Page images
PDF
EPUB

IO

with a boy that answers well, he has ordered a Bible to be given him next day for his encouragement; and sometimes accompanies it with a flitch Jof bacon to his mother. Sir Roger has likewise 5 added five pounds a year to the clerk's place; and

that he may encourage the young fellows to make themselves perfect in the church-service, has promised upon the death of the present incumbent, who is very old, to bestow it according to merit.

The fair understanding between Sir Roger and his chaplain, and their mutual concurrence in doing good, is the more remarkable, because the very next village is famous for the differences and con

tentions that rise between the parson and the 15 'squire, who live in a perpetual state of war. The

parson is always preaching at the 'squire; and the 'squire, to be revenged on the parson, never comes to church. The 'squire has made all his tenants

atheists and tithe-stealers; while the parson in20 structs them every Sunday in the dignity of his

order, and insinuates to them, in almost every sermon, that he is a better man than his patron. In short, matters are come to such an extremity,

that the 'squire has not said his prayers either in 25 public or private this half year; and that the parson

threatens him, if he does not mend his manners, to pray for him in the face of the whole congregation.

Feuds of this nature, though too frequent in the country, are very fatal to the ordinary people; who

!

are so used to be dazzled with riches, that they pay Unity as much deference to the understanding of a man of an estate, as of a man of learning; and are very hardly brought to regard any truth, how important soever it may be, that is preached to them, whep 5. they know there are several men of five hundred a year who do not believe it.

No. 12. Sir Roger and the Widow SPECTATOR No. 113. Tuesday, July 10, 1711 Hærent infixi pectore vultus.

Virg. Æn. iv. 4.

In my first description of the company in which I pass most of my time, it may be remembered, that I mentioned a great affliction which my friend 10 Sir Roger had met with in his youth; which was no less than a disappointment in love. It happened this evening, that we fell into a very pleasing walk at a distance from his house. As soon as we came into it, “It is," quoth the good old man, looking 15 round him with a smile," very hard, that any part of my land should be settled upon one who has used me so ill as the perverse widow did; and yet I am sure I could not see a sprig of any bough of this whole walk of trees, but I should reflect upon 20 her and her severity. She has certainly the finest hand of any woman in the world. You are to know, this was the place wherein I used to muse

upon her; and by that custom I can never come into it, but the same tender sentiments revive in my mind, as if I had actually walked with that beautiful

creature under these shades. I have been fool 5 enough to carve her name on the bark of several

of these trees; so unhappy is the condition of men in love, to attempt the removing of their passion by the methods which serve only to imprint it

deeper. She has certainly the finest hand of any 10 woman in the world."

Here followed a profound silence; and I was not displeased to observe my friend falling so naturally into a discourse, which I had ever before taken

notice he industriously avoided.' — After a very long 15 pause, he entered upon an account of this great

circumstance in his life, with an air which I thought raised my idea of him above what I had ever had before; and gave me the picture of that cheerful

mind of his, before it received that stroke which has 20 ever since affected his words and actions. But he went on as follows.

"I came to my estate in my twenty-second year, and resolved to follow the steps of the most worthy

of my ancestors who have inhabited this spot of 25 earth before me, in all the methods of hospitality

and good neighborhood, for the sake of my faine; and in country sports and recreations, for the sake of my health. In my twenty-third year

I was obliged to serve as sheriff of the county; and in my

2

servants, officers, and whole equipage, indulged the pleasure of a young man (who did not think ill of his own person) in taking that public occasion of showing my figure and behavior to advantage. You may easily imagine to yourself what appearance I 5 made, who am pretty tall, rid well, and was very well dressed, at the head of a whole county, with music before me, a feather in my hat, and my horse well bitted. I can assure you, I was not a little pleased with the kind looks and glances I had from 10 all the balconies and windows as I rode to the hall where the assizes

were held.

But when I came there, a beautiful creature, in a widow's habit, sat in court to hear the event of a cause concerning her dower. This commanding creature (who was born 15 for the destruction of all who behold her) put on such a resignation in her countenance, and bore the whispers of all around the court with such a pretty uneasiness, I warrant you, and then recovered herself from one eye to another, until she was perfectly 20 confused by meeting something so wistful in all she encountered, that at last, with a murrain to her,3 she cast her bewitching eye upon me. I no sooner met it but I bowed like a great surprised booby; and knowing her cause was to be the first which 25 came on, I cried, like a great captivated calf as I

for the defendant's witnesses.' This sudden partiality made all the county immediately see the sheriff also was become a slave to

was,

‘Make way

the fine widow. During the time her cause was upon trial, she behaved herself, I warrant you, with such a deep attention to her business, took opportunities to have little billets handed to her counsel, 5/ then would be in such a pretty confusion, occa

sioned, you must know, by acting before so much company, that not only I but the whole court was prejudiced in her favor; and all that the next heir

to her husband had to urge, was thought so ground10 less and frivolous, that when it came to her counsel

to reply, there was not half so much said as every one besides in the court thought he could have urged to her advantage. You must understand,

sir, this perverse woman is one of those unaccount15 able creatures that secretly rejoice in the admiration

of men, but indulge themselves in no farther consequences. Hence it is that she has ever had a train of admirers, and she removes from her slaves in

town to those in the country, according to the 20 seasons of the year. She is a reading lady, and far

gone in the pleasures of friendship. She is always accompanied by a confidant, who is witness to her daily protestations against our sex, and consequently

a bar to her first steps towards love, upon the 25 strength of her own maxims and declarations.

“However, I must needs say, this accomplished mistress of mine has distinguished me above the rest, and has been known to declare Sir Roger De Coverley was the tamest and most humane of all

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »