defty, and affift his patron against the importunity of other pretenders, by a proper affurance in his own vindication. He fays it is a civil cowardice to be backward in afferting what you ought to expect, as it is a military fear to be flow in attacking when it is your duty. With this candour does the Gentleman speak of himself and others. The fame franknefs runs through. all his converfation. The military part of his life has furnished him with many adventures, in the relation of which he is very agreeable to the company; for he is never overbearing, though accustomed to command men in the utmost degree below him; nor ever too obfequious, from an habit of obeying men highly above him.

He can

But that our fociety may not appear a fet of humaurifts, unacquainted with the gallantries and pleasures of the age, we have among us the gallant Will Honeycomb; a Gentleman who according to his years fhould be in the decline of his life; but having ever been very careful of his perfon, and always had a very eafy fortune, time has made but a very little impreffion, either by wrinkles on his forehead, or traces in his brain. His perfon is well turned, of a good height. He is very ready at that fort of difcourfe with which men ufually entertain women. He has all his life dreffed very well, and remembers habits as others do men. finile when one fpeaks to him, and laughs eafily. He knows the history of every mode, and can inform you from which of the French king's wenches our wives and daughters had this manner of curling their hair, that way of placing their hoods; whofe frailty was covered by fuch a fort of petticoat, and whofe vanity to fhew her foot made that part of the dress so short in fuch a year. In a word, all his converfation and knowledge have been in the female world. As other men of his age will take notice to you what fuch a minifter faid upon fuch and fuch an occafion; he will tell when the Duke of Monmouth danced at court, you, fuch a woman was then fmitten; another was taken with him at the head of his troop in the Park. In all these important relations, he has ever about the fame time received a kind glance or a blow of a fan from fome



[ocr errors]

celebrated beauty, mother of the prefent Lord fuch-aone. If you fpeak of a young commoner that faid a lively thing in the houfe, he starts up, "He has good "blood in his veins; Tom Mirabell begot him; the 66 rogue cheated me in that affair, that young fellow's "mother ufed me more like a dog, than any woman "I ever made advances to." This way of talking of his very much enlivens the converfation among us of a more fedate turn; and I find there is not one of the company, but myfelf, who rarely fpeak at all, but fpeaks of him as of that fort of man who is ufually called a well-bred fine Gentleman. To conclude his character, where women are not concerned, he is an honest worthy man.

I cannot tell whether I am to account him, whom I am next to speak of, as one of our company; for he vifits us but feldom, but, when he does, it adds to every man elfe a new enjoyment of himself. He is a clergyman, a very philofophick man, of general learning, great fanctity of life, and the most exact good-breeding. He has the misfortune to be of a very weak conftitution, and confequently cannot accept of fuch cares and bufinefs as preferments in his function would oblige him to; he is therefore among divines what a chamber-counfellor is among lawyers. The probity of his mind, and the integrity of his life, create him followers; as being eloquent or loud advances others. He feldom introduces the fubject he fpeaks upon; but we are fo far gone in years, that he obferves when he is among us, an earneftness to have him fall on fome divine topic, which he always treats with much authority, as one who has no interefts in this world, as one who is haftening to the object of all his wishes, and conceives hope from his decays and infirmities. These are my ordinary companions.



N° 3•

Saturday, March



Et quoi quifque ferè ftudio devinctus adhæret,
Aut quibus in rebus multùm jumus antè morati,
Atque in qua ratione fuit contenta magis mens,
In fomnis eadem plerumque videmur obire.

LUCR. 1. 4. V. 959
What ftudies pleafe, what most delight,
And fill mens thoughts, they dream them o'er at night.

N one of my late rambles, or rather fpeculations, I looked into the great hall where the bank is kept, and was not a little pleafed to fee the directors, fecretaries, and clerks, with all the other members of that wealthy corporation, ranged in their feveral ftations, according to the parts they act in that juft and regular œconomy. This revived in my memory the many dif courfes which I had both read and heard concerning the decay of public credit, with the methods of reftoring it, and which, in my opinion, have always been defective, because they have always been made with an eye to feparate interefts, and party principles.

The thoughts of the day gave my mind employment for the whole night, fo that I fell infenfibly into a kind of methodical dream, which difpofed all my contempla tions into a vifion or allegory, or what elfe the reader fhall please to call it.

Methought I returned to the great hall, where I had been the morning before, but, to my furprife, inftead of the company that I left there, I faw, towards the

opper end of the hall, a beautiful virgin, feated

a throne of gold. Her name (as they told me) was Public Credit. The walls, instead of being adorned with pictures and maps, were hung with many acts of parliament written in golden letters. At the upper end of the hall was the Magna Charta, with the


act of uniformity on the right hand, and the act of toleration on the left. At the lower end of the hall was the act of Settlement, which was placed füll in the eye of the virgin that fat upon the throne. Both the fides of the hall were covered with fuch acts of parliament as had been made for the establishment of public funds. The Lady feemed to fet an unfpeakable value upon these feveral pieces of furniture, infomuch that the often refreshed her eye with them, and often fimiled with a fecret pleasure as the looked upon them; but, at the fame time, fhewed a very particular meafinefs, if the faw any thing approaching that might hurt them. She appeared indeed infinitely timorous in all her behaviour: and, whether it was from the delicacy of her conftitution, or that fhe was troubled with vapours, as I was afterwards told by one who I found was none of her well-wishers, fhe changed colour, and startled at every thing fhe heard. She was likewife (as I afterwards found) a greater valetudinasian than any had ever met with even in her own fex, and subject to fuch momentary confumptions, that, in the twinkling of an eye, he would fall away from the most florid complexion, and the most healthful ftate of body, and wither into a skeleton. Her recoveries were often as fudden as her decays, infomuch that he would revive in a moment out of a wasting distemper into a habit of the highest health and vigour.

I had very foon an opportunity of obferving these quick turns and changes in her conftitution. There fat at her feet a couple of fecretaries, who received every hour letters from all parts of the world, which the one or the other of them was perpetually reading to her; and, according to the news the heard, to which fhe was exceedingly attentive, the changed colour, and difcovered many fymptoms of health or fickness.

Behind the throne was a prodigious heap of bags of money, which were piled upon one another fo high that they touched the cieling. The floor, on her right hand and on her left, was covered with vast sums of gold that rofe up in pyramids on either fide of her but this I did not fo much wonder at, when I heard, upon inquiry, that he had the fame virtue in her touch,

which the poets tell us a Lydian king was formerly poffeffed of; and that fhe could convert whatever the pleased into that precious metal.

After a little dizziness, and confused hurry of thought, which a man often meets with in a dream, methought the hall was alarmed, the doors flew open, and there entered half a dozen of the most hideous phantoms that I had ever feen, even in a dream, before that time. They came in two by two, though matched in the most diffociable manner, and mingled together in a kind of dance. It would be tedious to defcribe their habits and perfons; for which reafon, I fhall only inform my reader that the first couple were Tyranny and Anarchy, the fecond were Bigotry and Atheism, the third, the Genius of a Commonwealth, and a young man of about twenty-two years of age, whofe name I could not learn. He had a fword in his right hand, which in the dance he often brandished at the Act of Settlement; and a citizen, who stood by me, whispered in my ear, that he faw a fponge in his left hand. The dance of fo many jar ring natures put me in mind of the fun, moon, and earth, in the Rehearsal, that danced together for no other end but to eclipfe one another.

The Reader will eafily fuppofe, by what has been before faid, that the Lady on the throne would have been almost frighted to distraction, had the feen but any one of thefe fpectres; what then must have been her condition when the faw them all in a body? She fainted and died away at the fight;

Et neque jam color eft mifto candore rubori;
Nec vigor, & vires, & quæ modò vifa placebant;
Ovid. Met. 1. 3. v. 491.

Nec corpus remanet

Her fpirits faint,

Her blooming cheeks affume a palid teint,
And scarce her form remains.

There was as great a change in the hill of moneybags, and the heaps of money, the former fhrinking and falling into fo many empty bags, that I now found not above a tenth part of them had been filled with money. The reft that took up the fame space, and made


« VorigeDoorgaan »