dier and more capable to please and oblige all who know him. When he is in town, he lives in Sohofquare. It is faid, he keeps himself a bachelor, by reafon he was croffed in love by a perverse beautiful widow of the next county to him. Before this difappointment, Sir ROGER was what you call a fine gentleman, had often fupped with my lord Rochester and Sir George Etherege, fought a duel upon his first coming to town, and kicked Bully Dawson in a public coffee-houfe, for calling him youngster. But, being ill ufed by the above mentioned widow, he was very ferious for a year and a half; and though, his temper being naturally jovial, he at laft got over it, he grew careless of himself, and never dreffed afterwards. He continues to wear a coat and doublet of the fame cut, that were in fashion at the time of his repulfe, which, in his merry humours, he tells us, has been in and out twelve times fince he firft wore it. It is faid, Sir ROGER grew humble in his defires after he had forgot this cruel beauty, infomuch that it is reported he has frequently offended in point of chastity with beggars and gipfies; but this is looked upon by his friends, rather as matter of rallery than truth. He is now in his fifty fixth year, chearful, gay, and hearty; keeps a good houfe both in town and country; a great lover of mankind; but there is fuch a mirthful caft in his behaviour, that he is rather beloved than efteemed. His tenants grow rich, his fervants look fatisfied, all the young women profefs love to him, and the young men are glad of his company: when he comes into a houfe, he calls the fervants by their names, and talks all the way up ftairs to a vifit. I must not omit, that Sir ROGER is a juftice of the quorum; that he fills the chair at à quarter-feffion with great abilities, and, three months ago, gained univerfal applaufe, by explaining a paffage in the game-act.

THE gentleman next in efteem and authority among us, is another bachelor, who is a member of the Innertemple; a man of great probity, wit, and underftanding; but he has chofen his place of refidence rather to obey the direction of an old humourfome father, than in purfuit of his own inclinations. He was placed there to ftudy the laws of the land, and is the most learned


of any of the house in thofe of the ftage. Ariftotle and Longinus are much better understood by him than Littleton or Coke. The father fends up every poft queftions relating to marriage-articles, leafes, and te-nures in the neighbourhood; all which queftions he agrees with an attorney to anfwer and take care of in the lump. He is ftudying the paffions themfelves, when he fhould be inquiring into the debates among men which arife from them. He knows the argument of each of the orations of Demofthenes and Tully, but not one cafe in the reports of our own courts. No one ever took him for a fool, but none, except his inti-mate friends, know he has a great deal of wit. This turn makes him at once both difinterested and agreeable; as few of his thoughts are drawn from business, they are most of them fit for converfation. His taste of

books is a little too juft for the age he lives in; he has read all, but approves of very few. His familiarity with the customs, manners, actions, and writings, of the antients, makes him a very delicate obferver of what occurs to him in the prefent world. He is an excellent critic, and the time of the play is his hour of bufinefs; exactly at five he paffes through New-inn, croffes through Ruffel-court, and takes a turn at Wills till the play begins; he has his fhoes rubbed, and his periwig powdered at the barber's as you go into the Rofe. It is for the good of the audience when he is at a play; for the actors have an ambition to please him.

THE perfon of next confideration is Sir ANDREW FREEPORT, a merchant of great eminence in the city. of London. A perfon of indefatigable industry, ftrong reafon, and great experience. His notions of trade are noble and generous, and (as every rich man has usually fome fly way of jefting, which would make no great figure were he not a rich man) he calls the fea the British Common. He is acquainted with commerce in all its parts, and will tell you that it is a ftupid and barbarous way to extend dominion by arms;- for true power is to be got by arts and induftry. He will often argue, that if this part of our trade were well cultivated, we should gain from one nation; and if another, from another. I have heard him prove, that diligence makes

B 2

makes more lasting acquifitions than valour, and that floth has ruined more nations than the fword. He abounds in feveral frugal maxims, amongst which the greatest favourite is, A penny faved is a penny got.' A general trader of good fenfe is pleafanter company than a general fcholar; and Sir ANDREW having a natural unaffected eloquence, the perfpicuity of his difcourfe gives the fame pleasure that wit would in another man. He has made his fortunes himself; and fays that England may be richer than other kingdoms, by as plain methods as he himself is richer than other men ; though at the fame time I can fay this of him, that there is not a point in the compass but blows home a fhip in which he is an owner.

NEXT to Sir ANDREW in the club-room fits captain SENTRY, a gentleman of great courage, good underftanding, but invincible modefty. He is one of thofe that deferve very well, but are very aukward at putting their talents within the obfervation of fuch as fhould take notice of them. He was fome years a captain, and behaved himself with great gallantry in feveral engagements, and at several fieges; but, having a small eftate of his own, and being next heir to Sir ROGER, he has quitted a way of life, in which no man can rise fuitably to his merit, who is not fomething of a courtier, as well as a foldier. I have heard him often lament, that in a profeffion where merit is placed in fo confpicuous a view, impudence fhould get the better of modesty. When he has talked to this purpose, I never heard him make a four expreffion, but frankly confefs that he left the world, because he was not fit for it. A ftrict honefty and an even regular behaviour, are in themselves obftacles to him that must prefs through crouds, who endeavour at the fame end with himself, the favour of a commander. He will, however, in his way of talk, excufe generals, for not difpofing according to mens defert, or inquiring into it: for, fays he, that great man who has a mind to help me, has as many to break through to come at me, as I have to come at him: therefore, he will conclude, that the man who would make a figure, especially in a military way, muft get over all falfe modefty, and affift his patron against


the importunity of other pretenders, by a proper af furance 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 candor does the gentleman fpeak of himfelf 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 over-bearing, though accustomed to command men in the utmoft degree below him; nor ever too obfequious, from an habit of obeying men highly above him.

BUT, that our fociety may not appear a fet of humourifts, unacquainted with the gallantries and pleafures 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. He can fimile when one fpeaks to him, and laughs eafily. He knows the hiftory 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 drefs fo fhort in fuch a year. In a word, all his conversation 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 you, when the Duke of Monmouth danced at court, 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 celebrated beauty, mother of the

B 3


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

prefent lord fuch-a-one. If you fpeak of a young commoner that faid a lively thing in the house, he starts up, 'He has good blood in his veins, Tom Mirabell begot him, the 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 myself, who rarely speak at all, but speaks 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 philofophic 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 chambercounsellor 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 speaks upon; but we are so far gone in years, that he obferves when he is among us, an earnestness 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.



« VorigeDoorgaan »