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A SUMMONS TO LONDON.
No. 131. — TUESDAY, JULY 31, 1711.
IPSÆ rursum concedite sylvæ. — VIRG. EC. X. 63:
ONCE more, ye woods, adieu.
It is usual for a man who loves country sports to preserve the game on his own grounds, and divert himself upon those that belong to his neighbour. My friend Sir Roger generally goes two or three miles from his house, 5 and gets into the frontiers of his estate, before he beats about in search of a hare or partridge, on purpose to spare his own fields, where he is always sure of finding diversion when the worst comes to the worst. By this
means the breed about his house has time to increase 1o and multiply, besides that the sport is the more agreeable
where the game is the harder to come at, and where it does not lie so thick as to produce any perplexity or confusion in the pursuit. For these reasons the country gen
tleman, like the fox, seldom preys near his own home. 15
In the same manner I have made a month's excursion out of town, which is the great field of game for sportsmen of my species, to try my fortune in the country, where I have started several subjects, and hunted them down,
with some pleasure to myself, and I hope to others. I 20 am here forced to use a great deal of diligence before I can spring anything to my mind, whereas in town, whilst I am following one character, it is ten to one but I am crossed in my way by another, and put up such a variety of odd creatures in both sexes, that they foil the scent of one another, and puzzle the chase. My greatest difficulty in the country is to find sport, and in town to choose 5 it. In the mean time, as I have given a whole month's rest to the cities of London and Westminster, I promise myself abundance of new game upon my return thither.
It is indeed high time for me to leave the country, since I find the whole neighbourhood begin to grow very 10 inquisitive after my name and character; my love of solitude, taciturnity, and particular way of life, having raised a great curiosity in all these parts.
The notions which have been framed of me are various; some look upon me as very proud, some as very 15 modest, and some as very melancholy. Will Wimble, as my friend the butler tells me, observing me very much alone, and extremely silent when I am in company, is afraid I have killed a man. The country people seem to suspect me for a conjurer; and some of them hearing of 20 the visit which I made to Moll White, will needs have it that Sir Roger has brought down a cunning man with him, to cure the old woman, and free the country from her charms. So that the character which I go under in part of the neighbourhood, is what they here call a white witch. 25
A justice of peace, who lives about five miles off, and is not of Sir Roger's party, has, it seems, said twice or thrice at his table, that he wishes Sir Roger does not harbour a Jesuit in his house; and that he thinks the gentlemen of the country would do very well to make me 30 give some account of myself.
On the other side, some of Sir Roger's friends are afraid the old knight is imposed upon by a designing fellow, and as they have heard that he converses very promiscuously when he is in town, do not know but he 5 has brought down with him some discarded Whig, that is sullen, and says nothing because he is out of place.
Such is the variety of opinions which are here entertained of me, so that I pass among some for a disaffected
person, and among others for a popish priest; among Io some for a wizard, and among others for a murderer ;
and all this for no other reason, that I can imagine, but because I do not hoot, and hollow, and make a noise. It is true, my friend Sir Roger tells them that it is my way,
and that I am only a philosopher; but this will not 15 satisfy them. They think there is more in me than he discovers, and that I do not hold my tongue for nothing.
For these and other reasons I shall set out for London to-morrow, having found by experience that the country
is not a place for a person of my temper, who does not 20 love jollity, and what they call good neighbourhood.
A man that is out of humour when an unexpected guest breaks in upon him, and does not care for sacrificing an afternoon to every chance comer, that will be the
master of his own time, and the pursuer of his own in25 clinations, - makes but a very unsociable figure in this
kind of life. I shall therefore retire into the town, if I may make use of that phrase, and get into the crowd again as fast as I can, in order to be alone. I can there raise what speculations I please upon others without being observed myself, and at the same time enjoy all the advantages of company with all the privileges of
solitude. In the meanwhile, to finish the month, and conclude these my rural speculations, I shall here insert a letter from my friend Will Honeycomb, who has not lived a month for these forty years out of the smoke of London, and rallies me after his way upon my country 5 life.
“ DEAR SPEC,
I suppose this letter will find thee picking up daisies, or smelling to a lock of hay, or passing away thy time in some innocent country diversion of the like nature. I have however orders from the club to summon thee up to town, being all of us cursedly afraid thou 10 wilt not be able to relish our company, after thy conversations with Moll White and Will Wimble. Pr’ythee don't send up any more stories of a cock and a bull, nor frighten the town with spirits and witches. Thy speculations begin to smell confoundedly of woods and meadows. If thou dost not come up quickly, we shall con- 15 clude that thou 'art in love with one of Sir Roger's dairy-maids. Service to the knight. Sir Andrew is grown the cock of the club since he left us, and if he does not return quickly, will make every mother's son of us commonwealth's men.
THE JOURNEY TO LONDON. [STEELE.]
No. 132. — WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 1, 1711.
Qui, aut tempus quid postulet non videt, aut plura loquitur, aut se ostentat, aut eorum quibuscum est rationem non habet, is ineptus esse dicitur.— TULL.
THAT man may be called impertinent, who considers not the circumstances of time, or engrosses the conversation, or makes himself the subject of his discourse, or pays no regard to the company he is in.
HAVING notified to my good friend Sir Roger that I should set out for London the next day, his horses were ready at the appointed hour in the evening; and attended by one of his grooms, I arrived at the county5 town at twilight, in order to be ready for the stage-coach the day following. As soon as we arrived at the inn, the servant who waited upon me inquired of the chamberlain in my hearing what company he had for the
coach? The fellow answered, “Mrs. Betty Arable, the 10 great fortune, and the widow her mother; a recruiting
officer (who took a place because they were to go); young Squire Quickset, her cousin (that her mother wished her to be married to); Ephraim the Quaker, her guardian;
and a gentleman that had studied himself dumb from 15 Sir Roger de Coverley's.” I observed by what he said
of myself, that according to his office he dealt much in intelligence; and doubted not but there was some foundation for his reports of the rest of the company,