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true to my knowledge." I had the misfortune, as they stood cheek by jole, to desire the squire to sit down before the justice of the quorum, to the no small satisfaction of the former, and resentment of the latter. But I saw my error too late, and got them as soon as I could into their seats.
« Well,” said I, “ gentlemen, after I have told you how glad I am of this great honour, I am to desire you to drink a dish of tea.” They answered one and all, " that they never drank tea in a morning!”-“Not in a morning !” said I, staring round me. Upon which the pert jackanapes, Nic Doubt, tipped me the wink, and put out his tongue at his grandfather. Here followed a profound silence, when the steward in bis boots and whip proposed, " that we should adjourn to some public house, where every body might call for what they pleased, and enter upon the business, We all stood up in an instant, and Sir Harry filed off from the left, very discreetly, countermarching behind the chairs towards the door. After him, Sir Giles in the same manner.
The simple squire made a sudden start to follow; but the justice of the quorum whipped between upon the stand of the stairs. A maid, going up with coals, made us halt, and put us into such confusion, that we stood all in a heap, without any visible possibility of recovering our order; for the young jackanapes seemed to make a jest of this matter, and had so contrived, by pressing amongst us, under pretence of making way, that his grandfather was got into the middle, and he knew nobody was of quality to stir a step, until Sir Harry moved first. We were fixed in this perplexity for some time, until we heard a very loud noise in the street; and Sir Harry asking what it was, I, to make them move, said, “it was a fire." Upon this, all ran down as fast as they could, without order or cere
mony, until we got into the street, where we drew up in very good order, and filed off down Sheer-lane; 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 their own sense of good breeding, and therefore whipped in between the justice and the simple squire. He could not properly take this ill; but I overheard him whisper the steward, “that he thought it hard, that a common conjuror should take place of him, though an elder squire." 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
in very good order before Ben Tooke's * shop, who favoured our rallying with great humanity; from whence we proceeded again, until we came to Dick's coffee-house t, where I designed to carry them. Here we were at our old difficulty, and took up the street 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 alarmed 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."
* The celebrated bookseller, in Fleet-street. + Which still goes by that name.
« 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.”
Will's Coffee-house, October 26., Though this place is frequented by a more mixed company than it used to be formerly; yet you meet very often some whom one cannot leave without being the better for their conversation. A gentleman this evening, in a dictating manner, talked, I thought, very pleasingly in praise of modesty, in the midst of ten or twelve libertines upon whom it seemed to have had a good effect. He represented it as the certain indication of a great and noble spirit. Modesty,” said he, “is the virtue which makes men prefer the public to their private interest, the guide of every honest undertaking, and the great guardian of innocence. It makes men amiable to their friends, and respected by their very enemies. In all places, and on all occasions, it attracts benevolence, and demands approbation.”
One might give instances, out of antiquity, of the irresistible force of this quality in great minds; Cicereius, and Cneius Scipio, the son of the Africanus, were competitors for the office of
prætor. The crowd followed Cicereius, and left: Scipio unattended. Cicereius saw this with much concern; and desiring an audience of the people, he descended from the place where the candidates were to sit in the eye of the multitude; pleaded for his adversary; and, with an ingenious modesty, which it is impossible to feign, represented to them, “ how much it was to their dishonour, that a virtuous son of Africanus should not be preferred to him, or any other man whatsoever. This immediately gained the election for Scipio; but all the compliments and congratulations upon it were made to Cicereius. It is easier in this case to say who had the office, than the honour.
There is no occurrence in life where this quality is not more ornamental than any other. After the battle of Pharsalia, Pompey marching towards Larissus, the whole people of that place came out in procession to do him honour. He thanked the magistrates for their respect to him; but desired them “ to perform these ceremonies to the conqueror.” This gallant submission to his fortune, and disdain of making any appearance but like Pompey, was owing to his mo. desty, which would not permit him to be so disin. genuous, as to give himself the air of prosperity, when he was in the contrary condition.
This I say of modesty, as it is the virtue which preserves a decorum in the general course of our life; but, considering it also as it regards our mere bodies, it is the certain character of a great mind. It is memorable of the mighty Cæsar, than when he was murdered in the Capitol, at the very moment in which he expired he gathered his robe about him, that he might fall in a decent posture.
In this manner, says my author, he went off, not like a man that departed out of life, but a deity that returned to his abode.
N' 87. SATURDAY, OCTOBER 29, 1709,
Will's Coffee-house, October 28. There is nothing which I contemplate with greater pleasure than the dignity of human nature, which often shows itself in all conditions of life. For, notwithstanding the degeneracy and meanness that is crept into it, there are a thousand occasions in which it breaks through its original corruption, and shows what it once was, and what it will be hereafter. I consider the soul of man as the ruin of a glorious pile of buildings; where, amidst great heaps of rubbish, you meet with noble fragments of sculpture, broken pillars and obelisks, and a magnificence in confusion. Virtue and wisdom are continually employed in clearing the ruins, removing these disorderly heaps, recovering the noble pieces that lie buried under them, and adjusting them as well as possible according to their ancient symmetry and beauty. A happy education, conversation with the Amest spirits, looking abroad into the works of nature, and observations upon mankind, are the great assistances to this necessary, and glorious work. But even among those who have never had the happiness of any of these advantages, there are sometimes such exertions of the greatness that is natural to the mind of man, as show capacities and abilities, which only want these accidental helps to fetch them out, and show them in a proper light. A plebeian soul is still the ruin of this glorious edifice, though incumbered with all its rubbish. This reflexion rose in ine from a letter which my servant dropped as he was dressing