« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
order or ceremony, until we got into the street, where we drew
in very good order, and filed off down Sheerlane; the impertinent Templar driving us before him, as in a string, and pointing to his acquaintance who passed by.
I must confess, I love to use people according to heir own sense of good breeding, and therefore whipped in between the justice and the esquire. He could not properly take this ill; but I overheard him whisper the steward that he thought it hard that a common conjurer should take place of him, though an elder esquire, In this order we marched down Sheer-lane, at the upper end of which I lodge. When we came to Temple-bar, sir Harry and sir Giles got over; but a run of the coaches kept the rest of us on this side of the street: however, we all at last landed, and drew up in very good order before Ben Took’s shop, who favoured our rallying with great humanity. From whence we proceeded again, until we came to Dick's coffee-house, where I designed to carry them. Here we were at our old difficulty, and took up the strect upon the same ceremony. We proceeded through the entry, and were so necessarily kept in order by the situation, that we were now got into the coffee-house itself, where as soon as we arrived we repeated our civilities to each other; after which we marched up to the high table, which has an ascent to it inclosed in the middle of the room. The whole house was alarıned at this entry, made up of persons of so much state and rusticity. Sir Harry called for a mug of ale, and Dyer's Letter. The boy brought the ale in an instant; but said they did not take in the Letter. No! says sir Harry, then take back your mug; we are like indeed to have good liquor at this house! Here the Templar tipped me a second
wink; and if I had not looked very grave upon him, I found he was disposed to be very familiar with me. In short, I observed, after a long pause, that the gentlemen did not care to enter upon business until after their morning draught, for which reason I called for a bottle of mum; and finding that had no effect upon them, I ordered a second, and a third : after which sir Harry reached over to me, and told me in a low voice that the place was too public for business; but he would call upon me again to-morrow morning at my own lodgings, and bring some more friends with him.
ADDISON AND STEELE..
TENDERNESS OF AUTHORS TO THEIR WORKS.
A VERY pleasant gentleman of my acquaintance told me one day a story of falsehood and vanity in an author.
Mævius showed him a paper of verses, which he said he had received that morning by the penny-post from an unknown hand. My friend admired them extremely. Sir, said he, this must come from a man that is eminent: you see fire, life, and spirit, run through the whole, and at the same time a correctness which shows he is used to writing: pray, sir, read them over again. He begins again, title and all : “ To Mævius on his incoinparable poeins.' The second reading was performed with inuch more vehemence and action than the former, after which my friend fell into downright raptures Why, they are truly sublime ! there is energy in this line! description in that! Why, it is the thing itself! this is perfect picture ! Mæyius could bear no more;
but, Faith, says he, Ned, to tell you the plain truth, I writ them myself.
There goes just such another story of the same paternal tenderness in Bavius, an ingenious contempoFary of mine, who had writ several comedies which were rejected by the players. This iny friend Bavius took for envy, and therefore prevailed upon a gentleman to go with him to the playhouse, and gave him a new play of his, desiring he would personate the author, and read it, to baffle the spite of the actors. The friend consented, and to reading they went. They had not gone over three similes, before Roscius the player made the acting author stop, and desired to know what he meant by such a rapture; and how it came to pass that, in this condition of the lover, instead of acting according to his circumstances, he spent his time in considering what his present state was like? That is very true, says the mock author; I believe we had as good strike these lines out. By your leave, says Bavius, you-shall not spoil your play, you are too modest; those very lines, for aught I know, are as good as any in your play, and they shall stand. „Well, they go on, and the particle and stood unfortunately at the end of a verse, and was made to rhynie to the word "stand.' This Roscius excepted against. The new poet gave up that too, and said he would not dispute for a monosyllable.
For a monosyllable! says the real author, I can assure you, a monosyllable may be of as great force as a word of ten syllables... I tell you, sir, “and' is the connexion of the matter in that place; without that word, you may put all that follows into any other play as well as this. Besides, if you leave it out, it will look as if
put it in only for the sake of the rhyme. Roscius persisted, assuring the gentleman that it was
impossible to speak it but the and’ must be lost, so it might as well be blotted out. Bavius snatched his play out of their hands, said they were both blockheads, and went off; repeating a couplet, because he would not make his exit irregular. A witty man of these days compared this true and feigned poet to the contending mothers before Solomon ; the true one was easily discovered from the pretender, by refusing to see his offspring dissected.
ON DUELS. No. 93.
I HAD several hints and advertisements from unknown hands, that some, who are enemies to my labours, design to demand the fashionable way of satisfaction for the disturbance my Lucubrations have given them. I confess, as things now stand, I do not know how to deny such inviters, and am preparing myself accordingly. I have bought puinps and files; and am every morning practising in my chamber. My neighbour the dancing-master has demanded of me why I take this liberty, since I would not allow it him? But I answered, his was an act of an indifferent nature, and mine of necessity. My late treatises against duels have so far disobliged the fraternity of the noble science of defence, that I can get none of them to show me so much as one pass. I am therefore obliged to learn by book; and have accordingly several volumes, wherein all the postures are exactly delineated. I must confess, I am shy of letting people see me at this exercise, because of my fannel waistcoat, and my
spectacles, spectacles, which I am forced to fix on the better to observe the posture of the enemy.
I have upon my chamber walls drawn at full length the figures of all sorts of men, from eight feet to three feet two inches. Within this height I take it that all the fighting men of Great Britain are comprehended. But as I push, I make allowances for my being of a lank and spare body, and have chalked out in every figure my own dimensions; for I scorn to rob any man of his life by taking advantage of his breadth : therefore I press purely in a line down from his nose, and take no more of him to assault than he has of me: for, to speak impartially, if a lean fellow wounds a fat one in any part to the right or left, whether it be in cart or in terse, beyond the dimensions of the said lean fellow's own breadth, I take it to be murder, and such å murder as is below a gentleman to commit. As I am spare, I am also very tall, and behave myself with relation to that advantage with the same punctilio; and I ain ready to stoop or stand, according to the stature of my adversary. I must confess I have had great success this morning, and have hit every figure round the room in a mortal part, without receiving the least hurt, except a little scratch by falling on my face, in pushing at one at the lower end of my chamber; but I recovered so quick, and jumped so nimbly into my guard, that if he had been alive he could not have hurt me.
It is confessed, I have writ against duels with some warmth; but in all my discourses I have not ever said that I knew how a gentleman could avoid a duel if he were provoked to it; and since that custom is now become a law, I know nothing but the legislative power, with new animadversions upon it, can put us in a capacity of denying challenges, though we were afterVOL. I.