« VorigeDoorgaan »
so many partridges; in short, he is a very sensible man; shoots flying; and has been several times foreman of the petty-jury.
The other that rides with him is Tom Touchy, a fellow famous for taking the law of everybody. There is not one in the town where he lives that he has not sued at a quartersessions. The rogue had once the impudence to go to law with the Widow. His head is full of costs, damages, and ejectments he plagued a couple of honest gentlemen so long 10 for a trespass in breaking one of his hedges, till he was forced to sell the ground it enclosed to defray the charges of the prosecution. His father left him fourscore pounds a year; but he has cast and been cast so often, that he is not now worth thirty. I suppose he is going upon the old business of the willow-tree.
As Sir Roger was giving me this account of Tom Touchy, Will. Wimble and his two companions stopped short till we came up to them. After having paid their respects to Sir Roger, Will. told him that Mr. Touchy and he must appeal to 20 him upon a dispute that arose between them. Will., it seems, had been giving his fellow-travellers an account of his angling one day in such a hole; when Tom Touchy, instead of hearing out his story, told him, that Mr. such an one, if he pleased, might take the law of him for fishing in that part of the river. My friend Sir Roger heard them both, upon a round trot, and after having paused some time, told them, with an air of a man who would not give his judgment rashly, that much might be said on both sides. They were neither of them dissatisfied with the knight's determination, because 30 neither of them found himself in the wrong by it: upon which we made the best of our way to the assizes.
The court was sat before Sir Roger came, but notwithstanding all the justices had taken their places upon the bench, they made room for the old knight at the head of them; who, for his reputation in the country, took occasion to whisper in the judge's ear that he was glad his lordship
had met with so much good weather in his circuit. I was listening to the proceedings of the court with much attention, and infinitely pleased with that great appearance of solemnity which so properly accompanied such a public administration of our laws; when, after about an hour's sitting, I observed, to my great surprise, in the midst of a trial, that my friend Sir Roger was getting up to speak. I was in some pain for him, till I found he had acquitted himself of two or three sentences, with a look of much business and great intrepidity.
Upon his first rising the court was hushed, and a general whisper ran among the country people that Sir Roger was up. The speech he made was so little to the purpose, that I shall not trouble my readers with an account of it; and I believe was not so much designed by the knight himself to inform the court, as to give him a figure in my eye, and keep up his credit in the country.
I was highly delighted, when the court rose, to see the gentlemen of the country gathering about my old friend, and striving who should compliment him most; at the same time 20 that the ordinary people gazed upon him at a distance, not a little admiring his courage, that was not afraid to speak to the judge.
In our return home we met with a very odd accident; which I cannot forbear relating, because it shows how desirous all who know Sir Roger are of giving him marks of their esteem. When we were arrived upon the verge of his estate, we stopped at a little inn to rest ourselves and our horses. The man of the house had, it seems, been formerly a servant in the knight's family; and to do honour to his old master, 30 had some time since, unknown to Sir Roger, put him up in a sign-post before the door; so that The Knight's Head had hung out upon the road about a week before he himself knew anything of the matter. As soon as Sir Roger was acquainted with it, finding that his servant's indiscretion proceeded wholly from affection and good-will, he only told
him that he had made him too high a compliment: and when the fellow seemed to think that could hardly be, added with a more decisive look, that it was too great an honour for any man under a duke; but told him at the same time, that it might be altered with a very few touches, and that he himself would be at the charge of it. Accordingly they got a painter, by the knight's directions, to add a pair of whiskers to the face, and by a little aggravation of the features to change it into the Saracen's Head. I should not have known 10 this story had not the inn-keeper, upon Sir Roger's alighting, told him in my hearing that his Honour's head was brought back last night, with the alterations that he had ordered to be made in it. Upon this my friend, with his usual cheerfulness, related the particulars above-mentioned, and ordered the head to be brought into the room. I could not forbear discovering greater expressions of mirth than ordinary upon the appearance of this monstrous face, under which, notwithstanding it was made to frown and stare in the most extraordinary manner, I could still discover a distant resemblance 20 of my old friend. Sir Roger, upon seeing me laugh, desired me to tell him truly if I thought it possible for people to know him in that disguise. I at first kept my usual silence; but upon the knight's conjuring me to tell him whether it was not still more like himself than a Saracen, I composed my countenance in the best manner I could, and replied, "That much might be said on both sides."
These several adventures, with the knight's behaviour in them, gave me as pleasant a day as ever I met with in any of my travels.
WOMEN in their nature are much more gay and joyous than men; whether it be that their blood is more refined, their fibres more delicate, and their animal spirits more light and volatile; or whether, as some have imagined, there may not be a kind of sex in the very soul, I shall not pretend to determine. As vivacity is the gift of women, gravity is that of men. They should each of them therefore keep a watch upon the particular bias which nature has fixed in their mind, 10 that it may not draw too much, and lead them out of the paths of reason. This will certainly happen, if the one in every word and action affects the character of being rigid and severe, and the other of being brisk and airy. Men should beware of being captivated by a kind of savage philosophy, women by a thoughtless gallantry. Where these precautions are not observed, the man often degenerates into a cynic, the woman into a coquette`; the man grows sullen and morose, the woman impertinent and fantastical.
By what I have said, we may conclude, men and women 20 were made as counterparts to one another, that the pains and anxieties of the husband might be relieved by the sprightliness and good humour of the wife. When these are rightly tempered, care and cheerfulness go hand in hand; and the family, like a ship that is duly trimmed, wants neither sail nor ballast.
Natural historians observe (for whilst I am in the country I must fetch my allusions from thence) that only the male birds have voices; that their songs begin a little before breeding-time, and end a little after; that whilst the hen is 30 covering her eggs, the male generally takes his stand upon a
neighbouring bough within her hearing; and by that means amuses and diverts her with his songs during the whole time of her sitting.
This contract among birds lasts no longer than till a brood of young ones arises from it; so that in the feathered kind, the cares and fatigues of the married state, if I may so call it, lie principally upon the female. On the contrary, as in our species the man and the woman are joined together for life, and the main burden rests upon the former, nature has 10 given all the little arts of soothing and blandishment to the female, that she may cheer and animate her companion in a constant and assiduous application to the making a provision for his family and the educating of their common children. This however is not to be taken so strictly as if the same duties were not often reciprocal, and incumbent on both parties; but only to set forth what seems to have been the general intention of nature, in the different inclinations and endowments which are bestowed on the different sexes.
But whatever was the reason that man and woman were 20 made with this variety of temper, if we observe the conduct of the fair sex, we find that they choose rather to associate themselves with a person who resembles them in that light and volatile humour which is natural to them, than to such as are qualified to moderate and counter-balance it. It has been an old complaint, that the coxcomb carries it with them before the man of sense. When we see a fellow loud and talkative, full of insipid life and laughter, we may venture to pronounce him a female favourite: noise and flutter are such accomplishments as they cannot withstand. To be short, the 30 passion of an ordinary woman for a man is nothing else but self-love diverted upon another object: she would have the lover a woman in everything but the sex. I do not know a finer piece of satire on this part of womankind, than those lines of Mr. Dryden,
Our thoughtless sex is caught by outward form