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No. 132. WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 1, 1711.
Qui, aut tempus quid postulet non videt, aut plura loquitur, aut se ostentat, aut eorum quibuscum est rationem non habet, is ineptus esse dicitur. TULL.
That man may be called impertinent, who considers not the circumstances of time, or engrosses the conversation, or makes himself the subject of his discourse, or pays no regard to the company he is in.
HAVING notified to my good friend Sir Roger that I should set out for London the next day, his horses were ready at the appointed hour in the evening; and, attended by one of his grooms, I arrived at the county-town at twilight, in order to be ready for the stage-coach the day following. As soon as we arrived at the inn, the servant who waited upon me inquired of the chamberlain in my hearing what company he had for the coach? The fellow answered, Mrs. Betty Arable the great fortune, and the widow her mother; a recruiting officer (who took a place because they were to go) young 'Squire Quickset, her cousin (that her mother wished her to be married to ;)
Ephraim the quaker, her guardian; and a gentle. man that had studied himself dumb from Sir Roger de Coverley's.' I observed by what, he said of myself, that according to his office he dealt much in intelligence; and doubted not but there was some foundation for his reports of the rest of the company, as well as for the whimsical account he gave of me. The next morning at day-break we were all called; and I who know my own natural shyness, and endeavour to be as little liable to be disputed with as possible, dressed imme diately, that I might make no one wait. The first preparation for our setting out was, that the captain's half pike was placed near the coachman, and a drum behind the coach. In the mean time the drummer, the captain's equipage, was very loud, that none of the captain's things should be placed so as to be spoiled;' upon which his cloak-bag was fixed in the seat of the coach; and the captain himself, according to a frequent, though invidious behaviour of military men, ordered his man to look sharp, that none but one of the ladies should have the place he had taken fronting the coach-box.
We were in some little time fixed in our seats, and sat with that dislike which people not too good-natured usually conceive of each other at first sight. The coach jumbled us insensibly in. to some sort of familiarity: and we had not mov. éd above two miles, when the widow asked the captain what success he had in his recruiting? The officer, with a frankness he believed very graceful, told her, 'that indeed he had but very little luck, and had suffered much by desertion, therefore should be glad to end his warfare in the service of her or her fair daughter. In a word,' continued he, 'I am a soldier, and to be plain is
my character: you see me, madam, young, sound, and impudent; take me yourself, widow, or give me to her, I will be wholly at your disposal. I am a soldier of fortune, ha!'-this was followed by a vain laugh of his own, and a deep silence of all the rest of the company. I had nothing left for it but to fall fast asleep, which I did with all speed.-'Come,' said he, resolve upon it, we will make a wedding at the next town: we will wake this pleasant companion who is fallen asleep, to be the brideman; and,' giving the quaker a clap on the knee, he concluded, This sly saint, who, I will warrant, understands what is what as well as you or I, widow, shall give the bride as father.' The quaker, who happened to be a man of smartness, answered, 'Friend, I take it in good part that thou hast given me the authority of a father over this comely and virtuous child; and I must assure thee, that if I have the giving her, I shall not bestow her on thee. Thy mirth, friend, savoureth of folly: thou art a person of a light mind, thy drum is a type of thee, it soundeth because it is empty. Verily, it is not from thy fullness, but thy emptiness that thou has spoken this day. Friend, friend, we have hired this coach in partnership with thee, to carry us to the great city; we cannot go any other way. This worthy mother must hear thee if thou wilt needs utter thy follies; we cannot help it, friend, I say if thou wilt, we must hear thee; but if thou wert a man of understanding, thou wouldst not take advantage of thy courageous countenance to abash us children of peace. Thou art, thou sayest, a soldier; give quarter to us, who cannot resist thee. Why didst thou fleer at our friend, who feigned himself asleep? He said nothing; but how dost thou know what he containeth? If thou
speakest improper things in the hearing of this virtuous young virgin, consider it as an outrage against a distressed person that cannot get from thee to speak indiscreetly what we are obliged to hear, by being hasped up with thee in this public vehicle, is in some degree assaulting on the high road.'
Here Ephraim paused, and the captain with a happy and uncommon impudence (which can be convicted and support itself at the same time) cries, Faith, friend, I thank thee; I should have been a little impertinent if thou hadst not reprimanded me. Come, thou art, I see, a smoky old fellow, and I will be very orderly the ensuing part of my journey. I was going to give myself airs, but, ladies, I beg pardon.'
The captain was so little out of humour, and our company was so far from being soured by this little ruffle, that Ephraim and he took a particular delight in being agreeable to each other for the future; and assumed their different provinces in the conduct of the company. Our reckonings, apartments, and accommodation, fell under Ephraim; and the captain looked to all disputes upon the road, as the good behaviour of our coachman, and the right we had of taking place, as going to London, of all vehicles coming from thence. The occurences we met with were ordinary, and very little happened which could entertain by the relation of them: but when I considered the company we were in, I took it for no small good-fortune, that the whole journey was not spent in impertinences, which to one part of us might be an entertainment, to the other a suffering. What therefore Ephraim said when we were almost arrived at London, had to me an air not only of good understanding, but good breed
ing. Upon the young lady's expressing her satisfaction in the journey, and declaring how delightful it had been to her, Ephraim declared himself as follows: There is no ordinary part of human life, which expresseth so much a good mind, and a right inward man, as his behaviour upon meeting with strangers, especially such as may seem the most unsuitable companions to him: such a man, when he falleth in the way with persons of simplicity and innocence, however knowing he may be in the ways of men, will not vaunt himself thereof, but will the rather hide his superiority to them, that he may not be painful unto them. My good friend,' continued he, turning to the officer, thee and I are to part by and by, and peradventure we may never meet again: but be advised by a plain man; modes and apparel are but trifles to the real man, therefore do not think such a man as thyself terrible for thy garb, nor such a one as me contemptible for mine. When two such as thee and I meet, with affections as we ought to have towards each other, thou shouldst rejoice to see my peaceable demeanor, and I should be glad to see thy strength and ability to protect me in it.
No. 133. THURSDAY, AUGUST 2, 1711.
Quis desiderio sit pudor, aut modus
Tam chari capitis?
HOR. 1 Od. xxiv. 1.
Such was his worth, our loss is such,
We cannot love too well, or grieve too much.
THERE is a sort of delight, which is alternately mixed with terror and sorrow, in the contempla