« ZurückWeiter »
violation of the person's honour who received it. Mr. Heedless replied, that what he had done was out of kindness to the Prosecutor, as not thinking it proper for him to appear at the head of the trainedbands with a feather upon his shoulder;' and farther added, “ that the stick he had made use of on this occasion was so very small, that the prosecutor could not have felt it had he broken it on his shoulders.' The Censor hereupon directed the jury to examine into the nature of the staff, for that a great deal would depend upon that particular. Upon which he explained to them the different degrees of offence that might be given by the touch of crabtree from that of a cane, and by the touch of cane from that of a plain hazle-stick. The jury, after a short perusal of the staff, declared their opinion by the mouth of their foreman, • that the substance of the staff was British oak.' The Censor then ob.. serving that there was some dust on the skirts of the criminal's coat, ordered the prosecutor to beat it off with the aforesaid oaken plant; and thus,' said the Censor, “ I shall decide this cause by the law of retaliation. If Mr. Heedless did the Colonel a good office, the Colonel will by this means return it in kind; but if Mr. Heedless should at any time boast that he had cudgelled the Colonel, or laid his staff over his shoulders, the Colonel might boast, in his turn, that he has brushed Mr. Heedless's jacket, or, to use the phrase of an ingenious author, that he has rubbed him down with an oaken towel.'
Benjamin Busy, of London, merchant, was indicted by Jasper Tattle, Esquire, for having pulled out his watch, and looked upon it thrice, while the said Esquire Tattle was giving him an account of the funeral of the said Esquire Tattle's first wife. The prisoner alleged in his defence, that he was going to buy stocks at the time when he met the prosecutor ; and that, during the story of the prosecutor, the said stocks rose above two per cent. to the great detriment of the prisoner. The prisoner farther brought several witnesses to prove that the said Jasper Tattle, esquire, was a most notorious story-teller; that, before he met the prisoner, he had hindered one of the prisoner’s acquaintance from the pursuit of his lawful business, with the account of his second marriage; and that he had detained another by the button of his coat that very morning, until he had heard several witty sayings and contrivances of the prosecutor's eldest son, who was a boy of about five years of age. Upon the whole matter, Mr. Bickerstaff dismissed the accusation as frivolous, and sentenced the prosecutor “to pay damages to the prisoner, for what the prisoner had lost by giving him so long and patient a hearing. He farther reprimanded the prosecutor very severely, and told him, * that if he proceeded in his usual manner to interrupt the business of mankind, he would set a fine upon him for every quarter of an hour's impertinence, and regulate the said fine according as the time of the person so injured should appear to be more or less precious.'
Sir Paul Swash, knight, was indicted by Peter Double, gentleman, for
not returning the bow which he received of the said Peter Double, on Wednesday the sixth instant, at the playhouse in the Haymarket. The prisoner denied the receipt of any such bow, and alleged in his defence, that the prosecutor would oftentimes look full in his face, but that when he bowed to the said prosecutor, he would take no notice of it, or bow to somebody else that sat quite on the other side of him. He likewise alleged, that several ladies had complained of the prosecutor, who, after ogling them a quarter of an hour, upon their making a courtesy to him, would not re
turn the civility of a bow. The Censor observing several glances of the prosecutor's eye, and perceiving that when he talked to the court he looked upon the jury, found reason to suspect there was a wrong cast in his sight, which, upon examination, proved true. The Censor therefore ordered the prisoner, that he might not produce any more confusions in public assemblies, 'never to bow to any body whom he did not at the same time call to by name.'
Oliver Bluff and Benjamin Browbeat were indicted for going to fight a duel since the erection of 'The Court of Honour. It appeared, that they were both taken up in the street as they passed by the court in their way to the fields behind Montaguehouse. The criminals would answer nothing for themselves, but that they were going to execute a challenge which had been made a week before the
Court of Honour' was erected. The Censor finding some reason to suspect, by the sturdiness of their behaviour, that they were not so very brave as they would have the court believe them, ordered them both to be searched by the grand jury, who found a breast-plate upon the one, and two quires of paper upon the other. The breast-plate was immediately ordered to be hung upon a peg over Mr. Bickerstaff's tribunal, and the paper to be laid upon the table for the use of his clerk. He then ordered the criminals to button up their bosoms, and, if they pleased, proceed to their duel. Upon which they both went very quietly out of the court, and retired to their respective lodgings.—' The Court then adjourned until after the holidays.' Copia vera.
N° 266. THURSDAY, DECEMBER 21, 1710.
Rideat et pulset lasciva decentiùs ætas.
Hor. 2 Epis. ii. ult.
From my own Apartment, December 20. It would be a good appendix to ' The Art of Living and Dying,' if any one would write “ The Art of growing Old,' and teach men to resign their pretensions to the pleasures and gallantries of youth, in proportion to the alteration they find in themselves by the approach of age and infirmities. The infirmities of this stage of life would be much fewer, if we did not affect those which attend the more vigorous and active part of our days; but instead of studying to be wiser, or being contented with our present follies, the ambition of many of us is also to be the same sort of fools we formerly have been. I have often argued, as I am a professed lover of women, that our sex grows old with a much worse grace than the other does; and have ever been of opinion, that there are more well-pleased old women than old men.
I thought it a good reason for this, that the ambition of the fair sex being confined to advantageous marriages, or shining in the eyes of men, their parts were over sooner, and consequently the errors in the performance of them. The conversation of this evening has not convinced me of the contrary; for one or two top-women shall not make a balance for the crowd of coxcombs among ourselves, diversified according to the different pursuits of ple asure and business.
Returning home this evening, a little before my usual hour, I scarce had seated myself in my easy chair, stirred the fire, and stroked my cat, but I heard somebody come rumbling up stairs. I saw my door opened, and a human figure advancing towards me, so fantastically put together, that it was some minutes before I discovered it to be my old and intimate friend Sam Trusty. Immediately I rose up, and placed him in my own seat; a compliment I pay to few. The first thing he uttered was, 'Isaac, fetch me a cup of your cherry-brandy before you offer to ask any question.'
He drank a lusty draught, sat silent for some time, and at last broke out; 'I am come,' quoth he,' to insult thee for an old fantastic dotard, as thou art, in ever defending the women. I have this evening visited two widows, who are now in that state I have often heard you call an after-life; I suppose you mean by it, an existence which grows out of past entertainments, and is an untimely delight in the satisfactions which they once set their hearts upon too much to be ever able to relinquish. Have but patience, continued he, ‘until I give you a succinct account of my ladies, and of this night's adventure. They are much of
different in their characters. The one of them, with all the advances which years have made upon her, goes on in a certain romantic road of love and friendship which she fell into in her teens; the other has transferred the amorous passions of her first years to the love of cronies, petts, and favourites, with which she is always surrounded; but the genius of each of them will best appear by the account of what happened to me at their houses. About five this afternoon, being tired with study, the weather inviting, and time lying a little upon my hands, I resolved, at the instigation of my evil genius, to visit them; their husbands having been