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and bankruptcy, in many of the shop-statesmen; but turn the imaginations of those of a little bigber orb into deliriums of dissatisfaction, which is seen in a continual fret upon all that touches their brains, but more particularly upon any advantage obtained by their country, where they are considered as lunatics, and therefore tolerated in their ravings.
What I am now warning the people of is, that the news-papers of this island are as pernicious to weak heads in England, as ever books of chivalry to Spain; and therefore shall do all that in me lies, with the utmost care and vigilance imaginable, to prevent these growing evils. A flaming instance of this malady appeared in my old acquaintance at this time, who, after he had done reading all his papers, ended with a thoughtful air, “ If we should have a peace, we should then know for certain whether it was the king of Sweden that lately came to Dunkirk." I whispered him, and desired him to step aside a little with me. When I had opportunity, I decoyed him into a coach, in order for his more easy conveyance to Moorfields. The man went very quietly with me; and by that time he had brought the Swede from the defeat by the czar to the Borysthenes, we were passing by Will's coffee house, where the man of the house beckoned to us.
We made a full stop, and could hear from above a very loud voice swearing, with some expressions towards treason, that the subject in France was as free as in England. His distemper would not let him reflect, that his own discourse was an argument of the contrary. They told bim, one would speak with him below. He came immediately to our coach-side. I whispered him, " that I had an order to carry him to the Bastile.” He immediately obeyed with great resignation : for to this sort of kunatic, whose brain is touched for the French, the name of a gaol in that kingdom has a more agreeable sound, than that of a paternal seat in this their own country. It happened a little unluckily bringing these lunatics together, for they immediately fell into a debate concerning the greatness of their respective monarchs; one for the king of Sweden, tbe other for the grand monarque of France. This gentleman from Will's is now next door to the upholsterer, safe in his apartment in my Bedlam, with proper medicaments, and the Mercure Gallant to soothe his imagination that he is actually in France: If therefore he should escape to Coventgarden again, all persons are desired to lay hold of him, and deliver him to Mr. Morphew, my overseer. At the same time, I desire all true subjects to forbear discourse with him, any otherwise than, when he begins to fight a battle for France, to say, “ Sir, I hope to see you in England.”
No 179. SATURDAY, JUNE 1, 1710.
-Oh! quis me gelidis in vallibus Hemi
Virg. Georg. ii. 488.
From my own Apartment, May 31,
In this parched season, next to the pleasure of going into the country, is that of hearing from it, and
partaking the joys of it in description; as in the following letter:
“I believe you will forgive me, though I write to you a very long epistle; since it relates to the satisfaction of a country life, which I know you
would lead, if you could. In the first place I must confess to you, that I am one of the most luxurious men live ing; and as I am such, I take care to make my pleasures lasting, by following none but such as are innocent and refined, as well as, in some measure, improving. You have in your labours been so much concerned to represent the actions and passions of mankind, that the whole vegetable world has almost escaped your observation : but sure there are gratifications to be drawn from thence, which deserve to be recommended. For your better inforination, I wish
old friend in Cornwall. You would be pleased to see the many alterations. I have made about my house, and how much I have improved my estate without raising the rents of it.
“ As the winter engrosses with us near a double portion of the year, the three delightful vicissitudes being crowded almost within the space of six months, there is nothing upon which I have bestowed so much study and expense, as in contriving, means to soften the severity of it, and, if possible, to establish twelve cheerful months about my babitation. In order to this, the charges I have been at in building and furnishing a greenhouse will, perhaps, be thought somewhat extravagant by a great many gentlemen whose revenues exceed mine. But when I consider, that all men of any
life and spirit have their inclinations to gratify; and when I compute the sums laid out by the generality of the men of pleasure, in the number of which I always rank myself, in riotous eating and drinking, in equipage and apparel, upon wenching, gaming, racing, and hunting; I find, upon the balance, that the indulging of my humour comes at a reasonable rate.
“ Since I communicate to you all incidents serious and trifling, even to the death of a butterfly, that fall out within the compass of my little empire; you will not, I hope, be ill pleased with the draught I now send you of my little winter paradise, and with an account of my way of amusing myself and others in it.
“ The younger Pliny, you know, writes a long letter to his friend Gallus, in which he gives biin a very particular plan of the situation, the conveniences, and the agreeableness of his villa. In my last, you may remember, I promised you something of this kind. Had Pliny lived in a northern climate, I doubt not but we should have found a very complete orangery among his epistles; and I probably, should have copied his model, instead of building after my own fancy, and you had been referred to him for the history of my late exploits in architecture: by which means my performances would have made a better figure, at least in writing, than they are like to make at present.
“ The area of my green-house is a hundred paces long, fifty broad, and the roof thirty feet high. The wall toward the porth is of solid stone, On the south side, and at both the ends, the stone-work rises but three feet from the ground; excepting the pilasters, placed at convenient distances to strengthen and beautify the building. The intermediate spaces are filled up with large sashes of the strongest and most transparent glass. The middle sash, which is wider than any of the other, serves for the entrance; to which you mount by sis easy steps, and descend on the inside by as many. This opens and shuts with greater ease, keeps the wind out better, and is at the same time more uniform, than folding-doors.
“In the middle of the roof there runs a ceiling thirty feet broad from one end to the other. This is enlivened by a masterly pencil, with all the variety of rural scenes and prospects, which he has peopled with the whole tribe of sylvan deities. Their characters and their stories are so well expressed, that the whole seems a collection of all the most beautiful fables of the ancient poets translated into colours. The remaining spaces of the roof, ten feet on each side of the ceiling, are of the clearest glass, to let in the sky and clouds from above. The building points full east and west, so that I enjoy the sun while he is above the horizon. His rays are improved through the glass; and I receive through it what is desirable in a winter's sky without the coarse allay of the season, which is a kind of shifting or straining the weather. My greens and flowers are as sensible as I am of this benefit. They flourish and look cheerful as in the spring, while their fellow creatures abroad are starved to death. I must add, that a moderate expense of fire, over and above the contribution I receive from the sun, serves to keep this large room in a due temperature: it being sheltered from the cold winds by a hill on the north, and a wood on the east.
“ The shell you see, is both agreeable and convenient; and now you shall judge, whether I have laid out the floor to advantage. There goes through the whole length of it a spacious walk of the finest gravel, made to bind and unite so firmly that it seenis one continued stone: with this advantage, that it is easier to the foot, and better for walking