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my occupations are to be, I know not; an hundred schemes have been formed and rejected. If it be in your power to suggest any thing I can steadily adhere to, and which will make me less contemptible in my own eyes, you will do good to one; but if you can exhibit in your MIRROR a preventive to the errors by which I have been undone, you may do good to thousands.
N° 68. SATURDAY, JANUARY 1, 1780.
I can make speeches in the senate too, Nacky.
OTWAY'S VENICE PRESERVED.
ONE morning, during my late visit to Mr. Umphraville, as that gentleman, his sister, and I, were sitting at breakfast, my old friend John came in, and delivered a sealed card to his master. After putting on his spectacles, and reading it with attention, Ay,' said Umphraville, this is one of your modern improvements. I remember the time when one neighbour could have gone to dine with another without any fuss or ceremony; but now, forsooth, you must announce your intention so many days before; and, by and by, I suppose, the intercourse between two country-gentlemen s will be carried on with the same stiffness of cere
'monial that prevails among your little German princes. Sister, you must prepare a feast on Thursday; Colonel Plum says he intends to have the ⚫ honour of waiting on us.' 'Brother,' replied Miss Umphraville, you know we don't deal in giving feasts; but if Colonel Plum can dine on a plain • dinner, without his foreign dishes and French 6 sauces, I can promise him a bit of good mutton, and hearty welcome.'
On the day appointed, Colonel Plum arrived, and, along with him, the gay, the sprightly Sir Bobby Button, who had posted down to the country to enjoy two days shooting at Colonel Plum's, where he arrived just as that gentleman was setting out for Mr. Umphraville's. Sir Bobby, always easy, and who, in every society, is the same, protested against the Colonel's putting off his visit, and declared he would be happy to attend him.
Though I had but little knowledge of Sir Bobby, I was perfectly acquainted with his character; but to Umphraville he was altogether unknown, and I promised myself some amusement from the contrast of two persons so opposite in sentiments, in manner, and in opinions. When he was presented, I observed Umphraville somewhat struck with his dress and figure; in both which, it must be owned, he resembled a monkey of a larger size. Sir Bobby, however, did not allow him much time to contemplate his external appearance; for he immediately, without any preparation or apology, began to attack the old gentleman on the bad taste of his house, and of every thing about it. • Why the ‹ devil,' said he, don't you enlarge your windows, and cut down those damned hedges and trees that spoil your lawn so miserably? If you would allow me, I would undertake, in a week's time, to
• give you a clever place. This is, for all the world, just such a chateau as my friend Lord
the finest fellow on earth)
⚫ succeeded to last year by the death of an uncle, a queer old prig, who had lived locked up in his castle for half a century:-he died damned rich though; and as soon as Lord knew for
certain that his breath was out, he and I went down to take possession; and in a strange condition, to be sure, we found things; but, in less than a month, we turned all topsy-turvy, and it is now in the way of being as fine a place as any in England.'-To this Umphraville made no answer; and indeed the Baronet was so fond of hearing himself talk, and chattered away at such a rate, that he neither seemed to desire nor to expect an answer.
On Miss Umphraville's coming in, he addressed himself to her; and after displaying his dress, and explaining some particulars with regard to it, he began to entertain her with an account of the galfantries in which he had been engaged the preceding winter in London. He talked as if no woman could resist his persuasive address and elegant figure-as if London were one great seraglio, and he himself the mighty master of it.-This topic he was so fond of, that he enlarged upon it after Miss Umphraville had retired, and used a grossiereté of expression in his descriptions, which, of late, has been very much affected by our fine gentlemen; but which shocked Umphraville, to whom it was altogether new, and who has ever entertained the highest veneration for the sex.
To put an end to this conversation, Colonel Plum, who seemed to be tired of it, as we were, mentioned the very singular situation this country was in when the combined fleets of France and Spain lay off Plymouth; and took occasion to observe, that, if
our fleet should be vanquished, if our wooden walls should fail us, he was afraid our country, thus laid open to the invasion of those hostile powers, could not easily resist their force. Umphraville entertained a very different opinion. He said that a naval force might perhaps be necessary to maintain and defend an extensive foreign commerce; but he did not see how it was at all connected with the internal defence of a state, or why a nation might not be respectable both at home and abroad, without any great fleet? Were the English,' said he, indebted to their • wooden walls for the victory of Cressy, of Poictiers, • and of Agincourt? Was it by a naval force that the great Gustavus was enabled to take so decisive a part in the affairs of Europe, and to render the power of Sweden so respectable? Is it by ships that the brave Swiss have defended their liberties for so many ages? What fleets did our own country possess, while she boldly maintained her independence for so many centuries, against the constant • and unremitted attacks of England? Did we possess a single ship of force, when the gallant Bruce • almost annihilated the power of England on the • field of Bannockburn? Believe me, gentlemen,' continued he, it is not an easy matter to subdue a free people fighting for their country. In such a cause every man would stand forth. Old as I am, I • would not hesitate a moment to draw my sword against our foes, should they ever be desperate enough to make an attempt on these islands.' You may, if you please,' said Sir Bobby, (who seemed 'to be awed for a time into silence, by the elevated • tone Umphraville had assumed,) but I'll be cursed
if I would. Damn it, what does it signify, if the • French were to conquer us? I don't think we could lose much by it; and, in some respects, we should gain. We should drink better Burgundy; and
we should have clothes fit for a gentleman to wear, • without running the risque of their being seized • by these damned locusts of custom-house officers.
I should not like, though, to lose my seat in the • House. If the French leave us that, they may come again when they please for me.'-Umphraville, who had not the most distant conception of his being in parliament, asked Sir Bobby gravely, what seat, what house he meant? Why, damn it, 6 our House, the House of Commons, to be sure; • —there is no living out of parliament now; it is the ton for a gentleman to be in it, and it is the pleasantest thing in the world. There are Jack Lord, and I are always together. At first, we used to tire confoundedly of their late nights and long debates; but now the minister is so obliging as to tell us • when he thinks the question will be put, and away we go to dinner, to the opera, or somewhere, and ⚫ contrive to return just in time to vote, or, as Lord calls it, to be in at the death.'
Hitherto Umphraville's countenance had discovered no emotion but that of contempt; now he could not conceal his astonishment and indignation. Recollecting himself, however, he asked the Baronet, if he never thought of his constituents, and of the purposes for which they sent him to parliament ?As to that,' said he, there is no man so attentive to his constituents as I am. I spend some months among them every summer, where I keep open house for the savages, and make love to their wives and daughters. Besides, I am always making presents to the women of some little fashionable trinket. The last time I came from London, I brought down a parcel of spring garters, that cost me thirty shillings a pair, by Gad; which I distributed among them, taking care, at the same