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will; this homely thing in the middle had both their portions added to her own, and was stolen by a neighbouring gentleman, a man of stratagem and resolution, for he poisoned three mastiffs to come at her, and knocked down two deer-stealers in carrying her off. Misfortunes happen in all families. The theft of this romp, and so much money, was no great matter to our estate. But the next heir that possessed it was this soft gentleman, whom you see there. Observe the small buttons, the little boots, the laces, the slashes about his clothes, and above all the posture he is drawn in (which to be sure was his own choosing); you see he sits with one hand on a desk writing, and looking as it were another way, like an easy writer, or a sonneteer. He was one of those that had too much wit to know how to live in the world; he was a man of no justice, but great good-manners; he ruined every body that had any thing to do with him, but never said a rude thing in his life; the most indolent person in the world, he would sign a deed that passed away half his estate with his gloves on, but would not put on his hat before a lady if it were to save his country. He is said to be the first that made love by squeezing the hand. He left the estate with ten thousand pounds debt upon it; but however, by all hands I have been informed that he was every way the finest gentleman in the world. That debt lay heavy on our house for one generation; but it was retrieved by a gift from that honest man you see there, a citizen of our name, but nothing at all akin to uş. I know Sir Andrew Freeport has said behind my back, that this man was descended from one of the ten children of the maid of honour I shewed you above ; but it was never made out. We winked at the thing indeed, because money was wanting at that time.?
Here I saw my friend a little embarrassed, and turned my face to the next portraiture.
Sir Roger went on with his account of the gallery in the following manner : « This man (pointing to
him I looked at) I take to be the honour of our house. Sir Humphrey de Coverley; he was in his
. dealings as punctual as a tradesman, and as generous as a gentleman. He would have thought himself as much undone by breaking his word, as if it were to be followed by bankruptcy. He served his country as knight of this shire to his dying day. He found it no easy matter to maintain an integrity in his words and actions, even in things that regarda ed the offices which were incumbent upon him, in the care of his own affairs and relations of life, and therefore dreaded (though he had great talents) to go into employments of state, where he must be exposed to the spares of ambition. Innocence of life and great ability were the distinguishing parts of his character; the latter, he had often observed, had led to the destruction of the former, and he used frequently to lament that great and good had not the same signification. He was an excellent husbandman, but had resolved not to exceed such a degree of wealth; all above it he bestowed in secret bounties many years after the sum he aimed at for his own use was attained. Yet he did not slacken his industry, but to a decent old age spent the life and fortune, which was superfluous to himself, in the service of his friends and neighbours.'
Here we were called to dinner, and Sir Roger ended the discourse of this gentleman, by telling me, as we followed the servant, that this his ancestor was a brave man, and narrowly escaped being kil. led in the civil wars ; ' For,' said he, he was sent out of the field upon a private message, the day before the battle of Worcester.'. The whim of narrowly escaping by having been within a day of danger, with other matters above mentioned, mix. ed, with good sense, left me at a loss whether I was more delighted with my friend's wisdom or simplicity.
N 110. FRIDAY, JULY 6, 1711.
Horror ubique animos, simul ipsa silentia tertent.
VIRG. Æn. ji 755? All things are full of horror and affright, And dreadful ev'n the silence of the night.
At a little distance from Sir Roger's house, among the ruins of an old abbey, there is a long walk of aged elms; which are shot up so very high, that when one passes under them, the rooks and crows that rest upon the tops of them seem to be cawing in another region. I am very much delighted with this sort of noise, which I consider as a kind of vatural prayer to that Being who supplies the wants of his whole creation, and who, in the beautiful language of the Psalms*, feedeth the young ravens that call upon him. I like this retirement the better, because of an ill report it lies under of being haunted; for which reason (as I have been told in the family) no living creature ever walks in it besides the chaplain. My good friend the butler desired me with a very grave face not to venture myself in it after sun-set, for that one of the footmen had been almost frightened out of his wits by a spirit that appeared to him in the shape of a black horse without a head ; to which he added, that about a month ago, one of the maids coming home late that way with a pail of milk upon her head, heard such a rustling among the bushes that she let it fall.
I was taking a walk in this place last night between the hours of nine and ten, and could not but fancy it one of the most proper scenes in the world for a ghost to appear in. The ruins of the abbey are scattered up and down on every side, and half covered with ivy and elder-bushes, the harbours of several solitary birds which seldom make their
an† Psalm cxlvii. 9,
pearance till the dusk of the evening. The place was formerly a church-yard, and has still several marks in it of graves and burying-places. There is such an echo among the old ruins and vaults, that if you stamp but a little louder than ordinary, you hear the sound repeated. At the same time the walk of elins, with the croaking of the ravens which from time to time are heard from the tops of them, looks exceeding solemn and venerable. These objects naturally raise seriousness and attention; and when night beightens the awfulness of
1 the place, and pours out her supernumerary horrors upon every thing in it, I do not at all wonder that weak minds fill it with spectres and appari. tions.
Mr. Locke, in his chapter of the, Association of Ideas, has very curious remarks to shew how by the prejudice of education one idea often introduces into the mind a whole set that bear no resemblance to one another in the nature of things. Among several examples of this kind, he produces the following instance. The ideas of goblins and sprights have really no more to do with darkness than light: yet let but a foolish maid inculcate these often on the mind of a child, and raise them there together, pos. sibly he shall never be able to separate them again so long as he lives; but darkness shall ever after-, wards bring with it those frightful ideas, and they shall be so joined, that he can no more bear the one than the other*. '
As I was walking in this solitude, where the dusk of the evening conspired with so many other occasions of terror, I observed a cow grazing not far from me, which an imagination that was apt to startle might easily have construed into a black horse without a head : and I dare say the poor footman lost his wits upon some such trivial occasion,
My friend Sir Roger has told me with a great deal of mirth, that at his first coming to his estate
* Essay oy Human Understanding, b. ij. ch. 33. sect. 10,
he found three parts of his house altogether use. less; that the best room in it had the reputation of being haunted, and by that means was locked up; that noises had been heard in his long gallery, só that he could not get a servant to enter it after eight o'clock at night; that the door of one of his chambers was nailed up, because there went a story in the family that a butler had formerly hanged himself in it; and that his mother, who lived to a great age, had shut up half the rooms in the house, in which either her husband, a son, or a daughter had died. The knight seeing his habitation reduced to so small a compass, and himself in a manner shut out of his owp house, upon the death of his mother, ordered all the apartments to be flung open, and exorcised by his chaplain, who lay in every room one after another, and by that means dissipated the fears which had so long reigned in the family.
I should not thus have been particular upon these ridiculous horrors, did not I find them so very much prevail in all parts of the country. At the same time I think a person who is thus terrified with the imagination of ghosts and spectres much more reasonable than one who, contrary to the reports of all historians sacred and profane, ancient and modern, and to the traditions of all nations, thinks the appearance of spirits fabulous and groundless. Could not I give myself up to this general testimony of mankind, I should to the relations of particular persons who are now living, and whom I cannot distrust in other matters of fact. I might here add, that not only the historians, to whom we may join the poets, but likewise the philosophers of antiquity, have favoured this opinion. Lucretius*, though by the course of his philosophy he was obliged to maintain that the soul did not exist separate from the body, makes no doubt of the reality of apparitions, and that men have often appeared after their death. This I think very remarkable : he was so
* Book is, rer. 34, &c.