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country by night, that he might the better signalize himself in their destruction the next day. His hunting horses were the finest and best managed in all these parts. His tenants are still full of the praises of a grey stone-horse that unhappily staked himself several years since, and was buried with great solemnity in the orchard.
Sir Roger being at present too old for fox-hunting. o keep himself in action, has disposed of his beagles and got a pack of stop-hounds. What these want in speed, he endeavours to make amends for by the deepness of their mouths and the variety of their notes, which are suited in such a manner to each other, that the whole cry makes up a complete concert. He is so nice in this particular, that a gentleman having made him a present of a very fine hound the other day, the knight returned it by the servant with a great many expressions of civility; but desired him to tell his master that the dog he had sent was indeed a most excellent bass, but that at present he only wanted a counter-tenor. Could I believe my friend had ever read Shakspeare, I should certainly conclude he had taken the hint from Theseus in the Midsummer Night's Dream:
My hounds are bred out of the Spartan kind, So flu'd, so sanded;† and their heads are hung With ears that sweep away the morning dew. Crook'd-kneed and dew-lap'd like Thessalian bulls, Slow in pursuit, but match'd in mouths like bells, Each under each. A cry more tuneable Was never halloo'd to, nor cheer'd with horn. Sir Roger is so keen at this sport, that he has been out almost every day since I came down; and upon the chaplain's offering to lend me his easy pad, I was prevailed on yesterday morning to make one of the company. I was extremely pleased, as we rid along, to observe the general benevolence of all the neighbourhood towards my friend. The farmers' sons thought themselves happy if they could open a gate for the good old knight as he passed by; which he generally requited with a nod or a smile, and a kind inquiry after their fathers or uncles.
After we had rid about a mile from home, we came upon a large heath, and the sportsmen began to beat. They had done so for some time, when, as I was at a little distance from the rest of the company, I saw a hare pop out from a small furze-brake almost under my horse's feet. I marked the way she took, which I endeavoured to make the company sensible of by extending my arm; but to no purpose, till Sir Roger, who knows that none of my extraordinary motions are insignificant, rode up to me and asked me if puss was gone that way? Upon my answering yes, he immediately called in the dogs, and put them upon the scent. As they were going off, I heard one of the country fellows muttering to his companion, "that 'twas a wonder they had not lost all their sport, for want of the silent gentleman's crying, Stole away."
This, with my averson to leaping hedges, made me withdraw to a rising ground, from whence I could have the pleasure of the whole chase, without the fatigue of keeping in with the hounds. The hare immediately threw them above a mile behind her; but I was pleased to find that, instead of running straight forwards, or, in hunter's language, "flying the country," as I was afraid she might have done, she wheeled about, and described a sort of circle round the hill where I had taken my station, in such a manner as gave me a very distinct view of the sport. I could see her first pass by, and the dogs
• Mouthed, chapped. ↑ Marked with small spots.
some time afterward unravelling the whole track she
As we were returning home, I remembered that Monsieur Paschal, in his most excellent discourse on the Misery of Man, tells us, that all our endea vours after greatness proceed from nothing but a desire of being surrounded by a multitude of persons and affairs that may hinder us from looking into ourselves, which is a view we cannot bear. He afterwards goes on to shew that our love of sports comes from the same reason, and is particularly severe upon hunting. "What," says he, "unless it be to drown thought, can make them throw away so much time and pains upon a silly animal, which they might buy cheaper in the market?" The foregoing reflec tion is certainly just, when a man suffers his whole mind to be drawn into his sports, and altogether loses himself in the woods; but does not affect those who propose a far more laudable end from this exercise, I mean the preservation of health, and keeping all the organs of the soul in a condition to execute her orders. Had that incomparable person whom I last quoted been a little more indulgent to himself in this point, the world might probably have en
joyed him much longer; whereas, through too great an application to his studies in his youth, he contracted that ill habit of body, which, after a tedious sickness, carried him off in the fortieth year of his age; and the whole history we have of his life till that time, is but one continued account of the behaviour of a noble soul struggling under innumerable pains and distempers.
For my own part, I intend to hunt twice a week during my stay with Sir Roger; and shall prescribe the moderate use of this exercise to all my country friends, as the best kind of physic for mending a bad constitution, and preserving a good one.
I cannot do this better, than in the following lines out of Mr. Dryden :
The first physicians by debauch were made;
By chase our long-liv'd fathers earn'd their food;
No. 117.] SATURDAY, JULY 14, 1711. - Ipsi sibi somnia fingunt.-VIRO. Ecl. viii. 108. With voluntary dreams they cheat their minds. THERE are some opinions in which a man should stand neuter, without engaging his assent to one side or the other. Such a hovering faith as this, which refuses to settle upon his determination, is absolutely necessary in a mind that is careful to avoid errors and prepossessions. When the arguments press equally on both sides in matters that are indifferent to us, the safest method is to give up ourselves to
It is with this temper of mind that I consider the subject of witchcraft. When I hear the relations that are made from all parts of the world, not only from Norway and Lapland, from the East and West Indies, but from every particular nation in Europe, I cannot forbear thinking that there is such an intercourse and commerce with evil spirits, as that which we express by the name of witchcraft. But when I consider that the ignorant and credulous parts of the world abound most in these relations, and the persons among us, who are supposed to engage in such an infernal commerce, are people of a weak understanding and crazed imagination-and at the same time reflect upon the many impostures and delusions of this nature that have been detected in all ages, I endeavour to suspend my belief till I hear more certain accounts than any which have yet come to my knowledge. In short, when I consider the question, whether there are such persons in the world as those we call witches, my mind is divided between two opposite opinions, or rather (to speak my thoughts freely) I believe in general that there is, and has been, such a thing as witchcraft; but at the same time can give no credit to any particular instance of it.
I am engaged in this speculation, by some occurrences that I met with yesterday, which I shall give my reader an account of at large. As I was walking with my friend Sir Roger by the side of one of his woods, an old woman applied herself to me for my charity. Her dress and figure put me in mind of the following description in Otway:
In a close lane, as I pursu'd my journey,
Her eyes with scalding rheum were gall'd and red;
So there was nothing of a piece about her. Her lower weeds were all o'er coarsely patch'd With different colour'd rags, black, red, white, yellow, And seem'd to speak variety of wretchedness, As I was musing on this description, and comparing it with the object before me, the knight told me, that this very old woman had the reputation of a witch all over the country; that her lips were observed to be always in motion; and that there was not a switch about her house which her neighbours did not believe had carried her several hundreds of miles. If she chanced to stumble, they always found sticks or straws that lay in the figure of a cross before her. If she made any mistake at church, and cried amen in a wrong place, they never failed to conclude that she was saying her prayers backwards. There was not a maid in the parish that would take a pin of her, though she should offer a bag of money with it. She goes by the name of Moll White, and has made the country ring with several imaginary exploits which are palmed upon her. If the dairy-maid does not make her butter come so soon as she would have it, Moll White is at the bottom of the churn. If a horse sweats in the stable, Moll White has been upon his back. If a hare makes an unexpected escape from the hounds, the huntsman curses Moll White. "Nay," says Sir Roger, "I have known the master of the pack, upon such an occasion, send one of his servants to see if Moll White had been out that morning."
This account raised my curiosity so far, that I begged my friend Sir Roger to go with me into her hovel, which stood in a solitary corner under the side of the wood. Upon our first entering, Sir Roger winked to me, and pointed to something that stood behind the door, which, upon looking that way, I found to be an old broom-staff. At the same time he whispered me in the ear to take notice of a tabby cat that sate in the chimney corner, which, as the old knight told me, lay under as bad a report as Moll White herself; for besides that Moll is said often to accompany her in the same shape, the cat is reported to have spoken twice or thrice in her life, and to have played several pranks above the capacity of an ordinary cat.
I was secretly concerned to see human nature in so much wretchedness and disgrace, but at the same time could not forbear smiling to hear Sir Roger, who is a little puzzled about the old woman, advising her as a justice of peace to avoid all communication with the devil, and never to hurt any of her neighbour's cattle. We concluded our visit with a bounty which was very acceptable.
In our return home Sir Roger told me that old Moll had been often brought before him for making children spit pins, and giving maids the nightmare; and that the country-people would be tossing her into a pond and trying experiments with her every day, if it was not for him and his chaplain.
I have since found upon inquiry that Sir Roger was several times staggered with the reports that had been brought him concerning this old woman, and would frequently have bound her over to the county sessions, had not his chaplain with much ado persuaded him to the contrary.
I have been the more particular in this account, because I hear there is scarce a village in England that has not a Moll White in it. When an old
woman begins to doat, and grow chargeable to a parish, she is generally turned into a witch, and fills the whole country with extravagant fancies, imaginary distempers, and terrifying dreams. In the mean time, the poor wretch that is the innocent occasion of so many evils, begins to be frighted at herself, and sometimes confesses secret commerces and familiarities that her imagination forms in a delirious old age. This frequently cuts off charity from the greatest objects of compassion, and inspires people with a malevolence towards those poor decrepid parts of our species, in whom human nature is defaced by infirmity and dotage.
No. 118.1 MONDAY, JULY 16, 1711.
Sticks in his side, and rankles in his heart.-DRYDEN.
Themista, her favourite woman, is every whit as careful of whom she speaks to, and what she says Let the ward be a beauty, her confidant shall treat you with an air of distance; let her be a fortune, and she assumes the suspicious behaviour of her friend and patroness. Thus it is that very many of our un married women of distinction are to all intents and purposes married, except the consideration of different sexes. They are directly under the conduct of their whisperer; and think they are in a state of freedom, while they can prate with one of these at tendants of all men in general, and still avoid the man they most like. You do not see one heiress in a hundred whose fate does not turn upon this circumstance of choosing a confidant. Thus it is that the lady is addressed to, presented, and flattered, only by proxy, in her woman. it possible thatIn my case, how is Sir Roger was proceeding in his harangue, when we heard the voice of one THIS agreeable seat is surrounded with so many words, "What, not one smile?" We followed the speaking very importunately, and repeating these pleasing walks, which are struck out of a wood, in sound till we came to a close thicket, on the other the midst of which the house stands, that one can side of which we saw a young woman sitting as it hardly be weary of rambling from one labyrinth of were in a personated sullenness just over a transdelight to another. To one used to live in the city, parent fountain. Opposite to her stood Mr. William, the charms of the country are so exquisite that the Sir Roger's master of the game. The knight whis mind is lost in a certain transport which raises us pered me, "Hist, these are lovers." The huntsman above ordinary life, and yet is not strong enough to looking earnestly at the shadow of the young maiden be inconsistent with tranquillity. This state of mind in the stream-"Oh thou dear picture, if thou was I in-ravished with the murmur of waters, the couldst remain there in the absence of that fair creawhisper of breezes, the singing of birds; and whether ture whom you represent in the water, how willingly I looked up to the heavens, down on the earth, or could I stand here satisfied for ever, without troubling turned to the prospects around me, still struck with my dear Betty herself with any mention of her unnew sense of pleasure; when I found by the voice of fortunate William, whom she is angry with! But my friend, who walked by me, that we had insensibly alas! when she pleases to be gone, thou wilt also strolled into the grove sacred to the widow. "This vanish-yet let me talk to thee while thou dost stay. woman," says he, is of all others the most unintel- Tell my dearest Betty thou dost not more depend ligible: she either designs to marry, or she does not. upon her than does her William; her absence will What is the most perplexing of all is, that she doth make away with me as well as thee. If she offers to not either say to her lovers she has any resolution remove thee, I will jump into these waves to lay against that condition of life in general, or that she hold on thee-herself, her own dear person, I must banishes them; but, conscious of her own merit, she never embrace again. Still do you hear me without permits their addresses, without fear of any ill con- one smile.-It is too much to bear." sequence, or want of respect, from their rage or sooner spoken these words, but he made an offer of despair. She has that in her aspect against which it throwing himself into the water: at which his misHe had no is impossible to offend. A man whose thoughts are tress started up, and at the next instant he jumped constantly bent upon so agreeable an object, must across the fountain, and met her in an embrace. She, be excused if the ordinary occurrences in conversa-half recovering from her fright, said in the most tion are below his attention. verse, but, alas! why do I call her so ?-because plaint, "I thought how well you would drown yourI call her indeed per- charming voice imaginable, and with a tone of comher superior merit is such, that I cannot approach self. No, no, you will not drown yourself till you her without awe that my heart is checked by too have taken your leave of Susan Holiday." The much esteem: I am angry that her charms are not huntsman, with a tenderness that spoke the most more accessible that I am more inclined to worship passionate love, and with his cheek close to hers, than salute her. How often have I wished her un-whispered the softest vows of fidelity in her ear, and ad happy, that I might have an opportunity of serving her! and how often troubled in that very imagination at giving her the pain of being obliged! Well, I have led a miserable life in secret upon her account; but fancy she would have condescended to have some regard for me, if it had not been for that watchful animal her confidant.
cried, "Do not, my dear, believe a word Kate Wilo 4 low says; she is spiteful, and makes stories, because she loves to hear me talk to herself for your sake.” there, all mischief comes from confidants! But letal Br "Look you there," quoth Sir Roger, "do you see iqi us not interrupt them; the maid is honest, and the "Of all persons under the sun" (continued he, father: I will interpose in this matter, and hasten man dare not be otherwise, for he knows I loved hero calling me by my name), "be sure to set a mark the wedding. Kate Willow is a witty mischievous upon confidants: they are of all people the most wench in the neighbourhood, who was a beauty; and 3 1 impertinent. What is most pleasant to observe in makes me hope I shall see the perverse widow in heresa them is, that they assume to themselves the merit of condition. She was so flippant in her answers to d persons whom they have in their custody. Orestilla all the honest fellows that came near her, and so edu is a great fortune, and in wonderful danger of sur- very vain of her beauty, that she has valued herself i prises, therefore full of suspicions of the least indif- upon her charms till they have ceased. She thereferent thing, particularly careful of new acquaint-fore now makes it her business to prevent otherwell ance, and of growing too familiar with the old young women from being more discreet than she was
herself: however, the saucy thing said the other day well enough, Sir Roger and I must make a match, for we are both despised by those we loved.' The hussy has a great deal of power wherever she comes, and has her share of cunning.
"However, when I reflect upon this woman, I do not know whether in the main I am the worse for having loved ber: whenever she is recalled to my imagination, my youth returns, and I feel a forgotten warmth in my veins. This affliction in my life has streaked all my conduct with a softness, of which I should otherwise have been incapable. It is owing, perhaps, to this dear image in my heart that I am apt to relent, that I easily forgive, and that many desirable things are grown into my temper, which I should not have arrived at by better motives than the thought of being one day hers. I am pretty well satisfied such a passion as I have had is never well cured; and between you and me, I am often apt to imagine it has had some whimsical effect upon my brain: for I frequently find, that in my most serious discourse I let fall some comical familiarity of speech or odd phrase that makes the company laugh. However, I cannot but allow she is a most excellent woman. When she is in the country, I warrant she does not run into dairies, but reads upon the nature of plants; but has a glass hive, and comes into the garden out of books to see them work, and observe the policies of their commonwealth. She understands every thing. I would give ten pounds to hear her argue with my friend Sir Andrew Freeport about trade. No, no, for all she looks so innocent as it were, take my word for it she is no fool."-T.
VIRG. Ecl. i. 20.
No. 119.] TUESDAY, JULY 17, 1711. Urbem quam dicunt Romam, Melibœe, putavi Stultus ego huic nostræ similemThe city men call Rome, unskilful clown, I thought resembled this our humble town.-WARTON, THE first and most obvious reflections which arise in a man who changes the city for the country, are upon the different manners of the people whom he meets with in those two different scenes of life. By manners I do not mean morals, but behaviour and good-breeding, as they shew themselves in the town and in the country.
If after this we look on the people of mode in the country, we find in them the manners of the last age. They have no sooner fetched themselves up to the fashions of the polite world, but the town has dropped them, and are nearer to the first state of nature, than to those refinements which formerly reigned in the court, and still prevailed in the country. Que may now know a man that never conversed in the world, by his excess of good-breeding. A polite country esquire shall make you as many bows in half an hour, as would serve a courtier for a week. There is infinitely more to do about place and precedency in a meeting of justices' wives, than in an assembly of duchesses.
This rural politeness is very troublesome to a man of my temper, who generally take the chair that is next me, and walk first or last, in the front or in the rear, as chance directs. I have known my friend Sir Roger's dinner almost cold before the company could adjust the ceremonial, and be prevailed upon to sit down; and have heartily pitied my old friend, when I have seen him forced to pick and cull his guests, as they sat at the several parts of his table, that he might drink their healths according to their respective ranks and qualities. Honest Will Wimble, who I should have thought had been altogether un infected with ceremony, gives me abundance of trouble in this particular. Though he has been fishing all the morning, he will not help himself at dinner until I am served. When we are going out of the hall, he runs behind me; and last night as we were walking in the fields, stopped short at a stile until I came up to it, and upon my making signs to him to get over, told me with a serious smile, that sure I believed they had no manners in the country.
There has happened another revolution in the point of good-breeding, which relates to the conversation among men of mode, and which I cannot but look upon as very extraordinary. It was certainly one of the first distinctions of a well-bred man to express every thing that had the most remote appearance of being obscene, in modest terms and distant phrases; whilst the clown, who had no such delicacy of conception and expression, clothed his ideas in those plain homely terms that are the most obvious and natural. This kind of good-manners was perhaps carried to an excess, so as to make conversation too stiff, formal, and precise: for which reason (as hypocrisy in one age is generally succeeded by atheism in another) conversation is in a great measure relapsed into the first extreme; so that at present several of our men of the town, and particularly those who have been polished in France, make use of the most coarse, uncivilized words in our language, and utter themselves often in such a manner as a clown would blush to hear.
And here in the first place I must observe a very great revolution that has happened in this article of good-breeding. Several obliging deferences, condescensions, and submissions, with many outward forms and ceremonies that accompany them, were irst of all brought up among the politer part of mankind, who lived in courts and cities, and distinguished themselves from the rustic part of the species (who on all occasions acted bluntly and naturally) by such a mutual complaisance and intercourse of This infamous piece of good-breeding, which civilities. These forms of conversation by degrees reigns among the coxcombs of the town, has not yet multiplied and grew troublesome; the modish world made its way into the country: and as it is imposfound too great a constraint in them, and have there-sible for such an irrational way of conversation to fore thrown most of them aside. Conversation, like last long among a people that make any profession the Romish religion, was so encumbered with show of religion, or show of modesty, if the country genand ceremony, that it stood in need of a reformation tlemen get into it, they will certainly be left in the to retrench its superfluities, and restore it to its na- lurch. Their good-breeding will come too late to tural good sense and beauty. At present, therefore, them, and they will be thought a parcel of lewd an unconstrained carriage, and a certain openness clowns, while they fancy themselves talking together of behaviour, are the height of good-breeding. The like men of wit and pleasure. fashionable world is grown free and easy; our manhers sit more loose upon us. Nothing is so modish as an aggreeable negligence. In a word, good breeding shews itself most, where to an ordinary eye it appears the least.
As the two points of good-breeding, which I have hitherto insisted upon, regard behaviour and conversation, there is a third which turns upon dress. In this, too, the country are very much behindhand. The rural beaus are not yet got out of the fashion
that took place at the time of the revolution, but ride about the country in red coats and laced hats, while the women in many parts are still trying to outvie one another in the height of their head-dresses. But a friend of mine, who is now upon the western circuit, having promised to give me an account of the several modes and fashions that prevail in the different parts of the nation through which he passes, I shall defer the enlarging upon this last topic till I have received a letter from him, which I expect every post.-L.
No. 120.] WEDNESDAY, JULY 18, 1711.
My friend Sir Roger is very often merry with me upon my passing so much of my time among his poultry. He has caught me twice or thrice looking after a bird's nest, and several times sitting an hour or two together near a hen and chickens. He tells me he believes I am personally acquainted with every fowl about his house; calls such a particular cock my favorite; and frequently complains that his ducks and geese have more of my company than himself. I must confess I am infinitely delighted with those speculations of nature which are to be made in a country life; and as my reading has very much lain among books of natural history, I cannot forbear recollecting upon this occasion the several remarks which I have met with in authors, and comparing them with what falls under my own observation: the arguments for Providence drawn from the natural history of animals being in my opinion demonstrative. The make of every kind of animal is different from that of every other kind; and yet there is not the least turn in the muscles or twist in the fibres of any one, which does not render them more proper for that particular animal's way of life than any other cast or texture of them would have been.
The most violent appetites in all creatures are lust and hunger. The first is a perpetual call upon them to propagate their kind; the latter to preserve themselves.
It is astonishing to consider the different degrees of care that descend from the parent to the young, so far as it is absolutely necessary for the leaving a posterity. Some creatures cast their eggs as chance directs them, and think of them no farther; as insects and several kinds of fish. Others, of a nicer frame, find out proper beds to deposit them in, and there leave them; as the serpent, the crocodile, and ostrich others hatch their eggs and tend the birth until it is liable to shift for itself.
What can we call the principle which directs every different kind of bird to observe a particular plan in the structure of its nest, and directs all the same species to work after the same model? It cannot be imitation; for though you hatch a crow under a hen, and never let it see any of the works of its own kind, the nest it makes shall be the same, to the laying of a stick, with all the other nests of the same species. It cannot be reason; for were animals endued with it to as great a degree as man, their buildings would be as different as ours, according to the different conveniences that they would propose
Is it not remarkable that the same temper of weather, which raises this genial warmth in animals, should cover the trees with leaves, and the fields
with grass, for their security and concealment, and produce such infinite swarms of insects for the support and sustenance of their respective broods?
Is it not wonderful that the love of the parent should be so violent while it lasts, and that it should last no longer than is necessary for the preservation of the young?
The violence of this natural love is exemplified by a very barbarous experiment; which I shall quote at length, as I find it in an excellent author, and hope my readers will pardon the mentioning such an instance of cruelty, because there is nothing can so effectually shew the strength of that principle in animals of which I am here speaking. "A person who was well skilled in dissections opened a bitch, and as she lay in the most exquisite tortures, offered her one of her young puppies, which she immediately fell a licking; and for the time seemed insensible of her own pain. On the removal, she kept her eye fixed on it, and began a wailing sort of cry, which seemed rather to proceed from the loss of her young one, than the sense of her own torments."
But notwithstanding this natural love in brutes is much more violent and intense than in rational creatures, Providence has taken care that it should be no longer troublesome to the parent than it is useful to the young; for so soon as the wants of the latter cease, the mother withdraws her fondness, and leaves them to provide for themselves; and what is a very remarkable circumstance in this part of instinct, we find that the love of the parent may be lengthened out beyond its usual time, if the preserv ation of the species requires it; as we may see in birds that drive away their young as soon as they are able to get their livelihood, but continue to feed them if they are tied to the nest, or confined within a cage, or by any other means appear to be out of a condition of supplying their own necessities.
This natural love is not observed in animals to ascend from the young to the parent, which is not at all necessary for the continuance of the species; nor indeed in reasonable creatures does it rise in any proportion, as it spreads itself downward; for in all family affection, we find protection granted and fayours bestowed, are greater motives to love and tenderness, than safety, benefits, or life received,
One would wonder to hear sceptical men disputing for the reason of animals, and telling us it is only our pride and prejudices that will not allow them the use of that faculty.
Reason shews itself in all occurrences of life; whereas the brute makes no discovery of such a talent, but in what immediately regards his own preservation or the continuance of his species. Animals in their generation are wiser than the sons of men; but their wisdom is confined to a few particulars, and lies in a very narrow compass. Take a brute out of his instinct, and you find him wholly deprived of understanding. To use an instance that comes often under observation :
With what caution does the hen provide herself a nest in places unfrequented, and free from noise and disturbance! when she has laid her eggs in such a manner that she can cover them, what care does she take in turning them frequently, that all parts may partake of the vital warmth! when she leaves them, to provide for her necessary sustenance, how punctually does she return before they have time to cool, and become incapable of producing an animal! In the summer you see her giving herself greater freedoms, and quitting her care for above two hours together; but in winter, when the rigour of the sea