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stood on the shore while his master was swimming, and observing him taken with some sudden illness and sink under water, jumped in and saved him. He told me Sir Roger took off the dress he was in as soon as he came home, and by a great bounty at that time, followed by 5 his favour ever since, had made him master of that pretty seat which we saw at a distance as we came to this house. I remembered, indeed, Sir Roger said, there lived a very worthy gentleman, to whom he was highly obliged, without mentioning any thing farther. Upon 10 my looking a little dissatisfied at some part of the picture, my attendant informed me that it was against Sir Roger's will, and at the earnest request of the gentleman himself, that he was drawn in the habit in which he had saved his master.
WILL WIMBLE. [ADDISON.]
NO. 108. – WEDNESDAY, JULY 4, 1711.
Gratis anhelans multa agendo nihil agens.
PHÆDR. FAB. V. 1. 2. Out of breath to no purpose, and very busy about nothing.
As I was yesterday morning walking with Sir Roger before his house, a country fellow brought him a huge fish, which he told him Mr. Will Wimble had caught that morning; and that he presented it with his service to him, and 5 intended to come and dine with him. At the same time
he delivered a letter, which my friend read to me as soon as the messenger left him.
“Sir ROGER, I desire you to accept of a jack, which is the best I have caught this season. I intend to come and stay with you a week, and see how the perch bite in the Black River. I observed with some concern, the last time I saw you upon the bowling-green, that your whip wanted a lash to it; I will bring half a dozen with me that I twisted last week, which I hope will serve
you all the time you are in the country. I have not been out of 15 the saddle for six days past, having been at Eaton with Sir John's
eldest son. He takes to his learning hugely. — I am, Sir, your humble servant,
This extraordinary letter, and message that accompanied it, made me very curious to know the character 20 and quality of the gentleman who sent them; which I found to be as follows. Will Wimble is younger brother to a baronet, and descended of the ancient family of the Wimbles. He is now between forty and fifty : but being bred to no business, and born to no estate, he generally lives with his elder brother as superintendent of his game. He hunts a pack of dogs better 5 than any man in the country, and is very famous for finding out a hare. He is extremely well versed in all the little handicrafts of an idle man: he makes a Mayfly to a miracle ; and furnishes the whole country with angle rods. As he is a good-natured officious fellow, 10 and very much esteemed upon account of his family, he is a welcome guest at every house, and keeps up a good correspondence among all the gentlemen about him. He carries a tulip-root in his pocket from one to another, or exchanges a puppy between a couple of friends 15 that live perhaps in the opposite sides of the county. Will is a particular favourite of all the young heirs, whom he frequently obliges with a net that he has weaved, or a setting dog that he has made himself. He now and then presents a pair of garters of his own knitting to their 20 mothers or sisters; and raises a great deal of mirth among them by inquiring as often as he meets them, how they wear? These gentleman-like manufactures and obliging little humours make Will the darling of the country.
25 Sir Roger was proceeding in the character of him, when we saw him make up to us with two or three hazel twigs in his hand that he had cut in Sir Roger's woods, as he came through them in his way to the house. I was very much pleased to observe, on one side the hearty and 30 sincere welcome with which Sir Roger received him,
and on the other the secret joy which his guest discovered at sight of the good old knight. After the first salutes were over, Will desired Sir Roger to lend him
one of his servants to carry a set of shuttle-cocks he had 5 with him in a little box to a lady that lived about a mile
off, to whom it seems he had promised such a present for above this half year. Sir Roger's back was no sooner turned but honest Will began to tell me of a large cock
pheasant that he had sprung in one of the neighbouring 10 woods, with two or three other adventures of the same
nature. Odd and uncommon characters are the game that I look for, and most delight in; for which reason I was as much pleased with the novelty of the person
that talked with me, as he could be for his life with the 15 springing of a pheasant, and therefore listened to him with more than ordinary attention.
In the midst of his discourse the bell rung to dinner, where the gentleman I have been speaking of had the
pleasure of seeing the huge jack he had caught, served 20 up for the first dish in a most sumptuous manner. Upon
our sitting down to it, he gave us a long account how he had hooked it, played with it, foiled it, and at length drew it out upon the bank, with several other particulars
that lasted all the first course. A dish of wild fowl that 25 came afterwards furnished conversation for the rest of
the dinner, which concluded with a late invention of Will's for improving the quail-pipe.
Upon withdrawing into my room after dinner, I was secretly touched with compassion towards the honest 30 gentleman that had dined with us; and could not but
consider with a great deal of concern, how so good a heart and such busy hands were wholly employed in trifles; that so much humanity should be so little beneficial to others, and so much industry so little advantageous to himself.
The same temper of nind and application to affairs might have recommended him to 5 the public esteem, and might have raised his fortune in another station of life. What good to his country or himself might not a trader or a merchant have done with such useful though ordinary qualifications !
Will Wimble's is the case of many a younger brother 10 of a great family, who had rather see their children starve like gentlemen, than thrive in a trade or profession that is beneath their quality. This humour fills several parts of Europe with pride and beggary. It is the happiness of a trading nation like ours, that the younger sons, 15 though incapable of any liberal art or profession, may be placed in such a way of life as may perhaps enable them to vie with the best of their family : accordingly we find several citizens that were launched into the world with narrow fortunes, rising by honest industry to 20 greater estates than those of their elder brothers. It is not improbable but Will was formerly tried at divinity, law, or physic; and that, finding his genius did not lie that way, his parents at length gave him up to his own inventions. But certainly, however improper he might 25 have been for studies of a higher nature, he was perfectly well turned for the occupations of trade and commerce. As I think this a point which cannot be too much inculcated, I shall desire my reader to compare what I have here written with what I have said in my twenty-first 30 speculation.