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stronger Tory in the country than in town, which, as he has told me in my ear, is absolutely necessary for the keeping up his interest. In all our journey from London to his house we did not so much as bait at a Whig-inn; or if by chance the coachman stopped at a wrong place, one of Sir Roger's servants would ride up to his master full speed, and whisper to him that the master of the house was against such an one in the last election. This often betrayed us into hard beds and bad cheer; for we were not so inquisitive about the Inn as the Inn-keeper; and provided our landlord's principles were sound, did not take any notice of the staleness of his provisions. This I found still the more inconvenient, because the better the Host was, the worse generally were his accommodations; the fellow knowing very well, that those who were his friends would take up with coarse diet and an hard lodging. For these reasons, all the while I was upon the road, I dreaded entring into an house of any one that Sir ROGER had applauded for an honest
Since my stay at Sir Roger's in the country, I daily find more instances of this narrow party humour. Being upon the bowling-green at a neighbouring market-town the other day, (for that is the place where the Gentlemen of one side meet once a week) I observed a stranger among them of a better presence and genteeler behaviour than ordinary; but was much surprized, that notwithstanding he was a very fair better, no body would take him up. But upon enquiry I found, that he was one who had given a disagreeable vote in a former Parliament, for which reason there was not a man upon that bowlinggreen who would have so much correspondence with him as to win his money of him.
Among other instances of this nature, I must not omit one which concerns my self. Will Wimble was the other day relating several strange stories that he had picked up no body knows where of a certain great man; and upon my staring at him, as
one that was surprized to hear such things in the country, which had never been so much as whispered in the town, Will stopped short in the thread of his discourse, and after dinner asked my
friend Sir Roger in his ear if he was sure that I was not a 5 fanatick.
It gives me a serious concern to see such a spirit of dissension in the country; not only as it destroys virtue and common sense, and renders us in a manner Barbarians towards
one another, but as it perpetuates our animosities, widens our 10 breaches, and transmits our present passions and prejudices to
our posterity. For my own part, I am sometimes afraid that I discover the seeds of a Civil War in these our divisions : and therefore cannot but bewail, as in their first principles, the miseries and calamities of our children.
N° 131. Tuesday, July 31. [1711.]
Ipsæ rursum concedite sylve. Virg.
It is usual for a man who loves country sports to preserve the game in 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 this means the breed about his house has time to encrease and multiply, besides that the sport is the more agreeable where the game is 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 the 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 to my self, and I hope to others. I am here forced to use a great deal of diligence before I can spring any thing to my mind, whereas in town, whilst I am following one char 5 acter, 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 chuse it. In the mean time, as I have given a whole month's rest to the Cities of London and Westminster, I promise my self 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, 15 and particular way of life, having raised a great curiosity in all
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 extreamly silent when I am in company, is afraid I have killed a man. The country people seem to suspect me for a Conjurer; 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 Cunningman with him, 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, and that he thinks the Gentlemen of the country would do very well to make me give some account of my self.
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 have heard he converses very promiscuously when he is
in town, do not know but he has brought down with him some 5 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 is my way, and that I am only a Philosopher; but
this will not satisfie them. They think there is more in me than 15 he discovers, and that I do not hold my tongue for nothing.
For these and other reasons I shall set out for London to-morrow, 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 of his own inclinations, makes but a very unso
ciable figure in this kind of life. I shall therefore retire into 25 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 my self, and at the same time enjoy all the
advantages of company with all the privileges of solitude. In 30 the mean while, 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, and rallies me after his way upon my country life.
“I suppose this letter will find thee picking of daisies, or "smelling to a lock of hay, or passing away thy time in some “innocent country diversion of the like nature. I have how
ever 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 us up any more stories of a “cock and a bull, nor frighten the town with spirits and witches. “Thy Speculations begin to smell confoundedly of woods and “meadows. If thou dost not come up quickly, we shall con“clude thou art in love with one of Sir ROGER's dairy maids. “Service to 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 common-wealths men.
Dear SPEC, thine eternally,
N° 159. Saturday, September 1. [1711.]
Omnem quæ nunc obducta tuenti
When I was at Grand Cairo I picked up several oriental Manuscripts, which I have still by me. Among others I met with one entituled, The Visions of Mirza, which I have read over with great pleasure. I intend to give it to the publick when I have no other entertainment for them; and shall begin with the first Vision, which I have translated word for word as follows.
“On the fifth day of the moon, which according to the "custom of my forefathers I always keep holy, after having