« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
written with a great deal of erudition:† it is there called the x, or the fighting with a man's own shadow, and consists in the brandishing of two short sticks grasped in each hand, and loaded with plugs of lead at either end. This opens the chest, exercises the limbs, and gives a man all the pleasure of boxing, without the blows. I could wish that several learned men would lay out that time which they employ in controversies and disputes about nothing, in this method of fighting with their own shadows. It might conduce very much to evaporate the spleen, which makes them uneasy to the public as well as to themselves.
fatigable man in business of this kind, and has hung several parts of his house with the trophies of his former labours. The walls of his great hall are covered with the horns of several kinds of deer that he has killed in the chase, which he thinks the most valuable furniture of his house, as they afford him frequent topics of discourse, and show that he has not been idle. At the lower end of the hall is a large otter's skin stuffed with hay, which his mother ordered to be hung up in that manner, and the knight looks upon with great satisfaction, because it seems he was but nine years old when his dog killed him. A little room adjoining to the hall is a kind of arsenal, filled with guns of several sizes and To conclude,-As I am a compound of inventions, with which the knight has made soul and body, I consider myself as obliged great havoc in the woods, and destroyed to a double scheme of duties; and think I many thousands of pheasants, partridges, have not fulfilled the business of the day and woodcocks. His stable-doors are patch-when I do not thus employ the one in laed with noses that belonged to foxes of the bour and exercise, as well as the other in knight's own hunting down. Sir Roger study and contemplation. showed me one of them that for distinction sake has a brass nail stuck through it, which cost him about fifteen hours' riding, No. 116.] Friday, July 13, 1711. carried him through half a dozen counties, killed him a brace of geldings, and lost above half his dogs. This the knight looks upon as one of the greatest exploits of his life. The perverse widow, whom I have given some account of, was the death of several foxes; for Sir Roger has told me that in the course of his amours he patched the western door of his stable. Whenever the widow was cruel, the foxes were sure to pay for it. In proportion as his passion for the widow abated and old age came on, he left off fox-hunting; but a hare is not yet safe that sits within ten miles of his house.
There is no kind of exercise which I would so recommend to my readers of both sexes as this of riding, as there is none which so much conduces to health, and is every way accommodated to the body, according to the idea which I have given of it. Doctor Sydenham is very lavish in its praises; and if the English reader will see the mechanical effects of it described at length, he may find them in a book published not many years since under the title of Medicina Gymnastica. For my own part, when I am in town, for want of these opportunities, I exercise myself an hour every morning upon a dumb-bell that is placed in a corner of my room, and it pleases me the more because it does every thing I require of it in the most profound silence. My landlady and her daughters are so well acquainted with my hours of exercise, that they never come into my room to disturb me whilst I am ringing.
When I was some years younger than I am at present, I used to employ myself in a more laborious diversion, which I learned from a Latin treatise of exercises that is
By Francis Fuller, M. A.
-Vocat ingenti clamore Citharon,
Virg. Georg. fii. The echoing hills and chiding hounds invite. THOSE who have searched into human nature observe, that nothing so much shows the nobleness of the soul, as that its felicity consists in action. Every man has such an active principle in him, that he will find out something to employ himself upon, in whatever place or state of life he is posted. I have heard of a gentleman who was under close confinement in the Bastile seven years; during which time he amused himself in scattering a few small pins about his chamber, gathering them up again, and placing them in different figures on the arm of a great chair. He often told his friends afterwards, that unless he had found out this piece of exercise, he verily believed he should have lost his senses.
After what has been said, I need not inform my readers, that Sir Roger, with whose character I hope they are at present pretty well acquainted, has in his youth gone through the whole course of those rural diversions which the country abounds in; and which seem to be extremely well suited to that laborious industry a man may observe here in a far greater degree than in towns and cities. I have before hinted at some of my friend's exploits; he has in his youthful days taken forty coveys of partridges in a season; and tired many a salinon with a line consisting but of a single hair. The constant thanks and good wishes of the neighbourhood always attended him, on account of his remarkable enmity towards foxes; having destroyed more of those ver
↑ Hieronymus Mercurialis's celebrated book, Artis Gymnastica apud Antiquos, &c. Libri sex. Venet. 1569, quarto.
min in one year, than it was thought the whole county could have produced. Indeed the knight does not scruple to own among his mest intimate friends, that in order to establish his reputation this way, he has secretly sent for great numbers of them out of other counties, which he used to turn loose about the 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 gray stone-horse that unhappily staked himself several years since, and was buried with great solcinnity in the orchard.
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 aversion 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 Sir Roger, being at present too old for was pleased to find, that instead of running fox-hunting, to keep himself in action, has straight forwards, or, in hunter's language, disposed of his beagles and get a pack of flying the country,' as I was afraid she stop-hounds. What these want in speed, might have done, she wheeled about, and he endeavours to make amends for by the described a sort of circle round the hill, deepness of their mouths and the variety of where I had taken my station, in such a their notes, which are suited in such a man- manner as gave me a very distinct view of ner to each other, that the whole cry makes the sport. I could see her first pass by, and up a complete concert. He is so nice in this the dogs some time afterwards, unravelling particular, that a gentleman having made the whole track she had made, and followhim a present of a very fine hound the othering her through all her doubles. I was at day, the knight returned it by the servant the same time delighted in observing that with a great many expressions of civility; deference which the rest of the pack paid but desired him to tell his master, that the to each particular hound, according to the dog he had sent was indeed a most excel-character he had acquired among them. lent bass, but that at present he only wanted If they were at a fault, and an old hound of a counter-tenor. Could I believe my friend reputation opened but once, he was immehad ever read Shakspeare, I should cer-diately followed by the whole cry; while a tainly conclude he had taken the hint from raw dog, or one who was a noted liar, might Theseus in the Midsummer Night's Dream: have yelped his heart out without being taken notice of.
My hounds are bred out of the Spartan kind,
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
The hare now, after having squatted two or three times, and been put up again as often, came still nearer to the place where she was at first started. The dogs pursued her, and these were followed by the jolly encompassed by his tenants and servants, knight, who rode upon a white gelding, and cheering his hounds with all the gaiety of five-and-twenty. One of the sportsmen rode up to me, and told me that he was sure the chase was almost at an end, because the old dogs, which had hitherto lain behind, now headed the pack. The fellow was in the right. Our hare took a large field just under us, followed by the full cry in view. I must confess the brightness of the weather, the cheerfulness of every thing around me, the chiding of the hounds, which was returned upon us in a double echo from After we had rid about a mile from home, of the sportsmen, and the sounding of the two neighbouring hills, with the hallooing we came upon a large heath, and the sports- horn, lifted my spirits into a most lively men began to beat. They had done so for pleasure, which I freely indulged because some time, when, as I was at a little dis-I was sure it was innocent. If I was under tance 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,
* Act iv. Sc. 1.
any concern, it was on the account of the poor hare, that was now quite spent, and almost within the reach of her enemies; when the huntsman getting forward, threw down his pole before the dogs. They were now within eight yards of that game which they had been pursuing for almost as manyhours; yet on the signal before-mentioned
-Ipsi sibi somnia fingunt.-Virg. Ecl. viii. 108. With voluntary dreams they cheat their minds. should stand neuter, without engaging his THERE are some opinions in which a man assent to one side or the other. Such a hovering faith as this, which refuses to set→ the upon any 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 neither.
they all made a sudden stand, and though | No. 117.] Saturday, July 14, 1711. they continued opening as much as before, durst not once attempt to pass beyond the pole. At the same time Sir Roger rode forward, and alighting, took up the hare in his arms; which he soon after delivered up to one of his servants with an order, if she could be kept alive, to let her go in his great orchard; where it seems he has several of these prisoners of war, who live together in a very comfortable captivity. I was highly pleased to see the discipline of the pack, and the good-nature of the knight, who could not find in his heart to murder a creature that had given him so much diversion. As we were returning home, I remem- sider the subject of witchcraft. When I It is with this temper of mind that I conbered that Monsieur Paschal, in his most hear the relations that are made from all excellent discourse on the Misery of Man, parts of the world, not only from Norway tells us, that all our endeavours after great- and Lapland, from the East and West Inness proceed from nothing but a desire of dies, but from every particular nation in being surrounded by a multitude of persons Europe, I cannot forbear thinking that and affairs that may hinder us from looking there is such an intercourse and commerce into ourselves, which is a view we cannot with evil spirits, as that which we express bear. He afterwards goes on to show that by the name of witchcraft. But when I our love of sports comes from the same rea- consider that the ignorant and credulous son, and is particularly severe upon hunting. parts of the world abound most in these reWhat,' says he, unless it be to drown lations, and that the persons among us who thought, can make them throw away so much time and pains upon a silly animal, commerce, are people of a weak underare supposed to engage in such an infernal which they might buy cheaper in the mar-standing and crazed imagination, and at the ket?' The foregoing reflection 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 enjoyed 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;
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 the 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 pursued my journey,
Cold palsy shook her head; her hands seem'd wither'd;
And on her crooked shoulders had she wrapt
The tatter'd remnant of an old striped hanging,
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
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.
switch about her house which her neigh-account, because I hear there is scarce a vilbours did not believe had carried her seve-lage in England that has not a Moll White ral hundreds of miles. If she chanced to in it. When an old woman begins to doat, 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 that 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 No. 118.] Monday, July 16, 1711. pack, upon such an occasion, send one of his servants to see if Moll White had been out that morning.'
-Hæret lateri lethalis rundo.
Virg. En. iv. 73 -The fatal dart
Sticks in his side, and rankles in his heart.
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 THIS agreeable seat is surrounded with solitary corner under the side of the wood. so many pleasing walks, which are struck Upon our first entering, Sir Roger winked out of a wood, in the midst of which the to me, and pointed at something that stood house stands, that one can hardly ever be behind the door, which, upon looking that weary of rambling from one labyrinth of deway, I found to be an old broom-staff. At light to another. To one used to live in a the same time he whispered me in the ear city the charms of the country are so exto take notice of a tabby cat that sat in the quisite, that the mind is lost in a certain chimney corner, which, as the old knight transport which raises us above ordinary told me, lay under as bad a report as Moll life, and yet is not strong enough to be inWhite herself; for besides that Moll is said consistent with tranquillity. This state of often to accompany her in the same shape, mind was I in, ravished with the murmur the cat is reported to have spoken twice or of waters, the whisper of breezes, the singthrice in her life, and to have played seve-ing of birds; and whether I looked up to ral pranks above the capacity of an ordinary cat.
the heavens, down on the earth, or turned to the prospects around me, still struck I was secretly concerned to see human with new sense of pleasure; when I found nature in so much wretchedness and dis- by the voice of my friend, who walked by grace, but at the same time could not for-me, that we had insensibly strolled into the bear smiling to hear Sir Roger, who is a little puzzled about the old woman, advising her as a justice of the peace to avoid all communication with the devil, and never to hurt any of her neighbours' cattle. We concluded our visit with a bounty, which was very acceptable.
grove sacred to the widow. This woman,' says he, is of all others the most unintelligible; she either designs to marry, or she does not. What is the most perplexing of all is, that she does not either say to her lovers she has any resolution against that condition of life in general, or that she baIn our return home Sir Roger told me,nishes them; but, conscious of her own that old Moll had been often brought before him for making children spit pins, and giving maids the night-mare; 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
merit, she permits their addresses, without fear of any ill consequence, or want of respect, from their rage or despair. She has that in her aspect, against which it is impossible to offend. A man whose thoughts are constantly bent upon so agreeable an object, must be excused if the ordinary occurrences in conversation are below his attention. I call her indeed perverse, but, alas! why do I call her so? Because her superior merit is such, that I cannot approach her without awe, that my heart is checked by too much esteem: I am angry that her charms are not more accessible, that I am more inclined to worship than
never embrace again.-Still do you hear me without one smile-It is too much to bear.'-He had no sooner spoke these words, but he made an offer of throwing himself into the water; at which his mistress started up, and at the next instant
salute her. How often have I wished her thee; herself, her own dear person, I must unhappy, 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 | he jumped across the fountain, and met her for that watchful animal her confidant.
in an embrace. She, half recovering from
"Of all persons under the sun,' (continued he, calling me by name,) 'be sure to set a mark upon confidants: they are of all people the most impertinent. What is most pleasant to observe in them, is, that they assume to themselves the merit of the persons whom they have in their custody. Orestilla is a great fortune, and in wonderful danger of surprises, therefore full of suspicions of the least indifferent thing, particularly careful of new acquaintance, and of growing too familiar with the old. 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 unmarried 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 attendants 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. In my case, how is it possible that.' Sir Roger was proceeding in his harangue, when we heard the voice of one speaking very importunately, and repeating these words, 'What, not one smile! We followed the sound till However, when I reflect upon this we came close to a thicket, on the other side woman, I do not know whether in the main of which we saw a young woman sitting as I am the worse for having loved her; whenit were in a personated sullenness just over ever she is recalled to my imagination my a transparent fountain. Opposite to her youth returns, and I feel a forgotten warmth stood Mr. William, Sir Roger's master of in my veins. This affliction in my life has the game. The knight whispered me, streaked all my conduct with a softness, of Hist, these are lovers.' The huntsman which I should otherwise have been incalooking earnestly at the shadow of the young pable. It is owing, perhaps, to this dear maiden in the stream, 'Oh thou dear pic-image in my heart that I am apt to relent, ture, if thou couldst remain there in the ab- that I easily forgive, and that many desirasence of that fair creature whom you repre-ble things are grown into my temper, which sent in the water, how willingly could II should not have arrived at by better mostand here satisfied for ever, without trou- tives than the thought of being one day bling my dear Betty herself with any men- hers. I am pretty well satisfied such a tion of her unfortunate William, whom she is angry with! But, alas! when she pleases to be gone, thou wilt also vanish- -Yet let me talk to thee while thou dost stay. Tell my dearest Betty thou dost not more depend upon her, than does her William: her absence will make away with me as well as thee. If she offers to remove thee, I will jump into these waves to lay hold on
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