Page images

elegance, but the beef being overroasted, put the company all in confusion. The dean called for the cookmaid, and ordered her to take the beef down stairs, and do it less. She answered very innocently, that she could not. “Why, what sort of “a creature are you,” says he, “ to commit a fault “ which cannot be ainended *?” And turning to Mrs. Pilkington, he said very gravely,

« That he hoped, “ as the cook was a woman of genius, he should, by “ this manner of arguing, be able, in about a year's

time, to convince her she had better send up the “ meat too little than too much done;" charging the men servants, whenever they imagined the meat was ready, they should take it, spit and all, and bring it up by force, promising to aid them in case the cook resisted. Having asked Mr. and Mrs. Pilkington if they could smoke ? and being answered, that they did not ; “ It is a sign,” said he, you “ were neither of you bred in the university of Ox. “ ford; for drinking and smoking are the first rudi“ments of learning taught there ; and in those two

arts no university in Europe can outdo them.” Having asked Mrs. Pilkington if she had any faults ?

Pray, Mr. dean,” said Dr. Delany, “ why will “ you be so unpolite as to suppose Mrs. Pilkington “ has any faults?” “I'll tell you," replied the dean; “ whenever I see a number of agreeable qualities in

any person, I am always sure they have bad ones “ sufficient to poise the scale."

Mrs. Pilkington bowed, and told him he did her great honour; in нн4


* This story has occurred already, though not with all the circumstances here,

that copying bishop Berkeley, whom she had frequently heard declare, that when any speech was made to him, which might be construed either into a compliment or an affront, or that had two handles, he always took hold of the best.

The dean then asked Mrs. Pilkington, if she were a queen what she would choose to have after dinner? She answered, “your conversation, sir."

Pooh,” said he, “I mean, what regale.” “A “ dish of coffee, sir,” answered she. “Why then," said he, “I will so far make you as happy as a

queen; you shall have some in perfection : for, “ when I was chaplain to the earl of Berkeley, who

was in the government here, I was so poor, I was “obliged to keep a coffee house, and all the nobility

sesorted to it to talk treason." The dean then set about making the coffee : but the fire scorching his hand, he called to Mrs. Pilkington to reach him his glove; and changing the coffeepot to his left hand, held out his right one, ordering her to put the glove on it; which accordingly she did; when taking up part of his gown to fan himself with, and acting in character of a prudish lady, he said,

Well, I don't know what to think; women may “ be honest that do such things; but, for my part, “I never could bear to touch any man's flesh

except my husband's; whom, perhaps,” said he, " she wished at the devil.”

“ Mr. Pilkington,” said he, you would not “ tell me your wife's faults; but I have found her “out to be a d-n'd insolent, proud, unmannerly « slut.” “What has she done now?” said Mr. Pil. kington. "Done,” said the dean; “ why nothing but “ sat there quietly, and never once offered to interrupt

“ me


“ me in making the coffee; whereas a lady of modern

good breeding would have struggled with me for the coffeepot, until she had made me scald myself and her, and made me throw the coffee in the fire, or

perhaps at her head, rather than permit me to take “ so much trouble for her."

Mrs. Pilkington staid at home with the dean during the time of the afternoon's service; and he made her read his History of the last Session of Parliament, and the Peace of Utrecht, written at Windsor in 1713, asking her at the conclusion of every period, whether she understond it ? " for I would,” said he, “have it intelligible to the meanest capa

city; and, if you comprehend it, it is possible "every body may.”

She accompanied the dean to evening prayer; and on their return to the deanery, he told Mr. and Mrs. Pilkington, that he gave them leave to stay to supper ; which, from him, was a sufficient invitation.

The dean then missing his golden bottlescrew, told Mrs. Pilkington very sternly, he was sure she had stolen it. She affirmed very seriously, she had not. Upon which he looked for it: and found it where he himself had laid it : “ It is well for said he, “ that I have got it, or I would have charged yoŲ with theft."

Why, pray, sir," said she, « should I be suspected more than any other person “in the company ?” “ For a very good reason,” said he, “because you are the poorest.'

At their going away, the dean handed Mrs. Pil. kington down all the steps to the coach, thanking them for the honour of their company, at the same time slipping into her hand as much money as Mr. Pilkington and she had given at the offering in the



morning, and coach-hire also ; which she durst not refuse, lest she should have been deemed as great a blockhead as the parson who refused thick wine.

In one of the dean's periodical fits of deafness, he sent for Mrs. Pilkington; who having come, be brought out a large book, finely bound in Turkey leather, and handsomely gilt; This,” said he, “ is the Translation of the Epistles of Horace, a

present to me from the author; it is a special good cover; but I have a mind there should be

something valuable within side of it.” So, taking out his penknife, he cut out all the leaves close to the inner margin. Now," said he, “I will give “ these what they greatly want;" and put them all into the fire. “ Your task, madam, is to paste

in “these letters, in this cover, in the order I shall give " them to you: I intended to do it myself, but that “ I thought it might be a pretty amusement for a

child; so I sent for you.” She told him, she was extremely proud to be honoured with his commands; but requested to have leave to read the letters as she went on. · Why,” said the dean, “ pro“ vided you will acknowledge yourself amply “ warded for your trouble, I do not much care if I “indulge you so far.”

In reading the letters, she could not avoid remarking to the dean, that notwithstanding the friendship Mr. Pope professed for Mr. Gay, he could not forbear a great many satirical, or, if she might be allowed to say so, envious remarks on the success of the Beggar's Opera * The dean

The dean very frankly owned, he did not think Mr. Pope was so candid



* All this account of Pope, and his letters relative to Gay, is pure invention; he had refused to give any countenance to this


to the merit of other writers as he ought to be. She then ventured to ask the dean, whether he thought the lines Mr. Pope addressed him with in the beginning of the Dunciad were any compliment to him? viz.

“ O thou ! whatever title please thine ear.”

“I believe,” said he,“ they were meant as such, “ but they are very

stiff.” “ Indeed, sir," said she, “ he is so perfectly a master of harmonious numbers, “ that had his heart been the least affected with his “ subject, he must have writ better. How cold, how “ forced, are his lines to you, compared with yours to “ him !

“ Hail, happy Pope! whose generous mind, &c.'

« Thow you

“ Here we see the masterly poet, and the warm, “ sincere, generous friend ; while he, according to “ the character he gives of Mr. Addison, damns with faint praise.—“Well,” replied the dean, “ I'll

you a late letter of his." He did so; and Mrs. Pilkington was surprised to find it filled with low and ungentlemanlike reflections, both on Mr. Gay, and the two noble persons who honoured him with their patronage after his disappointment at court. “ Well, madam,” said the dean, “what “ do you think of that letter?” (seeing she had gone quite through it.) “ Indeed, sir,” replied she, “I

am sorry I have read it ; for it gives me reason to “ think there is no such thing as a sincere friend to

66 be

abandoned woman in the subscription for her poems, and this was the method she took of avenging herself.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »