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preparative for sleep: it takes the mind down from its abstractions, leads it into the familiar traces of thought, and lulls it into that state of tranquillity which is the condition of a thinking inan when he is but half awake. After this, my reader will not be surprised to hear the account which I am about to give of a club of my own contemporaries, among whom I pass two or three hours every evening. This I look upon as taking my first nap before I go to bed. The truth of it is, I should think myself unjust to posterity, as well as to the society at the Trumpet, of which I am a member, did not I in some part of my writings give an account of the persons among whom I have passed almost a sixth part of my time for these last forty years. Our club consisted originally of fifteen; but partly by the severity of the law in arbitrary times, and partly by the natural effects of old age, we are at present reduced to a third part of that number: in which however we have this consolation, that the best company is said to consist of five persons. I must confess, besides the afore-mentioned benefit which I meet with in the conversation of this select society, I am not the less pleased with the company, in that I find myself the greatest wit among them, and am heard as their oracle in all points of learning and difficulty. . . .
Sir Jeoffrey Notch, who is the oldest of the club, has been in possession of the right-hand chair time out of mind, and is the only man among us that has the liberty of stirring the fire. This our foreman is a gentleman of an anțient family, that came to a great estate some years before he had discretion, and run it out in hounds, horses, and cock-fighting; for which reason he looks upon himself as an honest, worthy gen. tleman, who has had misfortunes in the world, and calls every thriving man a pitiful upstart.
Major Matchlock is the next senior, who served in the last civil wars, and has all the battles by heart. He does not think any action in Europe worth talking of since the fight of Marston-Moor; and every night tells Lis of his having been knocked off his horse at the rising of the London apprentices; for which he is in great esteem among us.
Honest old Dick Reptile is the third of our society. Ile is a good-natured indolent man, who speaks little himself, but laughs at our jokes; and brings his young nephew along with him, a youth of eighteen years old, to show him good company, and give him a taste of the world. This young fellow sits generally silent; but whenever he opens his mouth, or laughs at any thing that passes, he is constantly told by his uncle, after a jocular manner, . Ay, ay, Jack, you young men think us fools : but we old men know you are.'
The greatest wit of our company, next to myself, is a bencher of the neighbouring inn, who in his youth frequented the ordinaries about Charing-cross, and pretends to have been intimate with Jack Ogle. He has about ten distichs of Hludibras without book, and never leaves the club until he has applied them all. If any modern wit be mentioned, or any town frolic spoken of, he shakes his head at the dullness of the present age, and tells us a story of Jack Ogle.
For my own part, I am esteemed among them, because they see I am something respected by others; though at the same time I understand by their behaviour, that I am considered by them as a man of a great deal of learning, but no knowledge of the world;
insomuch that the major sometimes, in the height of his military pride, calls me the philosopher; and sir Jeoffrey, no longer ago than last night, upon a dispute what day of the month it was then in Holland, pulled his pipe out of his mouth, and cried, What does the scholar say to it?
Our club meets precisely at six of the clock in the evening; but I did not come last night until half an hour after seven, by which means I escaped the battle of Naseby, which the major usually begins at about three quarters after six. I found also that my good friend the bencher had already spent three of his distiehs; and only waited an opportunity to hear a sermon spoken of, that he might introduce the couplet where
a stick’rhimes to ecclesiastic,' At my entrance into the room, they were naming a red petticoat and a cloke; by which I found that the bencher had been diverting them with a story of Jack Ogle.
I had no sooner taken my seat, but sir Jeoffrey, to show his good-will towards me, gave me a pipe of his own tobacco, and stirred up the fire. I look upon it as a point of inorality, to be obliged by those who endeavour to oblige me; and therefore, in requital for his kindness, and to set the conversation a-going, I took the best occasion I could to put himn upon telling us the story of old Gantlett, which he always does with very particular concern. He traced up his descent on both sides for several generations, describing his diet and manner of life, with his several battles, and particularly that in which he fell. This Gantlett was a game cock, upon whose head the knight, in his youth, had won five hundred pounds, and lost two thousand. This naturally set the major upon the ac
count of Edgehill fight, and ended in a duel of Jack Ogle’s.
Old Reptile was extremely attentive to all that was said, though it was the same he had heard every night for these twenty years, and upon all occasions winked upon his nephew to mind what passed.
This may suffice to give the world a taste of our in'nocent conversation, which we spun out until about ten of the clock, when my maid came with a lantern to light me home. I could not but reflect with myself, as I was going out, upon the talkative humour of old men, and the little figure which that part of life makes in one who cannot employ his natural propensity in discourses which would make him venerable. I must own, it makes me very melancholy in company, when I hear a young man begin a story; and have often observed, that one of a quarter of an hour long in a man of five-and-twenty gathers circumstances every time he tells it, until it grows into a long Canterbury tale of two hours by that time he is threescore.
The only way of avoiding such a trifling and frivolous old age is, to lay up in our way to it such stores of knowledge and observations as may make us useful and agreeable in our declining years. The mind of man in a long life will become a magazine of wisdom or folly, and will consequently discharge itself in something impertinent or improving. For which reason, as there is nothing more ridiculous than an old trilling story-teller, so there is nothing more venerable than one who has turned his experience to the entertainment and advantage of mankind.
FRENCH COOKERY. No. 148.
I REMEMBER I was last summer invited to a friend's house, who is a great admirer of the French cookery, and, as the phrase is, - eats well. At our sitting down, I found the table covered with a great variety of unknown dishes. I was mightily at a loss to learn what they were, and therefore did not know where to help myself. That which stood before me I took to be a roasted porcupine; however, did not care for askjing questions, and have since been informed that it was only a larded turkey. I afterwards passed my eye over several hashes, which I do not know the name of to this day; and, hearing that they were delicacies, did not think fit to meddle with them.
Among other dainties, I saw something like a pheąsant, and therefore desired to be helped to a wing of it; but, to my great surprise, my friend told me it was a rabbit, which is a sort of meat I never cared-for. At last I discovered, with some joy, a pig at the lower end of the table, and begged a gentleman that was near it to cut me a piece of it. Upon which the gen-tleman of the house - said, with great civility, I am sure you will like the pig, for it was whipped to death. I must confess I heard himn with horror, and could not eat of an animal that had u ed so tragical a death. I was now in great hunger and confusion, when methought I smelled the agreeable savour of roast beef, : but could not tell from which dish it arose, though. I did not question but it lay disguised in one of them. Upon turning my head, I saw a noble sirloin on the side-table, smoking in the most delicious manner. I had recourse to it more than once, and could not see,