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the elector has a project, or that he will come, or if he does come at all ; for he doubts, you see, whether the report has any foundation.
What makes this the more lamentable, is, that this way of writing falls in with the imaginations of the cooler and duller part of her majesty's subjects. The being kept up with one line contradicting another, and the whole, after many sentences of conjecture, vanishing in a doubt whether there is any thing at all in what the person has been reading, puts an ordinary head into a vertigo, which his natural dullness would have secured him from. Next to the labours of the Postman, the upholsterer took from under his elbow honest Icabod Dawks's letter, and there, among other speculations, the historian takes upon him to say, " that it « is discoursed that there will be a battle in Flanders “ before the armies separate, and many will have it to “ be to-morrow, the great battle of Ramillies being “ fought on a Whitsunday.” A gentleman who was a wag in this company, laughed at the expression, and said, by Mr. Dawks's favour, I warrant ye, if we meet them on Whitsunday or Monday we shall not stand upon the day with them, whether it be before or after the holidays. An admirer of this gentleman stood up, and told a neighbour at a distant table the conceit, at which indeed we were all very merry. These reflections in the writers of the transactions of the times, seize the noddles of such as were not born to have thoughts of their own, and consequently lay a weight upon every thing which they read in print. But Mr. Dawks concluded his paper with a courteous sentence, which was very well taken and applauded by the whole company, we wish,” says he, “ all our customers a “merry Whitsuntide, and many of them.” Honest Icabod is as extraordinary a man as any of our fraternity, and as particular. His style is a dialect between the familiarity of talking and writing, and his letter such as you cannot distinguish whether print or ma
nuscript, which gives us a refreshment of the idea from what has been told us from the press by others. This wishing a good tide had its effect upon us, and he was commended for his salutation, as shewing as well the capacity of a bell-man as an historian.
My distempered old acquaintance read in the next place the account of the affairs abroad in the Courant; but the matter was told so distinctly that these wanderers thought there was no news in it ; this paper differing from the rest as a history from a romance. The tautology, the contradiction, the doubts, and wants of confirmations, are what keep up imaginary entertainments in empty heads, and produce neglect of their own affairs, poverty, and bankruptcy, in many of the shopstatesmen; but turn the imaginations of those of a little higher orb into deliriums of dissatisfaction, which is seen in a continual fret upon all that touches their brains, but more particularly upon any advantage obtained by their country, where they are considered as lunatics, and therefore tolerated in their ravings.
What I am now warning the people of, is, that the newspapers of this island are as pernicious to weak heads in England, as ever books of chivalry to Spain ; and therefore shall do all that in me lies, with the utmost care and vigilance imaginable, to prevent these growing evils. A flaming instance of this malady appeared in my old acquaintance at this time, who after he had done reading all his papers, ended with a thoughtful air, “ If we should have a peace, we should “ then know for certain whether it was the King of “ Sweden that lately came to Dunkirk." I whispered him, and desired him to step aside a little with me. When I had opportunity, I decoyed him into a coach, in order for his more easy conveyance to Moorfields. The man went very quietly with me; and by that time he had brought the Swede from the defeat by the Czar to the Borysthenes, we were passing by Will's Coffee-house, where the man of the house beckoped
to us. We made a full stop, and could hear from above a very loud voice swearing, with some expressions towards treason, that the subject in France was as free as in EnglandHis distemper would not let him reflect, that his own discourse was an argument of the contrary. They told him one would speak with him below. He came immediately to our coach side. I whispered him, that I had an order to carry him to the Bastile. He immediately obeyed with great resignation : for to this sort of lunatic, whose brain is touched for the French, the name of a gaol in that kingdom has a more agreeable sound than that of a paternal seat in this their own country. It happened a little unluckily bringing these lunatics together, for they immediately fell into a debate concerning the greatness of their respective monarchs ; one for the King of Sweden, the other for the Grand Monarch of France. This gentleman from Will's is now next door to the upholsterer, safe in his apartment in my Bedlam, with proper medicaments, and the Mercure Gallant, to sooth his imagination that he is actually in France. If therefore he should escape to Covent-garden again, all persons are desired to lay hold of him, and deliver him to Mr. Morphew, my overseer. At the same time I desire all true subjects to forbear discourse with him, any otherwise than when he begins to fight a battle for France to say, “ Sir, I hope to see you in England.”
No. CLXXIX. THURSDAY, JUNE 1.
...........Oh! quis me gelidis in vallibus Hæmi
From my own Apartment, May 31. IN this parched season, next to the pleasure of going into the country, is that of hearing from it, and partaking the joys of it in description, as in the following letter:
“ I BELIEVE you will forgive me, though I " write to you a very long epistle, since it relates to “ the satisfaction of a country life, which I know you 66 would lead, if you could. In the first place I must “ confess to you, that I am one of the most luxurious “ men living; and as I am such, I take care to make “ my pleasures lasting, by following none but such as « are innocent and refined, as well as, in some mea“ sure improving. You have in your labours been so « much concerned to represent the actions and pas66 sions of mankind, that the whole vegetable world « has almost escaped your observation : but sure there “ are gratifications to be drawn from thence, which « deserve to be recommended. For your better infor“ mation, I wish you would visit your old friend in “ Cornwall. You would be pleased to see the many 66 alterations I have ade about my house, and how w much I have improved my estate without raising 6 the rents of it.
« As the winter engrosses with us near a double “ portion of the year, (the three delightful vicissitudes “ being crowded almost within the space of six months) “ there is nothing upon which I have bestowed so “ much study and expence, as in contriving means to " soften the severity of it, and, if possible, to establish
« twelve cheerful months about my habitation. In or“ der to this, the charges I have been at'in building " and furnishing a green house, will, perhaps, be thought “ some-what extravagant by a great many gentlemen « whose revenues exceed mine. But when I consider " that all men of any life and spirit have their inclina. “ tions to gratify, and when I compute the sums laidout “ by the generality of the men of pleasure in the num“ ber of which I always rank myself) in riotous eat6 ing and drinking, in equipage and apparel, upon “ wenching, gaming, racing, and hunting ; I find upon “ the balance, that the indulging of my humour comes 6 at a reasonable rate.
« Since I communicate to you all incidents serious 6 and trifling, even to the death of a butterfly, that fall < out within the compass of my little empire, you will « not, I hope be ill pleased with the draught I now 66 send you of my little winter paradise, and with an * account of my way of amusing myself and others « in it.
" The younger Pliny, you know, writes a long let* ter to his friend Gallus, in which he gives him a
very particular plan of the situation, the convenien" ces, and the agreeableness of his villa. In my last * you may remember, I promised you something of as this kind. Had Pliny lived in a northern climate. I “ doubt not but we should have found a very complete “ orangery among his epistles; and I, probably, should “ have copied his model, instead of building after my
own fancy, and you had been referred to him for the « history of my late exploits in architecture: by which 6 means my performances would have made a better “ figure, at least in writing, than they are like to 4 make at present.
66 The area of my green-house is a hundred paces 66 long, fifty broad, and a roof thirty feet high. The " wall toward the north is of solid stone. On the south 66 side and at both the ends, the stone-work rises but