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very mischievous thing. When John came home, he found a more surprising scene than any he had yet met with, and that you will say was somewhat ex
traordinary. He called his cook-maid Betty to bespeak his dinner: Betty told him, “That she begged his pardon, “she could not dress dinner, till she knew what he “intended to do with his will.” “Why, Betty,” quoth John, “ thou art not run mad, art thou ? My “will at present is to have dinner.” “That may “be,” quoth Betty, “but my conscience won't allow “me to dress it, till I know whether you intend to “do righteous things by your heir 2" “I am sorry “for that, Betty,” quoth John, “I must find some“body else then.” Then he called John the barber. “Before I begin,” quoth John, “I hope your honour “won't be offended, if I ask you whether you intend “ to alter your will 2 If you won't give me a positive “answer, your beard may grow down to your mid“dle, for me.” “’Igad so it shall,” quoth Bull, “for I will never trust my throat in such a mad fel“low's hands. Where's Dick the butler o’” “Look “ye,” quoth Dick, “I am very willing to serve you “in my calling, dye see , but there are strange re“ ports, and plain dealing is best, dye see; I must “be satisfied if you intend to leave all to your “ nephew, and if Nic. Frog is still your executor, “ d'ye see; if you will not satisfy me as to these “ points, you may drink with the ducks.” “And so “I will,” quoth John, “rather than keep a butler that “loves my heir better than myself.” Hob the shoemaker, and Pricket the tailor, told him, “They “would most willingly serve him in their several “stations, if he would promise them never to talk with “with Lewis Baboon, and let Nicholas Frog, linen“ draper, manage his concerns; that they could nei“ther make shoes nor clothes to any, that were not “in good correspondence with their worthy friend “ Nicholas.” J. Bull. Call Andrew my journeyman. How go affairs, Andrew : I hope the devil has not taken possession of thy body too. ANDREw. No, sir; I only desire to know what you would do if you were dead. J. BULL. Just as other dead folks do, Andrew.— This is amazing! - [Aside. ANDR Ew. I mean if your nephew shall inherit your estate : J. Bull. That depends upon himself. I shall do nothing to hinder him. ANDREw. But will you make it sure ? J. Bull. Thou meanest, that I should put him in possession, for I can make it no surer without that; he has all the law can give him. ANDREw. Indeed possession, as you say, would make it much surer; they say, it is eleven points of the law.
[John began now to think that they were all enchanted; he inquired about the age of the moon; if Nic. had not given them some intoxicating potion, or if old mother Jeniša was still alive : “No, o' my “faith,” quoth Harry, “I believe there is no potion “ in the case, but a little aurum pot-bile. You will “ have more of this by and by.” He had scarce spoke the word, when another friend of John's accosted him after the following manner:
“Since those worthy persons, who are as much
“concerned for your safety as I am, have employed “me as their orator, I desire to know whether you “will have it by way of syllogism, enthymem, di“ lemma, or Sorites.”
John now began to be diverted with their extravagance.]
J. BULL. Let's have a sorites by all means; though they are all new to me. FRIEND. It is evident to all, who are versed in history, that there were two sisters that played the whore two thousand years ago: therefore it plainly follows, that it is not lawsul for John Bull to have any manner of intercourse with Lewis Baboon : if it is not lawful for John Bull to have any manner of intercourse (correspondence if you will, that is much the same thing), then à fortiori, it is much more unlawful for the said John to make over his wife and children to the said Lewis: if his wife and children are not to be made over, he is not to wear a dagger and ratsbane in his pockets: if he wears a dagger and ratsbane, it must be to do mischief to himself or somebody else: if he intends to do mischief, he ought to be under guardians, and there is none so fit as myself, and some other worthy persons, who have a commission for that purpose from Nic. Frog, the executor of his will and testament. J. Bull. And this is your Sorites, you say * With that he snatched a good tough oaken cudgel, and began to brandish it; then happy was the man, that was first at the door; crowding to get out, they tumbled down stairs; and it is credibly reported some of them dropped very valuable things in the hurry, which were picked up by others of the family. “ That “That any of these rogues,” quoth John, “should “imagine, I am not as much concerned as they about “ having my affairs in a settled condition, or that I “would wrong my heir for I know not what Well, “Nic, I really cannot but applaud thy diligence; I “must own this is really a pretty sort of a trick, but “it shan’t do thy business for all that.”
How Lewis Baboon came to visit John Bull, and what passed between them *.
[I think it is but ingenuous to acquaint the reader, that this chapter was not written by Sir Humphry himself, but by another very able pen of the university of Grub street.]
Jon N had (by some good instructions given him by sir Roger) got the better of his cholerick temper, and wrought himself up to a great steadiness of mind, to pursue his own interest through all impediments that were thrown in the way: he began to leave off some of his old acquaintance, his roaring and bullying about the streets; he put on a serious air, knit his brows, and, for the time, had made a very considerable progress in politicks, considering that he had been kept a stranger to his own affairs. However, he could not help discovering some remains of his nature, when he happened to meet with a football, or a match at cricket; for which sir Roger was sure to take him to task. John was walking about his room, with folded arms, and a most thoughtful countenance: his servant brought him word, that one Lewis Baboon below wanted to speak with him. John had got an impression, that Lewis was so deadly cunning a man, that he was afraid to venture himself alone with him : at last he took heart of grace : “Let him come up,” quoth he “it is but sticking to my point, and he “can never overreach me.” Lewis BAboon. Monsieur Bull, I will frankly acknowledge, that my behaviour to my neighbours has been somewhat uncivil, and I believe you will readily grant me, that I have met with usage accordingly. I was fond of backsword and cudgeplay from my youth, and I now bear in my body many a black and blue gash and scar, God knows. I had as good a warehouse, and as fair possessions, as any of my neighbours, though I say it; but a contentious temper, flattering servants, and unfortunate stars, have brought me into circumstances that are not unknown to you. These my misfortunes are heightened by domestick calamities. That I need not relate. I am a poor battered old fellow, and I would willingly end my days in peace: but, alas! I see but small hopes of that ; for every new circumstance affords an argument to my enemies, to pursue their revenge ; formerly I was to be banged, because I was too strong, and now because I am too weak to resist ; I am to be brought down when too rich, and oppressed when too poor. Nic. Frog has used me like a scoundrel; you are a gentleman, and I freely put myself in your hands, to dispose of me as you think fit. J. BULL. Look you, master Baboon, as to your Vol. XVII. S usage
* Private negotiations about Dunkirk. a match