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My worthy friend has put me under the particular care of his Butler, who is a very prudent man, and, as well as the rest of his fellow-servants, wonderfully desirous of pleasing me, because they have often heard their master talk of me as of his particular friend.
5 My chief companion, when Sir Roger is diverting himself in the woods or the fields, is a very venerable man who is ever with Sir ROGER, and has lived at his house in the nature of a Chaplain above thirty years. This Gentleman is a person of good sense and some learning, of a very regular life and oblig- 10 ing conversation : he heartily loves Sir ROGER, and knows that he is very much in the old Knight's esteem; so that he lives in the family rather as a relation than a dependant.
I have observed in several of my papers, that my friend Sir Roger, amidst all his good qualities, is something of an 15 humourist; and that his Virtues, as well as Imperfections, are as it were tinged by a certain extravagance, which makes them particularly his, and distinguishes them from those of other men. This cast of mind, as it is generally very innocent in it self, so it renders his conversation highly agreeable, and more delightful than the same degree of Sense and Virtue would appear in their common and ordinary colours. As I was walking with him last night, he asked me how I liked the good man whom I have just now mentioned ? and without staying for my answer told me, that he was afraid of being 25 insulted with Latin and Greek at his own table; for which reason, he desired a particular friend of his at the University to find him out a Clergyman rather of plain sense than much learning, of a good aspect, a clear voice, a sociable temper, and, if possible, a man that understood a little of Back-gammon. 30 My friend, says Sir ROGER, found me out this Gentleman, who, besides the endowments required of him, is, they tell me, a good Scholar though he does not shew it. I have given him the parsonage of the parish; and because I know his value,
have settled upon him a good Annuity for life. If he outlives me, he shall find that he was higher in my esteem than perhaps he thinks he is. He has now been with me thirty
years; and though he does not know I have taken notice of 5 it, has never in all that time asked any thing of me for himself,
though he is every day solliciting me for something in behalf of one or other of my tenants his parishioners. There has not been a law-suit in the parish since he has lived among them : If any dispute arises, they apply themselves to him for the decision ; if they do not acquiesce in his judgment, which I think never happened above once, or twice at most, they appeal to me. At his first settling with me, I made him a present of all the good Sermons which have been printed
in English, and only begged of him that every Sunday he 15 would pronounce one of them in the Pulpit. Accordingly,
he has digested them into such a series, that they follow one another naturally, and make a continued system of practical Divinity.
As Sir ROGER was going on in his story, the Gentleman we were talking of came up to us; and upon the Knight's asking him who preached to morrow (for it was Saturday night) told us the Bishop of St. Asaph in the morning, and Dr. South in the afternoon. He then shewed us his list of Preachers for the
whole year, where I saw with a great deal of pleasure Arch25 bishop Tillotson, Bishop Saunderson, Doctor Barrow, Doctor
Calamy, with several living Authors who have published Discourses of Practical Divinity. I no sooner saw this venerable man in the Pulpit, but I very much approved of my friend's
insisting upon the qualifications of a good aspect and a clear 30 voice; for I was so charmed with the gracefulness of his figure
and delivery, as well as the discourses he pronounced, that I think I never passed any time more to my satisfaction. A Sermon repeated after this manner, is like the composition of a Poet in the mouth of a graceful Actor.
I could heartily wish that more of our Country-clergy would follow this example; and instead of wasting their spirits in laborious compositions of their own, would endeavour after a handsome elocution, and all those other talents that are proper to enforce what has been penned by greater Masters. This would not only be more easie to themselves, but more edifying to the people.
No 108. Wednesday, July 4. [1711.]
Gratis anhelans, multa agendo nihil agens.
As I was yesterday morning walking with Sir Roger before his house, a country-fellow brought him a huge fish, which he told him, Mr. William Wimble had caught that very morning ; and that he presented it, with his service to him, and intended to come and dine with him. At the same time he delivered a Letter, which my friend read to me as soon as the messenger left him.
“I desire you to accept of a Jack, which is the best I have caught this season. I intend to come and stay with you a week, and see how the Perch bite in the Black river. * I observed with some concern, the last time I saw you upon the
Bowling-green, that your whip wanted a lash to it: I will “bring half a dozen with me that I twisted last week, which I "hope will serve you all the time you are in the country. I “have not been out of the saddle for six days last past, having “been at Eaton with Sir John's eldest son. He takes to his learning hugely. I am,
SIR, Your humble Servant, Will. Wimble.
This extraordinary letter, and message that accompanied it, made me very curious to know the character and quality of the Gentleman who sent them ; which I found to be as follows.
Will. Wimble is younger brother to a Baronet, and descended 5 of the ancient family of the Wimbles. He is now between
forty and fifty ; but being bred to no business and born to no estate, he generally lives with his elder brother as superintendent of his game.
He hunts a pack of Dogs better than any man in the country, and is very famous for finding out a Hare. He is extremely well versed in all the little handicrafts of an idle man : he makes a May-fly to a miracle ; and furnishes the whole country with Angle-rods. As he is a good-natured officious fellow, and very much esteemed upon account of his
family, he is a welcome guest at every house, and keeps up a 15 good correspondence among all the Gentlemen about him.
He carries a Tulip-root in his pocket from one to another, or exchanges a puppy between a couple of friends that live perhaps in the opposite sides of the county. Will is a particular favourite of all the young Heirs, whom he frequently obliges with a Net that he has weaved, or a Setting-dog that he has made himself: he now and then presents a pair of garters of his own knitting to their mothers or sisters; and raises a great deal of mirth among them, by enquiring as often as he meets
them how they wear ? these Gentleman-like manufactures and 25 obliging little humours, make Will the darling of the country.
Sir Roger was proceeding in the character of him, when [we]' saw him make up to us with two or three hazle-twigs in his hand that he had cut in Sir ROGER's woods, as he came through
them, in his way to the house. I was very much pleased to 30 observe on one side the hearty and sincere welcome with which
Sir Roger received him, and on the other the secret joy which his guest discovered at sight of the good old Knight. After the first salutes were over, Will desired Sir Roger to lend him
1 So S and C; T has “he.”
one of his servants to carry a set of shuttle-cocks he had with him in a little box to a Lady that lived about a mile off, to whom it seems he had promised such a present for above this half year. Sir Roger's back was no sooner turned, but honest Will began to tell me of a large cock-pheasant that he had 5 sprung in one of the neighbouring woods, with two or three other adventures of the same nature. Odd and uncommon characters are the game that I look for, and most delight in ; for which reason I was as much pleased with the novelty of the person that talked to me, as he could be for his life with the springing of a pheasant, and therefore listned to him with more than ordinary attention.
In the midst of his discourse the bell rung to dinner, where the Gentleman I have been speaking of had the pleasure of seeing the huge jack, he had caught, served up for the first 15 dish in a most sumptuous manner. Upon our sitting down to it he gave us a long account how he had hooked it, played with it, foiled it, and at length drew it out upon the bank, with several other particulars that lasted all the first course. A dish of wild-fowl that came afterwards furnished conversation for the rest of the dinner, which concluded with a late invention of Will's for improving the quail-pipe.
Upon withdrawing into my room after dinner, I was secretly touched with compassion towards the honest Gentleman that had dined with us; and could not but consider with a great 25 deal of concern, how so good an heart and such busie hands were wholly employed in trifles; that so much humanity should be so little beneficial to others, and so much industry so little advantageous to himself. The same temper of mind and application to affairs might have recommended him to the 30 publick esteem, and have raised his fortune in another station of life. What good to his country or himself might not a trader or merchant have done with such useful though ordinary qualifications?