« AnteriorContinuar »
to place your short face at Sir Roger's left elbow, we shall take
I am, Sir,
The last part of a paper on Pin-money, in Spectator, No. 295.
[ADDISON. ( Socrates, in Plato's Alcibiades, says he was informed by one who had travelled through Persia, that as he passed over
a great tract of lands, and inquired what the name of the 10 place was, they told him it was the Queen's Girdle ; to which
he adds, that another wide field which lay by it was called the Queen's Veil ; and that in the same manner there was a large portion of land set aside for every part of Her Majesty's dress.
These lands might not be improperly called the Queen of 15 Persia's pin money.
I remember my friend Sir Roger, who I dare say never read this passage in Plato, told me some time since, that upon his courting the perverse widow,- of whom I have given an account in former papers,
- he had disposed of an hundred acres in a 20 diamond ring, which he would have presented her with had she
thought fit to accept it ; and that upon her wedding day she should have carried on her head fifty of the tallest oaks upon his estate. He further informed me that he would have given
her a coal pit to keep her in clean linen, that he would have 25 allowed her the profits of a windmill for her fans, and have
presented her once in three years with the shearing of his sheep for her under petticoats. To which the knight always adds that though he did not care for fine clothes himself, there should
not have been a woman in the country better dressed than my 30 Lady Coverley. Sir Roger, perhaps, may in this as well as in
many other of his devices, appear something odd and singular ; but if the humor of pin money prevails, I think it would be very proper for every gentleman of an estate to mark out so many acres of it under the title of The Pins.
My friend Sir Roger de Coverley told me t'other night, that he had been reading my paper upon Westminster Abbey, “in which,” says he, “there are a great many ingenious fancies." He told me, at the same time, that he observed I had promised another paper upon the 5 tombs, and that he should be glad to go and see them with me, not having visited them since he had read history. I could not at first imagine how this came into the knight's head, till I recollected that he had been very busy all last summer upon Baker's “ Chronicle," which 10 he has quoted several times in his disputes with Sir Andrew Freeport since his last coming to town. Accordingly, I promised to call upon him the next morning, that we might go together to the Abbey.
I found the knight under his butler's hands, who always 15 shaves him. He was no sooner dressed than he called for a glass of the Widow Trueby's water, which he told me he always drank before he went abroad.
He recommended me to a dram of it at the same time with so much heartiness that I could not forbear drinking it. As soon 20 as I had got it down, I found it very unpalatable; upon which the knight, observing that I had made several wry faces, told me that he knew I should not like it at first, but that it was the best thing in the world against the stone or gravel. I could have wished, indeed, that he had 25 acquainted me with the virtues of it sooner ; but it was too late to complain, and I knew what he had done was out of good-will. Sir Roger told me, further, that he looked upon it to be very good for a man, whilst he stayed
in town, to keep off infection; and that he got together a quantity of it upon the first news of the sickness being at Dantzic. When, of a sudden, turning short to one of his servants, who stood behind him, he bid him call a 5 hackney-coach, and take care it was an elderly man that drove it.
He then resumed his discourse upon Mrs. Trueby's water, telling me that the Widow Trueby was one who
did more good than all the doctors and apothecaries in 10 the county; that she distilled every poppy that grew
within five miles of her ; that she distributed her water gratis among all sorts of people: to which the knight added that she had a very great jointure, and that the
whole country would fain have it a match between him 15 and her; “And truly,” said Sir Roger, "if I had not been engaged perhaps I could not have done better."
His discourse was broken off by his man's telling him he had called a coach. Upon our going to it, after having
cast his eye upon the wheels, he asked the coachman if 20 his axle-tree was good; upon the fellow's telling him he
would warrant it, the knight turned to me, told me he looked like an honest man, and went in without further ceremony.
We had not gone far, when Sir Roger, popping out his 25 head, called the coachman down from his box, and upon
his presenting himself at the window, asked him if he smoked ; as I was considering what this would end in, he bid him stop by the way at any good tobacconist's, and
take in a roll of their best Virginia. Nothing material 30 happened in the remaining part of our journey till we were set down at the west end of the Abbey.
As we went up the body of the church, the knight pointed at the trophies upon one of the new monuments, and cried out, “ A brave man, I warrant him !" Passing
afterwards by Sir Cloudesley Shovel, he flung his hand that way, and cried, "Sir Cloudesley Shovel! a very gallant man!” As we stood before Busby's tomb, the knight uttered himself again after the same manner: “Dr. Busby - a great man ! he whipped my grandfather - a very 5 great man! I should have gone to him myself if I had not been a blockhead ;
-a very great man !" We were immediately conducted into the little chapel on the right hand. Sir Roger, planting himself at our historian's elbow, was very attentive to everything he said, 10 particularly to the account he gave us of the lord who had cut off the King of Morocco's head. Among several other figures, he was very well pleased to see the statesman Cecil upon his knees; and, concluding them all to be great men, was conducted to the figure which represents that martyr 15 to good housewifery who died by the prick of a needle. Upon our interpreter's telling us that she was a maid of honor to Queen Elizabeth, the knight was very inquisitive into her name and family; and after having regarded her finger for some time, “I wonder," says he, “ that Sir 20 Richard Baker has said nothing of her in his 'Chronicle.'” We were then conveyed to the two coronation chairs,
old friend, after having heard that the stone underneath the most ancient of them, which was brought from Scotland, was called Jacob's Pillar, sat himself down 25 in the chair, and looking like the figure of an old Gothic king, asked our interpreter what authority they had to say that Jacob had ever been in Scotland. The fellow, instead of returning him an answer, told him that he hoped his honor would pay his forfeit. I could observe Sir Roger 30 a little ruffled upon being thus trepanned; but, our guide not insisting upon his demand, the knight soon recovered his good humor, and whispered in my ear that if Will Wimble were with us, and saw those two chairs, it would
go hard but he would get a tobacco-stopper out of one or t'other of them.
Sir Roger, in the next place, laid his hand upon Edward the Third's sword, and leaning upon the pommel of it, 5 gave us the whole history of the Black Prince ; concluding that, in Sir Richard Baker's opinion, Edward the Third was one of the greatest princes that ever sat upon the English throne.
We were then shown Edward the Confessor's tomb, upon 10 which Sir Roger acquainted us that he was the first who
touched for the evil; and afterwards Henry the Fourth's, upon which he shook his head and told us there was fine reading in the casualties in that reign.
Our conductor then pointed to that monument where 15 there is the figure of one of our English kings without an
head; and upon giving us to know that the head, which was of beaten silver, had been stolen away several years since, — "Some Whig, I'll warrant you," says Sir Roger;
"you ought to lock up your kings better; they will carry 20 off the body too,
don't take care.”
knight observed with some surprise, had a great many 25*kings in him whose monuments he had not seen in the Abbey.
For my own part, I could not but be pleased to see the knight show such an honest passion for the glory of his
country, and such a respectful gratitude to the memory of 30 its princes.
I must not omit that the benevolence of my good old friend, which flows out towards every one he converses with, made him very kind to our interpreter, whom he looked upon as an extraordinary man; for which reason