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THE SPECTATOR'S GAME.
to him, whom he had given for lost, with such a strength of constitution, sharpness of understanding, and skill of languages.' Here the printed story leaves off, but if I may give credit to reports, our linguist, having received such extraordinary rudiments towards a good education, was afterwards trained up in every thing that becomes a gentleman; wearing off by little and little all the vicious habits and practices that he had been used to in the course of his peregrinations; nay, it is said, that he has since been employed in foreign courts upon national business, IO with great reputation to himself and honour to those who sent him, and that he has visited several countries as a public minister, in which he formerly wandered as a gipsy.-C.
No. 131. Various opinions entertained of the Spectator in the country. Letter from Will Honeycomb.
It is usual for a man who loves country sports to preserve the game on his own grounds, and divert himself upon those that belong to his neighbour. My friend Sir Roger generally goes two or three miles from his house, and gets into the frontiers of his estate, before he beats about in search of a hare or partridge, on purpose to spare his own fields, where he is always sure of finding diversion when the worst comes to the worst. By 20 this means the breed about his house has time to increase and multiply, besides that the sport is the more agreeable where the game is the harder to come at, and where it does not lie so thick as to produce any perplexity or confusion in the pursuit. For these reasons the country gentleman, like the fox, seldom preys near his own home.
In the same manner I have made a month's excursion out of town, which is the great field of game for sportsmen of my species, to try my fortune in the country, where I have started several subjects, and hunted them down, with some pleasure 30 to myself, and I hope to others. I am here forced to use a great deal of diligence before I can spring anything to my mind, whereas in town, whilst I am following one character, it is ten to one but I am crossed in my way by another, and put up such
a variety of odd creatures in both sexes, that they foil the scent of one another, and puzzle the chace. My greatest difficulty in the country is to find sport, and in town to choose it. In the mean time, as I have given a whole month's rest to the cities of London and Westminster, I promise myself abundance of new game upon my return thither.
It is indeed high time for me to leave the country, since I find the whole neighbourhood begin to grow very inquisitive after my name and character; my love of solitude, taciturnity, and par10 ticular way of life, having raised a great curiosity in all these parts.
The notions which have been framed of me are various; some look upon me as very proud, some as very modest, and some as very melancholy. Will Wimble, as my friend the butler tells me, observing me very much alone, and extremely silent when I am in company, is afraid I have killed a man. The country people seem to suspect me for a conjuror; and some of them hearing of the visit which I made to Moll White, will needs have it that Sir Roger has brought down a cunning man with him, 20 to cure the old woman, and free the country from her charms. So that the character which I go under in part of the neighbourhood is what they here call a white witch".
A justice of peace, who lives about five miles off, and is not of Sir Roger's party, has, it seems, said twice or thrice at his table, that he wishes Sir Roger does not harbour a Jesuit in his house; that he thinks the gentlemen of the country would do very well to make me give some account of myself.
On the other side, some of Sir Roger's friends are afraid the old knight is imposed upon by a designing fellow, and as they 30 have heard that he converses very promiscuously when he is in town, do not know but he has brought down with him some discarded Whig, that is sullen, and says nothing because he is out of place".
Such is the variety of opinions which are here entertained of me, so that I pass among some for a disaffected person, and among others for a popish priest; among some for a wizard, and among others for a murderer; and all this for no other reason, that I can imagine, but because I do not hoot and hollow and make a noise. It is true, my friend Sir Roger tells them that it 40 is my way, and that I am only a philosopher; but this will
RECALLED TO TOWN.
not satisfy them. They think there is more in me than he discovers, and that I do not hold my tongue for nothing.
For these and other reasons I shall set out for London tomorrow, having found by experience that the country is not a place for a person of my temper, who does not love jollity, and what they call good neighbourhood. A man that is out of humour when an unexpected guest breaks in upon him, and does not care for sacrificing an afternoon to every chance comer,—that will be the master of his own time, and the pursuer 10 of his own inclinations,—makes but a very unsociable figure in this kind of life. I shall therefore retire into the town, if I may make use of that phrase, and get into the crowd again as fast as I can, in order to be alone. I can there raise what speculations I please upon others without being observed myself, and at the same time enjoy all the advantages of company with all the privileges of solitude. In the meanwhile, to finish the month, and conclude these my rural speculations, I shall here insert a letter from my friend Will Honeycomb, who has not lived a month for these forty years out of the smoke of London, 20 and rallies me after his way upon my country life.
I suppose this letter will find thee picking up daisies, or smelling to a lock of hay, or passing away thy time in some innocent country diversion of the like nature. I have however orders from the club to summon thee up to town, being all of us cursedly afraid thou wilt not be able to relish our company, after thy conversations with Moll White and Will Wimble. Pr'ythee don't send up any more stories of a cock and a bull, nor frighten the town with spirits and witches. Thy speculations begin to 30 smell confoundedly of woods and meadows. If thou dost not come up quickly, we shall conclude that thou art in love with one of Sir Roger's dairy-maids. Service to the knight. Sir Andrew is grown the cock of the club since he left us, and if he does not return quickly, will make every mother's son of us commonwealth's men.
No. 269. Sir Roger comes up to town to see Prince Eugene: be tells the Spectator the news of the country.
I was this morning surprised with a great knocking at the door, when my landlady's daughter came up to me, and told me, that there was a man below desired to speak with me. Upon my asking her who it was, she told me it was a very grave elderly person, but that she did not know his name. I immediately went down to him, and found him to be the coachman of my worthy friend Sir Roger de Coverley. He told me that his master came to town last night, and would be glad to take a turn with me in Gray's-inn walks". As I was wondering in 10 myself what had brought Sir Roger to town, not having lately
received any letter from him, he told me that his master was come up to get a sight of prince Eugene ", and that he desired I would immediately meet him.
I was not a little pleased with the curiosity of the old knight, though I did not much wonder at it, having heard him say more than once in private discourse, that he looked upon prince Eugenio (for so the knight always calls him)o to be a greater man than Scanderbeg 1.
I was no sooner come into Gray's-inn walks, but I heard my 20 friend upon the terrace hemming twice or thrice to himself with great vigour, for he loves to clear his pipes in good air (to make use of his own phrase), and is not a little pleased with any one who takes notice of the strength which he still exerts in his morning hems.
I was touched with a secret joy at the sight of the good old man, who before he saw me was engaged in conversation with a beggar man that had asked an alms of him. I could hear my friend chide him for not finding out some work; but at the same time saw him put his hand into his pocket and give him 30 sixpence.
Our salutations were very hearty on both sides, consisting of many kind shakes of the hand, and several affectionate looks
SIR ROGER IN LONDON.
which we cast upon one another. After which the knight told me, my good friend his chaplain was very well, and much at my service, and that the Sunday before he had made a most incomparable sermon out of Dr. Barrow. 'I have left,' says he, 'all my affairs in his hands, and being willing to lay an obligation upon him, have deposited with him thirty merks", to be distributed among his poor parishioners.'
He then proceeded to acquaint me with the welfare of Will Wimble. Upon which he put his hand into his fob, and pre10 sented me in his name with a tobacco-stopper, telling me, that Will had been busy all the beginning of the winter in turning great quantities of them; and that he made a present of one to every gentleman in the country who has good principles, and smokes. He added, that poor Will was at present under great tribulation, for that Tom Touchy had taken the law of him for cutting some hazel sticks out of one of his hedges.
Among other pieces of news which the knight brought from his country-seat, he informed me that Moll White was dead; and that about a month after her death the wind was so very 20 high, that it blew down the end of one of his barns.. 'But for my own part,' says Sir Roger, 'I do not think that the old woman had any hand in it.'
He afterwards fell into an account of the diversions which had passed in his house during the holidays; for Sir Roger, after the laudable custom of his ancestors, always keeps open house at Christmas. I learned from him, that he had killed eight fat hogs for this season; that he had dealt about his chines very liberally amongst his neighbours; and that in particular he had sent a string of hog's-puddings with a pack of cards to every poor 30 family in the parish. I have often thought,' says Sir Roger, ‘it happens very well that Christmas should fall out in the middle of winter. It is the most dead and uncomfortable time of the year, when the poor people would suffer very much from their poverty and cold, if they had not good cheer, warm fires, and Christmas gambols to support them. I love to rejoice their poor hearts at this season, and to see the whole village merry in my great hall. I allow a double quantity of malt to my small beer, and set it a running for twelve days to every one that calls for it. I have always a piece of cold beef and a mince-pye upon the table, and 40 am wonderfully pleased to see my tenants pass away a whole