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company. I was extremely pleased, as we rid along, to observe the general benevolence of all the neighbourhood towards my friend. The farmers' sons thought themselves happy if they could open a gate for the good old knight as he passed by; which he generally requited with a nod or a smile, and a kind of inquiry after their fathers or uncles.
After we had rid about a mile from home, we came upon a large heath, and the sportsmen began to beat. They had done so for some time, when, as I was at a little distance from the rest of the company, I saw a hare pop out from a small furze-brake almost under my horse's feet. I marked the way she took, which I endeavoured to make the company sensible of by extending my arm ; but to no purpose, till sir Roger, who knows that none of my extraordinary motions are insignificant, rode up to me, and asked me, if puss was gone that way?' Upon my answering Yes, he immediately called in the dogs, and put them upon the scent. As they were going off, I heard one of the country-fellows muttering to his companion, that 'twas a wonder they had not lost all their sport, for want of the silent gentleman's crying Stole away,
This, with my aversion to leaping hedges, made me withdraw to a rising ground, from whence I could have the pleasure of the whole chace, without the fatigue of keeping in with the hounds. The hare immediately threw them above a mile behind her; but I was pleased to find, that instead of running straight forwards, or, in hunter's language, • flying the country,' as I was afraid she might have done, she wheeled about, and described a sort of circle round the hill where I had taken my station, in such manner as gaye me a very distinct view of the sport. I could see
her first pass by, and the dogs some time afterwards unravelling the whole track she had inade, and following her through all her doubles. I was at the same time delighted in observing that deference which the rest of the pack paid to each particular hound, according to the character he had acquired amongst them. If they were at a fault, and an old hound of reputation opened but once, he was immediately followed by the whole cry; while a raw 'dog, or one who was a noted liar, might have yelped his heart out without being taken notice of.
The hare now, after having squatted two or three times, and been put up again as often, came still nearer to the place where she was at first started. The dogs pursued her; and these were followed by the jolly knight, who rode upon a white gelding, encompassed by his tenants and servants, and cheering his hounds with all the gaiety of five-and-twenty. One of the sportsmen rode up to me, and told me, that he was sure the chace was almost at an end, because the old dogs, which had hitherto lain behind, now headed the pack. The fellow was in the right. Our hare took a large field just under us, followed by the full cry ' in view. I must confess the brightness of the weather, the cheerfulness of every thing around 'me, the chiding' of the hounds, which was returned upon us in a double echo from two neighbouring hills, with the hallooing of the sportsmen, and the sounding of the horn, lifted my spirits into a most lively pleasure, which I freely indulged because I was sure it was innocent. If I was under any concern, it was on the account of the poor hare, that was now quite spent, and almost within the reach of her enemies; when the huntsman getting forward threw down his pole before
the dogs. They were now within eight yards of that game which they had been pursuing for almost as many hours; yet on the signal before mentioned they all made a sudden stand, and, though they continued opening as much as before, durst not once attempt to pass beyond the pole. At the same time sir Roger rode forward, and, alighting, took up the hare in his arms; which he soon after delivered up to one of his servants, with an order, if she could be kept alive, to let her go in his great orchard; where it seems he has several of these prisoners of war, who live together in a very comfortable captivity. I was highly pleased to see the discipline of the pack, and the good-nature of the knight, who could not find in his heart to murder a creature that had given him so much diversion.
As we were returning home, I remembered that monsieur Pascal, in his most excellent discourse on the Misery of Man, tells us, that all our endeavours after greatness proceed from nothing but a desire of being surrounded by a multitude of persons and affairs that may hinder us from looking into ourselves, which is a view we cannot bear.' 'He afterwards goes on to show that our love of sports comes from the same reason, and is particularly severe upon hunting. "What,' says he, unless it be to drown thought, can make men throw away so much time and pains upon a silly animal, which they might buy cheaper in the market ?' The foregoing reflection is certainly just, when a man suffers his whole inind to be drawn into his sports, and altogether loses himself in the woods ; but does not affect those who propose a far more laudable end from this exercise, I mean, the preservation of health, and keeping all the organs of the soul in a condition to execute her orders.' Had that incom
parable parable person, whom I last quoted, been a little more indulgent to himself in this point, the world might probably have enjoyed him much longer; whereas through too great an application to his studies in his youth he contracted that ill habit of body, . which, after a tedious sickness, carried him off in the fortieth year of his age; and the whole history we have of his life till that time, is but one continued account of the behaviour of a noble soul struggling under innumerable pains and distempers.
For my own part, I intend to hunt twice a week during my stay with sir Roger; and shall prescribe the moderate use of this exercise to all my country friends, as the best kind of physic for mending a bad constitution, and preserving a good one.
I cannot do this better than in the following lines out of Mr. Dryden :
The first physicians by debauch were made ;
ON WITCHCRAFT. No. 117. THERE are some opinions in which a man should stand neuter, without engaging his assent to one side
or the other. Such a hovering faith as this, which refuses to settle upon any determination, is absolutely necessary in a mind that is careful to avoid errors and prepossessions. When the arguments press equally on both sides in matters that are indifferent to us, the safest method is to give up ourselves to neither.
It is with this temper of mind that I consider the subject of Witchcraft. When I hear the relations that are made from all parts of the world, not only from Norway and Lapland, from the East and West Indies, but from every particular nation in i urope, I cannot forbear thinking that there is such an intercourse and commerce with evil spirits as that which we express by the name of Witchcraft. But when I consider that the ignorant and credulous parts of the world abound most in these relations, and that the persons among us, who are supposed to engage in such an infernal commerce, are people of a weak understanding and crazed imagination, and at the same time reflect upon the many impostures and delusions of this nature that have been detected in all ages, I endeavour to suspend my belief till I hear more certain accounts than any which have yet come to my knowledge. In short, when I consider the question, whether there are such persons in the world as those we call witches, my mind is divided between the two oppofite opinions ; or rather (to speak my thoughts freely) I believe in general that there is, and has been, such a thing as witchcraft; but at the same time can give no credit to any particular instance of it.
I am engaged in this Speculation, by some occurrences that I met with yesterday, which I shall give my reader an account of at large. As I was walking with my friend sir Roger by the side of one of his