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mankind, in the returns of affection and good-will, which are paid him by every one that lives within his neighborhood. I lately met with two or three odd instances of that general respect which is shown to the good old knight. He would needs carry 5 Will Wimble and myself with him to the county assizes. As we were upon the road Will Wimble joined a couple of plain men who rid before us, and conversed with them for some time; during which my friend Sir Roger acquainted me with their 10 characters.
“The first of them,” says he, “that has a spaniel by his side, is a yeoman of about an hundred pounds a year, an honest man. He is just within the game-act, and qualified to kill a hare or a pheasant. 15 He knocks down his dinner with his gun twice or thrice a week; and by that means lives much cheaper than those who have not so good an estate as himself. He would be a good neighbor if he did not destroy so many partridges. In short, he is a very 20 sensible man; shoots flying; and has been several times foreman of the petty-jury.
“The other that rides along with him is Tom Touchy, a fellow famous for taking the law' of everybody. There is not one in the town where he 25 lives that he has not sued at a quarter sessions. The rogue had once the impudence to go to law with the Widow. His head is full of costs, damages, and ejectments. He plagued a couple of honest
gentlemen so long for a trespass in breaking one of his hedges, till he was forced to sell the ground it enclosed to defray the charges of the prosecution;
his father left him fourscore pounds a year: but he 5 has cast 3 and been cast so often, that he is not now
worth thirty. I suppose he is going upon the old business of the willow-tree.”
As Sir Roger was giving me this account of Tom Touchy, Will Wimble and his two companions 10 stopped short till we came up to them. After
having paid their respects to Sir Roger, Will told him that Mr. Touchy and he must appeal to him upon a dispute that arose between them. Will it
seems had been giving his fellow-traveler an account 15 of his angling one day in such a hole: when Tom
Touchy, instead of hearing out his story, told him that Mr. Such-a-One, if he pleased, might “take the law of him” for fishing in that part of the river.
My friend Sir Roger heard them both, upon a round 20 trot; and after having paused some time told them,
with the air of a man who would not give his judgment rashly, that “much might be said on both sides.” They were neither of them dissatisfied with
the knight's determination, because neither of them 25 found himself in the wrong by it. Upon which we made the best of our way to the assizes.
The court was sat before Sir Roger came; but notwithstanding all the justices had taken their places upon the bench, they made room for the old knight at the head of them; who for his reputation in the country took occasion to whisper in the judge's ear, “that he was glad his lordship had met with so much good weather in his circuit.” I was listening to the proceeding of the court with much 5 attention, and infinitely pleased with that great appearance of solemnity which so properly accompanies such a public administration of our laws; when after about an hour's sitting, I observed, to my great surprise, in the midst of a trial, that my 10 friend Sir Roger was getting up to speak. I was in some pain for him, until I found he had acquitted himself of two or three sentences, with a look of much business and great intrepidity.
Upon his first rising the court was hushed, and 15 a general whisper ran among the country people, that Sir Roger "was up.” The speech he made was so little to the purpose, that I shall not trouble my readers with an account of it; and I believe was not so much designed by the knight himself to 20 inform the court, as to give him a figure in my eye, and keep up his credit in the country.
I was highly delighted when the court rose to see the gentlemen of the country gathering about my old friend, and striving who should compliment him 25 most; at the same time that the ordinary people gazed upon him at a distance, not a little admiring his courage that was not afraid to speak to the judge.
In our return home we met with a very odd accident; which I cannot forbear relating, because it shows how desirous all who know Sir Roger are
of giving him marks of their esteem. When we 5 were arrived upon the verge of his estate, we stopped
at a little inn to rest ourselves and our horses. The man of the house had it seems, been formerly a servant in the knight's family; and to do honor to
his old master, had some time since, unknown to 10 Sir Roger, put him up in a sign-post before the
door; so that the knight's head had hung out upon the road about a week before he himself knew anything of the matter. As soon as Sir Roger was
acquainted with it, finding that his servant's indis15 cretion proceeded wholly from affection and good
will, he only told him that he had made him too high a compliment; and when the fellow seemed to think that could hardly be, added with a more
decisive look, that it was too great an honor for 20 any man under a duke; but told him at the same
time, that it might be altered with a very few touches, and that he himself would be at the charge of it. Accordingly they got a painter by the
knight's directions to add a pair of whiskers to the 25 face, and by a little aggravation of the features to
change it into the Saracen's Head. I should not have known this story, had not the inn-keeper, upon Sir Roger's alighting, told him in my hearing, that his honor's head was brought back last night
with the alterations that he had ordered to be made in it. Upon this my friend, with his usual cheerfulness, related the particulars above mentioned, and ordered the head to be brought into the room. I could not forbear discovering greater 5 expressions of mirth than ordinary upon the appearance of this monstrous face, under which, notwithstanding it was made to frown and stare in a most extraordinary manner, I could still discover a distant resemblance of my old friend. Sir 10 Roger, upon seeing me laugh, desired me to tell him truly if I thought it possible for people to know him in that disguise. I at first kept my usual silence; but upon the knight's conjuring me to tell whether it was not still more like himself 15 than a Saracen, I composed my countenance in the best manner I could, and replied, that "much might be said on both sides."
These several adventures, with the knight's behavior in them, gave me as pleasant a day as ever 20 I met with in any of my travels.