« ZurückWeiter »
do not so much as know the names of. After a short flourish, the curtain was drawn up, and we were presented with the most extraordinary assembly of figures that ever entered into a man's imagination. The design of the workman was so well expressed in the dumb show before us, that it was not hard for an Englishman to comprehend the meaning of it.
“ The principal figures were placed in a row, consisting of seven persons. The middle figure, which immediately attracted the eyes of the whole company, and was much bigger than the rest, was formed like a matron, dressed in the habit of an elderly woman of quality in Queen Elizabeth's days. The most remarkable parts of her dress were, the beaver with a steeple crown, the scarf that was darker than sable, and the lawn apron that was whiter than ermine. Her gown was of the richest black velvet; and just upon her heart studded with large diamonds of an inestimable value, disposed in the form of a cross. She bore an inexpressible cheerfulness and dignity in her aspect; and, though she seemed in years, appeared with so much spirit and vivacity, as gave her at the same time an air of old age and immortality. I found my heart touched with so much love and reverence at the sight of her, that the tears ran down my face as I looked upon her ; and still the more I looked upon her, the more my heart was melted with the sentiments of filial tenderness and duty. I discovered every moment something so charming in this figure, that I could scarce take my eyes off it. On its right hand there sat the figure of a woman, so covered with ornaments, that her face, her body, and her hands, were almost entirely hid under them. The little you could see of her face was painted: and what I thought very odd, had something in it like artificial wrinkles; but I was the less surprised at it, when I saw upor her forehead an old-fashioned tower of grey hairs. Her head-dress rose very high by three several stories or degrees ; her garnients had a thousand colours in them, and were embroidered with crosses in gold, silver, and silk. She had nothing on, so much as a glove or a slipper, which was not marked with this figure; nay, so superstitiously fond did she appear of it, that she sat cross-legged. I was quickly sick of this tawdry composition of ribbands, silks, and jewels, and therefore cast my eye on a dame which was just the reverse of it. I need not tell my reader that the lady before described was Popery, or that she I am going to describe is Presbytery. She sat on the left-hand of the venerable matron, and so much resembled her in the features of her countenance, that she seemed her sister ; but at the same time that one observed a likeness in her beauty, one could not but take notice, that there'was something in it sickly and splenetic. Her face had enough to discover the relation : but it was drawn up into a peevish figure, soured with discontent, and overcast with melancholy
She seemed offended at the matron for the shape of her hat, as too much resembling the triple coronet of the person who sat by her. One might see likewise, that she dissented from the white apron and the cross ; for which reasons she had made herself a plain homely dowdy, and turned her face towards the sectaries that sat on her left
nd, as being afraid of looking upon the matron, lest she should see the harlot by her.
“On the right-hand of Popery sat Judaism, represented by an old man embroidered with phylacteries, and distinguished by many typical figures, which I had not skill enough to unriddle. placed among the rubbish of a temple ; but, instead of weeping over it, which I should have expected
from him, he was counting out a bag of money upon the ruins of it.
« On his right-hand was Deism, or Natural Religion. This was a figure of an half-naked aukward country wench, who, with proper ornaments and education, would have made an agreeable and beautiful appearance ; but, for want of those advantages, was such a spectacle as a man would blush to look upon.
I have now," continued my friend, “ given you an account of those who were placed on the righthand of the matron, and who, according to the order in which they sat, were Deism, Judaism, and Popery. On the left-hand, as I told you, appeared Presbytery. The next to her was a figure which somewhat puzzled me: it was that of a man looking, with horror in his eyes, upon a silver bason filled with water. Observing something in his countenance that looked like lunacy, I fancied at first, that he was to express that kind of distraction which the physicians call the hydro-phobia ; but considering what the intention of the show was, I immediately recollected myself, and concluded it to be Anabaptism.
“ The next figure was a man that sat under a most profound composure of mind. He wore an hat whose brims were exactly parallel with the horizon. His garment had neither sleeve nor skirt, nor so much as a superfluous button. What they called his cravat, was a little piece of white linen quilled with great exactness, and hanging below his chin about two inches.
Seeing a book in his hand, I asked our artist what it was ; who told me it was • The Quaker's Religion ;' upon which I desired a sight of it. Upon perusal, i found it to be nothing but a new-fashioned grammar, or an art of abridging ordinary discourse. The nouns were reduced to
a very small number, as the Light, Friend, Babylon. The principal of his pronouns was thou; and as for you, ye, and yours, I found they were not looked upon as parts of speech in this grammar. All the verbs wanted the second person plural; the participles ended all in ing or ed, which were marked with a particular accent. There were no adverbs besides yea and nay. The same thrift was observed in the prepositions. The conjunctions were only hem ! and ha! and the interjections brought under the three heads of sighing, sobbing, and groaning.
“ There was at the end of the grammar a little nomenclature, called, "The Christian Man's Vocabulary, which gave new appellations, or, if you will, Christian names, to almost every thing in life. I replaced the book in the hand of the figure, not without admiring the simplicity of its garb, speech, and behaviour.
“ Just opposite to this row of religions, there was a statue dressed in a fool's coat, with a cap of bells upon his head, laughing and pointing at the figures that stood before him. This ideot is supposed to say in his heart what David's fool did some thousands of years ago, and was therefore designed as a proper representative of those among us, who are called Atheists and Infidels by others, and Free-thinkers by themselves. « There were many
of figures which I did not know the meaning of; but seeing a collection of both sexes turning their backs upon the company, and laying their heads very close together, I inquired after their religion, and found that they called themselves the Philadelphians, or the family of love.
“ In the opposite corner there sat another little congregation of strange figures, opening their mouths as wide as they could gape, and distinguished by the title of the Sweet Singers of Israel.
“ I must not omit that in this assembly of wax there were several pieces that moved by clock-work, and gave great satisfaction to the spectators. Behind the matron there stood one of these figures, and behind Popery another, which, as the artist told us, were each of them the genius of the person they attended. That behind Popery represented Persecution, and the other Moderation. The first of these moved by secret springs towards a great heap of dead bodies, that lay piled upon one another at a considerable distance behind the principal figures. There were written on the foreheads of these dead men, several hard words, as, Pre-Adamites, Sabbatarians, Camaronians, Muggletonians, Brownists, Independants, Masonists, Comisars, and the like. At the approach of Persecution, it was so contrived, that as she held up her bloody flag, the whole assembly of dead men, like those in the · Rehearsal,' started up and drew their swords. This was followed by great clashings and noise, when, in the midst of the tumult, the figure of Moderation moved gently towards this new army, which, upon her holding up a paper in her hand, inscribed, Liberty of Conscience,' immediately fell into a heap of carcases, remaining in the same quiet posture in which they lay at first,