Imágenes de páginas

I found the knight under his butler's hands, who always shaves him. He was no sooner dressed, than he called for a glass of the widow Truby's water, which he told me he always drank before he went abroad. He recommended to me a dram of it at the same time, with so much heartiness, that I could not forbear drinking it. As soon 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 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 staid in town, to keep off infection, and that he got together a quantity of it upon the first news of the sickness being at Dantzick: when of a sudden turning short to one of his servants, who stood behind him, he bid him call a hackney-coach, and take care it was an elderly man that drove it.


He then resumed his discourse upon Mrs. Truby's water, telling me that the widow Truby was one who did more good than all the doctors and apothecaries in the country 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 and her; and truly, says 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 his axletree 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 head, called the coachman down from his box, and, on 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 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 Cloudsley Shovel, he flung his hand that way, and cried, Sir Cloudsley 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 great man! I should have gone to him myself, if I had not been a blockhead; a very great


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 every thing he said, 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 to good housewifery who died by the prick of a needle. Upon our interpreter's telling




us that she was a maid of honour 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 Richard Baker has said nothing of her in his Chronicle.'

We were then conveyed to the two coronation chairs, where my old friend, after having heard that the stone underneath the most antient of them, which was brought from Scotland, was called Jacob's pillar, sat himself down 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 honour would pay his forfeit.' I could observe sir Roger a little ruffled upon being thus trepanned; but our guide not insisting upon his demand, the knight soon recovered his good humour, 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, 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.'

[ocr errors]

We were then shown Edward the confessor's tomb; upon 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 of that reign.'

Our conductor then pointed to that monument


where there is the figure of one of our English kings without a 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 off the body too, if you don't take care.'

The glorious names of Henry the fifth and queen Elizabeth gave the knight great opportunities of shining, and of doing justice to sir Richard Baker, 'who,' as our knight observed with some surprise, had a great many kings in him, whose monuments he had not seen in the Abbey.'

[ocr errors]

For my own part, I could not but be well 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 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 he shook him by the hand at parting, telling him, that he should be very glad to see him at his lodgings in Norfolk-buildings, and talk over these matters with him more at leisure,'

[ocr errors]


ON BEARDS. No. 331.

WHEN I was last with my friend sir Roger in Westminster Abbey, I observed that he stood longer than ordinary before the bust of a venerable old man. I was at a loss to guess the reason of it; when after some

[blocks in formation]

time he pointed to the figure, and asked me if I did not think that our forefathers looked much wiser in their beards than we do without them. For my part, says he, when I am walking in my gallery in the country, and see my ancestors, who many of them died before they were of my age, I cannot forbear regarding them as so many old patriarchs, and at the same time looking upon myself as an idle smock-faced young fellow. I love to see your Abrahams, your Isaacs, and your Jacobs, as we have them in old pieces of tapestry with beards below their girdles, that cover half the hangings. The knight added, if I would recommend beards in one of my papers, and endeavour to restore human faces to their antient dignity, that upon a month's warning he would undertake to lead up the fashion himself, in a pair of whiskers.

I smiled at my friend's fancy; but, after we parted, could not forbear reflecting on the metamorphoses our faces have undergone in this particular.

The beard, conformably to the notion of my friend sir Roger, was for many ages looked upon as the type of wisdom. Lucian more than once rallies the philosophers of his time, who endeavoured to rival one another in beards; and represents a learned man who stood for a professorship in philosophy, as unqualified for it by the shortness of his beard.

Elian, in his account of Zoilus, the pretended critic, who wrote against Homer and Plato, and thought himself wiser than all who had gone before him, tells us that this Zoilus had a very long beard that hung down upon his breast, but no hair upon his head, which he always kept close shaved, regarding, it seems, the hairs of his head as so many suckers, which if they had been suffered to grow might have drawn away the nourish


« AnteriorContinuar »