Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

CHAP. VII.

How John Bull was so mightily pleased with his success, that he was going to leave off his trade, and turn

lawyer.

It is wisely observed by a great philosopher, that habit is a second nature: this was verified in the case of John Bull, who, from an honest and plain tradesman, had got such a haunt about the courts of justice, and such a jargon of law-words, that he concluded himself as able a lawyer as any that pleaded at the bar, or sat on the bench: he was overheard one day talking to himself after this manner * : “How ca“priciously does fate or chance dispose of mankind? “How seldom is that business allotted to a man, for “which he is fitted by nature ? It is plain, I was in“tended for a man of law: how did my guardians “mistake my genius, in placing me, like a mean “slave, behind a counter Bless me ! what immense “estates these fellows raise by the law Besides, it is “the profession of a gentleman. What a pleasure is it “ to be victorious in a cause to swagger at the bar? “Whata fool am I to drudge any more in this woollen “trade 2 for a lawyer I was born, and a lawyer I will “be; one is never too old to learn.” All this while John had conned over such a catalogue of hard words, as were enough to conjure up the devil; this he used to babble indifferently in all companies, especially at

* The manners and sentiments of the nation became extravagant and chimerical.

Vol. XVII. L coffee

coffeehouses; so that his neighbour tradesmen began to shun his company, as a man that was cracked. Instead of the affairs of Blackwell-hall, and the price of broad cloth, wool, and baizes, he talks of nothing but actions upon the case, returns, capias, alias capias, demurrers, venire facias, replevins, supersedeases, certioraris, writs of errour, actions of trover and conversion, trespasses, precipes and dedimus. This was matter of jest to the learned in law; however, Hocus, and the rest of the tribe, encouraged John in his fancy, assuri g him, that he had a great genius for law ; that they questioned not, but in time he might raise money enough by it to reimburse him all his charges; that if he studied, he would undoubtedly arrive to the dignity of a lord chief justice “: as for the advice of honest friends and neighbours, John despied it; he looked upon them as fellows of a low genius, poor grovelling mechanicks; John reckoned it more honour to have got one favourable verdict, than to have sold a bale of broad cloth. As for Nic. Frog, to say the truth, he was more prudent; for though he followed his lawsuit closely, he neglected not his ordinary business, but was both in court and in his shop at the proper hours.

* Hold the balance of power.

CHAP.

CHAP. VIII.

How John discovered that Hocus had an intrigue with His wife; and what followed thereupon.

OHN had not run on a madding so long, had it not been for an extravagant bitch of a wife, whom Hocus perceiving John to be fond of, was resolved to win over to his side. It is a true saying, “ that the “last man of the parish, that knows of his cuck“oldom, is himself.” It was observed by all the neighbourhood, that Hocus had dealings with John's wife “, that were not so much for his honour; but this was perceived by John a little too late; she was a luxurious jade, loved splendid equipages, plays, treats, and balls, differing very much from the sober manners of her ancestors, and by no means fit for a tradesman's wife. Hocus fed her extravagancy (what was still more shameful) with John's own money. Every body said, that Hocus had a month's mind to her body; be that as it will, it is matter of fact, that upon all occasions she run out extravagantly on the praise of Hocus. When John used to be finding fault with his bills, she used to reproach him as ungrateful to his greatest benefactor; one that had taken so much pains in his lawsuit, and retrieved his family from the oppression of old Lewis Baboon. A good swingeing sum of John's readiest cash went to

* And it was believed that the general tampered with the par

liament, o I, 2 ward

ward building of Hocus's country-house *. This af. fair between Hocus and Mrs. Bull was now so open, that all the world were scandalised at it; John was not so clodpated, but at last he took the hint. The parson of the parish preaching one day with more zeal than sense against adultery f, Mrs Bull told her husband, that he was a very uncivil fellow to use such coarse language before people of condition; that Hocus was of the same mind; and that they would join to have hin turned out of his living for using personal reflections f. How do you mean, says John, by personal reflections? I hope in God, wife, he did not reflect upon you? “No, thank God, my reputa“tion is too well established in the world to receive “any hurt from such a foul-mouthed scoundrel as he: “ his doctrine tends only to make husbands tyrants, “ and wives slaves; must we be shut up, and hus“ bands left to their liberty Very pretty indeed! “ a wife must never go abroad with a Platonick to “ see a play or a ball; she must never stir without “ her husband, nor walk in Spring-garden with a “ cousin. I do say, husband, and I will stand by it, “ that without the innocent freedoms of life, matri

* who settled upon him the manor of Woodstock, and afterward entailed that, with 5oool. per annum, payable out of the post-office, to descend with his honours; over and above this, an immense sum was expended in building Blenheim-house. About this time (Nov. 6, 17og)

+ Dr. Henry Sacheverell preached a sermon against popular resistance of regal authority.

*

t The house of commons voted his sermon a libel on her majesty and her government, the revolution, the protestant successson, and the Parliament: they impeached him of high crimes and misdemeanours; he was silenced for three years, and the sermon burnt by the hangman.

“mony | tumult and riot. § The confusion every day increased; the whig or low church

“mony would be a most intolerable state; and that “a wife's virtue ought to be the result of her own “reason, and not of her husband's government; for “my part, I would scorn a husband that would be “jealous, if he saw a fellow a bed with me *.” All this while, John's blood boiled in his veins: he was now confirmed in all his suspicions; jade, bitch, and whore were the best words that John gave her f. Things went from better to worse, till Mrs. Bull aimed a knife i at John, though John threw a bottle || at her head very brutally indeed: and after this there was nothing but confusion; bottles, glasses, spoons, plates, knives, forks, and dishes flew about like dust $ 5 the result of which was, that Mrs. Bull received a bruise s in her right side, of which she died half a year after. The bruise imposthumated, and afterward turned to a stinking ulcer, which made every body shy to come near her; yet she wanted not the help of many able physicians, who attended very diligently, and did what men of skill could do: but all to no purpose, for her condition was now quite desperate, all regular physicians, and her nearest relations, ha

ving given her over.

• These proceedings caused a great ferment in the nation. + The house complained of being aspersed and vilified; opprobrious terms were used by both parties, and one had re

Course to f military power, because it was assaulted by the other with

party in the house of commons began to decline. After much

contention and debate
4, the Parliament was prorogued,

L 3 CHAP.

« AnteriorContinuar »