing his palm to two or three that stood by him, they crumpled it into all shapes, and diligently scanned every wrinkle that could be made in it; when one of them, who was older and more sunburnt than the rest, told him that he had a widow in his line of life:° upon which the Knight cried, "Go, go, you are an idle baggage;" and at the same time smiled upon me.
find. ing he was not displeased in his heart, told him after 15 a farther inquiry into his hand, that his true love was constant, and that she should dream of him to-night: my old friend cried “Pish!” and bid her go on. The gypsy told him that he was a bachelor, but would not be so long; and that he was dearer to somebody than 20 he thought. The Knight still repeated she was an idle baggage and bid her go on. “Ah, master,” said the gypsy, “that roguish leer of yours makes a pretty woman's heart ache: you ha'n't that simper about the mouth for nothing .” The uncouth gibberish with 25