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No. 497. vulgar Minds more substantial. His Business was very
never affronted with a Request of a familiar daily Visitant
Man had as much Care upon him, and as much Honour to lose as himself. Every Officer could answer for what pass'd where he was, and the General's Presence was never necessary any where but where he had placed himself at the first Disposition, except that Accident happen'd from extraordinary Efforts of the Enemy which he could not foresee; but it was remarkable that it never fell out from Failure in his own Troops. It must be confess'd, the World is just so much out of Order, as an unworthy Person possesses what should be in the Direction of him who has better Pretensions to it.
Instead of such a Conduct as this old Fellow used to describe in his General, all the Evils which have ever happen'd among Mankind have arose from the wanton Disposition of the Favours of the Powerful. It is gener ally all that Men of Modesty and Virtue can do to fall in with some whimsical Turn in a Great Man, to make Way for Things of real and absolute Service. In the Time of Don Sebastian of Portugal, or some Time since, the first Minister would let Nothing come near him but what bore the most profound Face of Wisdom and Gravity. They carried it so far, that, for the greater Shew of their profound Knowledge, a Pair of Spectacles, tied on their Noses with a black Ribband round their Heads, was what compleated the Dress of those who made their Court at
his Levee, and none with naked Noses were admitted to No. 497. his Presence. A blunt honest Fellow, who had a Com Tuesday, mand in the Train of Artillery, had attempted to make an
1712. Impression upon the Porter, Day after Day, in vain, 'till at length he made his Appearance in a very thoughtful dark Suit of Cloaths, and
two Pair of Spectacles on at once. He was conducted from Room to Room, with great
Deference, to the Minister, and carrying on the Farce of the Place, he told his Excellence, That he had pretended in this Manner to be wiser than he really was, but with no ill Intention; but he was honest Such-a-one of the Train, and he came to tell him that they wanted Wheel-barrows and Pick-axes. The Thing happened not to displease, the great Man was seen to smile, and the successful Officer was reconducted with the same profound Ceremony out of the House,
When Leo the Tenth reigned Pope of Rome, his Holiness, tho' a Man of Sense, and of an excellent Taste of Letters, of all Things affected Fools, Buffoons, Humorists, and Coxcombs: Whether it were from Vanity, and that he enjoyed no Talents in other Men but what were inferior to him, or whatever it was, he carried it so far, that his whole Delight was in finding out new Fools, and, as our Phrase is, playing them off, and making them shew themselves to Advantage. A Priest of his former Acquaintance suffered a great many Disappointments in attempting to find Access to him in a regular Character, 'till at last in Despair he retired from Rome, and returned in an Equipage so very phantastical, both as to the Dress of himself and Servants, that the whole Court were in an Emulation who should first introduce him to his Holiness. What added to the Expectation his Holiness had of the Pleasure he should have in his Follies, was, that this Fellow, in a Dress the most exquisitely ridiculous, desired he might speak to him alone, for he had Matters of the highest Importance, upon which he wanted a Conference. Nothing could be denied to a Coxcomb of so great Hope but when they were a-part, the Impostor revealed himself
, and spoke as follows.
Do not be surprized, most holy Father, at Seeing, in
No. 497. stead of a Coxcomb to laugh at, your old Friend, who has Tuesday, taken this Way of Access to admonish you of your own Sept. 30,
Folly. Can any Thing shew your Holiness how un. 1712.
worthily you treat Mankind, more than my being put upon this Difficulty to speak with you? It is a Degree of Folly to delight to see it in others, and it is the greatest Insolence imaginable to rejoyce in the Disgrace of humane Nature. It is a criminal Humility in a Person of your Holiness's Understanding, to believe you cannot excel but in the Conversation
of Half-wits, Humourists, Coxcombs, and Buffoons. If your Holiness has a Mind to be diverted like a rational Man, you have a great oppor tunity for it, in disrobing all the Impertinents you have favoured of all their Riches and Trappings at once, and bestowing them on the Humble, the Virtuous, and the Meek. If your Holiness is not concerned for the Sake of Virtue and Religion, be pleased to reflect, that for the Sake of your own Safety it is not proper to be so very much in Jest. When the Pope is thus merry, the People will in Time begin to think many Things, which they have hitherto beheld with great Veneration, are in themselves Objects of Scorn and Derision. If they once get a Trick of knowing how to laugh, your Holiness's saying this Sentence in one Night-cap and t'other with the other, the Change of your Slippers, bringing you your Staff in the Midst of a Prayer, then stripping you of one Vest and clapping on a second, during Divine Service, will be found out to have Nothing in it. Consider, Sir, that at this Rate a Head will be reckoned never the wiser for being bald; and the Ignorant will be apt to say, that going barefoot does not at all help on in the Way to Heaven. The red Cap and the Coul will fall under the same Contempt; and the Vulgar will tell us to our Faces, that we shall have no Authority over them but from the Force of our Arguments and the Sanctity of our lives.
No. 498. [STEELE]
Wednesday, October 1.
day, -Frustra retinacula tendens
October 1, Fertur equis auriga, neque audit currus habenas,
Devereaux-Court, Monday Evening, 28 Minutes and
that I have seen a Hackney-Coachman, when he has come to set down his Fare, which has consisted of two or three very fine Ladies, hand them out, and salute every one of them with an Air of Familiarity, without giving the least Offence, you would perhaps think me guilty of a Gasconade. But to clear my self from that Imputation, and to explain this Matter to you, I assure you that there are many illustrious Youths within this City, who frer quently recreate themselves by driving of a Hackney Coach: But those whom, above all others, I would recommend to you, are the young Gentlemen belonging to our Inns of Court. We have, I think, about a dozen Coachmen, who have Chambers here in the Templ: ; and as it is reasonable to believe others will follow their Example, we may perhaps in Time, (if it shall be thought convenient) be drove to Westminster by our own Fraternity, allowing every fifth Person to apply his Meditations this way, which is but a modest Computation as the Humour is now likely to take. It is to be hoped likewise, that there are in the other Nurseries of the Law to be found a proportionable Number of these hopeful Plants, springing up to the everlasting Renown of their native Country. Of how long standing this Humour has been, I know not; the first Time I had any particular Reason to take Notice of it was about this Time Twelvemonth, when, being upon Hampstead Heath with some of these studious young Men, who went thither purely for the Sake of Contemplation, Nothing would serve them but I must go through a Course of this
No. 498. Philosophy too; and being ever willing to embellish Wedges
my self with any commendable Qualification, it was day, October 1,
not long e'er they perswaded me into the Coach-box; 1712.
nor indeed much longer before I underwent the fate of my brother Phaeton, for having drove about fifty Paces with pretty good Success, through my own natural Sagacity, together with the good Instructions of my Tutors, who, to give them their Due, were on all Hands encouraging and assisting me in this laudable Under taking; I say, Sir, having drove about fifty Paces with pretty good Success, I must needs be exercising the Lash, which the Horses resented so ill from my Hands, that they gave a sudden Start, and thereby pitched me directly upon my Head, as I
well remembered about Half an Hour afterwards, which not only deprived me of all the know ledge I had gain'd for fifty Yards before, but had like to have broken my Neck into the Bargain. After such a severe Reprimand, you may imagine I was not very easily prevail'd with to make a second Attempt; and indeed, upon mature Deliberation, the whole Science seemed, at least to me, to be surrounded with so many Difficulties, that notwithstanding the unknown Advantages which might have accrued to me thereby, I gave over all Hopes of attaining it, and I believe had never thought of it more, but that my Memory has been lately refreshed by seeing some of these ingenious Gentlemen ply in the open Streets, one of which I saw receive so suitable a Reward to his Labours, that tho' I know you are no Friend to Story-telling, yet I must beg Leave to trouble you with this at large.
About a Fortnight since, as I was diverting my self with a Pennyworth of Wallouts at the Temple-Gate, a lively young Fellow in a Fustian Jacket shot by me, beckon'd a Coach, and told the Coachman he wanted to go as far as Chelsey: They agreed upon the Price, and this
young Gentleman mounts the Coach-box; the Fellow staring at him, desired to know if he should not drive 'till they were out of Town? No, no, reply'd he: He was then going to climb up to him, but receiv'd another Check, and was then ordered to get into the Coach, or behind it, for that he wanted no Instructors; but be sure, you Dog