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but all have hitherto proved ineffectual. I have therefore, by midnight watchings and much care, found out, that there is no way to save him from the jaws of his hounds, but to destroy the pack, which by astrological prescience, I find I am destined to perform. For which end I have sent out my familiar, to bring me a list of all the places where they are harboured, that I may know where to sound my horn, and bring them together, and take an account of their haunts and their marks, against another opportunity.
Will's Coffee-house, August 24. • The author of the ensuing letter, by his name, and the quotations he makes from the ancients, seems a sort of spy from the old world, whom we moderns ought to be careful of offending; therefore I must be free, and own it a fair hit where he takes me, rather than disoblige him.
• Having a peculiar humour of desiring to be somewhat the better or wiser for what I read, I am always uneasy when, in any profound writer, for I read no others, I happen to meet with what I cannot understand. When this falls out, it is a great grievance to me that I am not able to consult the author himself about his meaning, for commentators are a sect that have little share in my esteem: your elaborate writings have, among many others, this advantage; that their author is still alive, and ready, as his extensive charity makes us expect, to explain whatever may be found in them too sublime for vulgar understandings. This, sir, makes me presume to ask you, how the Hampstead hero's character could be perfectly new when the last letters came away, and yet sir John Suckling so well
acquainted with it sixty years ago ? I hope, sir, you will not take this amiss : I can assure you, I have a profound respect for you, which makes me write this with the same disposition with which Longinus bids us read Homer and Plato. When in reading, says he, any of those celebrated authors, we meet with a passage to which we cannot well reconcile our reasons, we ought firmly to believe, that were those great wits present to answer for themselves, we should to our wonder be convinced, that we only are guilty of the mistakes we before attributed to them. If you think fit to remove the scruple that now torments me, it will be an encouragement to me to settle a frequent correspondence with you; several things falling in my way which would not, perhaps, be altogether foreign to your purpose, and whereon your thoughts would be very acceptable to your most humble servant,
I own this is clean, and Mr. Greenhat has convinced me that I have writ nonsense, yet am I not at all offended at him. Scimus, et hanc veniam petimusque damusque vicissim.
Hor. Ars Poet. ver, 11. I own th'indulgence--Such I give and take.'
FRANCIS. This is the true art of raillery, when a man turns another into ridicule, and shews at the same time he is in good humour, and not urged on by malice against the person he rallies. Obadiah Greenhat has hit this very well: for to make an apology to Isaac Bickerstaff, an unknown student and horary historian, as well as astrologer, and with a grave face to say, he speaks of him by the same rules with which he would treat Homer or Plato, is to
place him in company where he cannot expect to make a figure; and make him flatter himself, that it is only being named with them which renders him most ridiculous.
I have not known, and I am now passed my grand climacteric, being sixty-four years of age, according to my way of life; or rather, if you will allow punning in an old gentleman, according to my way of pastime : I say, as old as I am, I have not been acquainted with many of the Greenhats. There is, indeed, one Zedekiah Greenhat, who is lucky also in his way. He has a very agreeable manner; for when he has a mind thoroughly to correct a man, he never takes from him any thing, but he allows him something for it; or else he blames him for things wherein he is not defective, as well as for matters wherein he is. This makes a weak man believe he is in jest in the whole. The other day he told Beau Prim, who is thought impotent, " that his mistress had declared she would not have him, because he was a sloven, and had committed a rape.' The beau bit at the banter, and said very gravely, he thought to be clean was as much as was necessary; and that as to the rape, he wondered by what witchcraft that should come to her ears ; but it had indeed cost him a hundred pounds to hush the affair.'
The Greenhats are a family with small voices and short arms, therefore they have power with none but their friends: they never call after those who run away from them, or pretend to take hold of you if you resist. But it has been remarkable that all who have shunned their company, or not listened to them, have fallen into the hands of such as have knocked out their brains, or broken their bones. I have looked over our pedigree upon the receipt of this epistle, and find the Greenhats are a-kin to the Staffs. They descend from Maudlin, the lefthanded wife of Nehemiah Bickerstaff, in the reign of Harry the Second. And it is remarkable, that they are all left-handed, and have been always very expert at single rapier. A man must be very much used to their play to know how to defend him. self, for their posture is so different from that of the right-handed, that you run upon their swords if you push forward : and they are in with you, if you offer to fall back without keeping your guard.
There have been also letters lately sent to me which relate to other people : among the rest, some whom I have heretofore declared to be so, are deceased. I must not therefore break through rules so far, as to speak ill of the dead. This maxim extends to all but the late Partridge, who still denies his death. I am informed indeed, by several, that he walks; but I shall, with all convenient speed, lay him.
St. James's Coffee-house, August 24. We hear from Tournay, that on the night between the twenty-second and twenty-third, they went on with their works in the enemy's mines, and levelled the earth which was taken out of them. The next day, at eight in the morning, when the French observed we were relieving our trenches, they sprung a larger mine than any they had fired during the siege, which killed only four private centinels. The ensuing night we had three men and two officers killed, as also seven men wounded. Between the twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth, we repaired some works which the enemy had ruined. On the next day some of the enemy's magazines blew up; and it is thought they were destroyed on purpose
by some of their men, who are impatient of the hardships of the present service. There happened nothing remarkable for two or three days following. A deserter, who came out of the citadel on the twenty-seventh, says, the garrison is brought to the utmost necessity; that their bread and water are both very bad; and that they were reduced to eat horseflesh. The manner of fighting in this siege has discovered a gallantry in our men unknown to former ages; their meeting with adverse parties under ground, where every step is taken with apprehensions of being blown up with mines below them, or crushed by the fall of the earth above them, and all this acted in darkness, has something in it more terrible than is ever met with in any other part of a soldier's duty. However, this is performed with great cheerfulness. In other parts of the war we have also good prospects: Count Thaun has taken Annecy, and the Count de Merci marched into Franche Compté, while his Electoral Highness is much superior in number to Monsieur d'Harcourt; so that both on the side of Savoy and Germany, we have reason to expect very suddenly some great event.