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“good master was always the poor man's friend. Upon his “coming home, the first complaint he made was, that he had “lost his roast-beef stomach, not being able to touch a sirloin,
“which was served up according to custom; and you know he 5 “used to take great delight in it. From that time forward he
“grew worse and worse, but still kept a good heart to the last. “ Indeed we were once in great hopes of his recovery, upon a “ kind message that was sent him from the widow Lady whom “ he had made love to the forty last years of his life ; but this “only proved a lightning before his death. He has bequeathed "to this Lady, as a token of his love, a great pearl necklace, “ and a couple of silver bracelets set with jewels, which belonged “to my good old Lady his mother: he has bequeathed the fine
“white gelding, that he used to ride a hunting upon, to his 15 “Chaplain, because he thought he would be kind to him, and
“has left you all his books. He has, moreover, bequeathed to “the Chaplain a very pretty tenement with good lands about it. “It being a very cold day when he made his will, he left for
mourning, to every man in the parish, a great frize-coat, and “to every woman a black riding-hood. It was a most moving “sight to see him take leave of his poor servants, commending
all for our fidelity, whilst we were not able to speak a word "for weeping. As we most of us are grown grey-headed in our
“dear master's service, he has left us pensions and legacies, 25 “which we may live very comfortably upon the remaining part
" of our days. He has bequeathed a great deal more in charity, “which is not yet come my knowledge, and it is peremptorily “said in the parish, that he has left money to build a steeple
“ to the Church; for he was heard to say some time ago, that 30 “if he lived two years longer, Coverly Church should have a
"steeple to it. The Chaplain tells every body that he made a “very good end, and never speaks of him without tears. He "was buried, according to his own directions, among the family “ of the COVERLIES, on the left hand of his father Sir Arthur,
“ The Coffin was carried by six of his tenants, and the Pall “ held up by six of the Quorum: the whole parish followed the “corps with heavy hearts, and in their mourning suits, the men “ in frize, and the women in riding-hoods. Captain SENTRY, “my master's nephew, has taken possession of the hall-house, 66 and the whole estate. When my old master saw him a little “ before his death, he shook him by the hand, and wished him “joy of the estate which was falling to him, desiring him only “ to make a good use of it, and to pay the several legacies, and “ the gifts of charity which he told him he had left as quit-rents upon
the estate. The Captain truly seems a courteous man, “ though says but little. He makes much of those whom my “master loved, and shews great kindness to the old house-dog, “ that you know my poor master was so fond of. It would “ have gone to your heart to have heard the moans the dumb 15 “ creature made on the day of my master's death. He has never joyed himself since; no more has
any “ the melancholiest day for the poor people that ever happened “ in Worcestershire. This being all from, Honoured Sir, Your most sorrowful servant,
P. S. “My master desired, some weeks before he died, “ that a book which comes up to you by the carrier should “ be given to Sir ANDREW FREEPORT in his name.
This Letter, notwithstanding the poor Butler's manner of 25 writing it, gave us such an idea of our good old friend, that upon the reading of it there was not a dry eye in the Club. Sir ANDREW opening the book, found it to be a collection of Acts of Parliament. There was in particular the Act of Uniformity, with some passages in it marked by Sir Roger's own 30 hand. Sir ANDREW found that they related to two or three points, which he had disputed with Sir ROGER the last time
he appeared at the Club. Sir ANDREW, who would have been merry at such an incident on another occasion, at the sight of the old man's handwriting burst into tears, and put the book
into his pocket. Captain SENTRY informs me, that the Knight 5 has left rings and mourning for every one in the Club.
N° 542. Friday, November 21. [1712.]
When I have been present in assemblies where my paper has been talked of, I have been very well pleased to hear those who would detract from the Author of it observe, that the Letters which are sent to the Spectator are as good, if not better than any of his works. Upon this occasion many Letters of mirth are usually mentioned, which some think the Spectator writ to himself, and which others commend because they fancy he received them from his correspondents : such are those from
the Valetudinarian; the inspector of the sign-posts; the master 15 of the Fan-exercise ; with that of the hooped petticoat; that
of Nicholas Hart the annual sleeper ; that of Sir John Envill;
the London cries; with multitudes of the same nature. As I love nothing more than to mortify the ill-natured, that I may do it effectually, I must acquaint them, they have very often praised me when they did not design it, and that they have approved my writings when they thought they had derogated from them. I have heard several of these unhappy Gentlemen proving, by undeniable arguments, that I was not able
to pen a Letter which I had written the day before. Nay, I 25 have heard some of them throwing out ambiguous expressions,
and giving the company reason to suspect that they themselves did me the honour to send me such and such a particular epistle,
which happened to be talked of with the esteem or approbation of those who were present. These rigid Critics are so afraid of allowing me any thing which does not belong to me, that they will not be positive whether the Lion, the wild Boar, and the Flowerpots in the Play-house, did not actually write those Let
5 ters which came to me in their names. I must therefore inform these Gentlemen, that I often chuse this way of casting my thoughts into a Letter, for the following reasons : First, out of the policy of those who try their jest upon another, before they own it themselves. Secondly, because I would extort a little praise from such who will never applaud any thing whose Author is known and certain. Thirdly, because it gave me an opportunity of introducing a great variety of characters into my work, which could not have been done, had I always written in the person of the Spectator. Fourthly, because the dignity spec 15 tatorial would have suffered, had I published as from my self those several ludicrous compositions which I have ascribed to fictitious names and characters. And lastly, because they often serve to bring in, more naturally, such additional reflections as have been placed at the end of them.
There are others who have likewise done me a very particular honour, though undesignedly. These are such who will needs have it, that I have translated or borrowed many of my thoughts out of books which are written in other languages. I have heard of a person, who is more famous for 25 his library than his learning, that has asserted this more than once in his private conversation. Were it true, I am sure he could not speak it from his own knowledge ; but had he read the books which he has collected, he would find this accusation to be wholly groundless. Those who are truly learned 30 will acquit me in this point, in which I have been so far from offending, that I have been scrupulous perhaps to a fault in quoting the Authors of several passages which I might have made my own.
But as this assertion is in reality an encomium
on what I have published, I ought rather to glory in it, than endeavour to confute it.
Some are so very willing to alienate from me that small reputation which might accrue to me from any of my Specu5 lations, that they attribute some of the best of them to those
imaginary Manuscripts with which I have introduced them. There are others, I must confess, whose objections have given me a greater concern, as they seem to reflect, under this head, rather on my morality than on my invention. These are they who say an Author is guilty of falshood, when he talks to the publick of Manuscripts which he never saw, or describes scenes of action or discourse in which he was never engaged. But these Gentlemen would do well to consider, there is not a fable
or parable which ever was made use of, that is not liable to 15 this exception; since nothing, according to this notion, can
be related innocently, which was not once matter of fact. Besides, I think the most ordinary Reader may be able to discover, by my way of writing, what I deliver in these occurrences as truth, and what as fiction.
Since I am unawares engaged in answering the several objections which have been made against these my works, I must take notice that there are some who affirm a paper of this nature should always turn upon diverting subjects, and
others who find fault with every one of them that hath not 25 an immediate tendency to the advancement of religion or
learning. I shall leave these Gentlemen to dispute it out among themselves, since I see one half of my conduct patronized by each side. Were I serious on an improper subject,
or trifling in a serious one, I should deservedly draw upon me 30 the censure of my Readers; or were I conscious of any thing
in my writings that is not innocent at least, or that the greatest part of them were not sincerely designed to discountenance vice and ignorance, and support the interest of true wisdom and virtue, I should be more severe upon my self than the