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ascended two degrees; Child's fetched it up to Zeal, and other adjacent coffee-houses to Wrath.
It fell in the lower half of the glass as I went further into the city, until at length it settled at Moderation, where it continued all the time I staid about the Exchange, as also while I passed by the Bank. And here I cannot but take notice, that through the whole course of my remarks I never observed my glass to
rise at the same time that the stocks did.
To complete the experiment, I prevailed upon a friend of mine, who works under me in the occult sciences, to make a progress with my glass through the whole island of Great Britain; and, after his return, to present me with a register of his observations. I guessed beforehand at the temper of several places he passed through, by the characters they have had time out of mind. Thus that facetious divine, doctor Fuller, speaking of the town of Banbury near a hundred years ago, tells us it was a place famous for Cakes and Zeal, which I find by my glass is true to this day as to the latter part of this description; though I must confess it is not in the same reputation for cakes that it was in the time of that learned author: and thus of other places. In short, I have now by me, digested in an alphabetical order, all the counties, corporations, and boroughs, in Great Britain, with their respective tempers, as they stand related to my thermometer. But this I shall keep to myself, because I would by no means do any thing that may seem to influence any ensuing elections.
The point of doctrine, which I would propagate by this my invention, is the same which was long ago advanced by that able teacher Horace, out of whom I
have taken my text for this discourse: We should be careful not to overshoot ourselves in the pursuits even of virtue. Whether Zeal or Moderation be the point we aim at, let us keep fire out of the one, and frost out of the other. But, alas! the world is too wise to want such a precaution. The terms High-church and Low-church, as commonly used, do not so much denote a principle, as they distinguish a party. They are like words of battle, that have nothing to do with their original signification; but are only given out to keep a body of men together, and to let them know friends from enemies.
I must confess, I have considered, with some little attention, the influence which the opinions of these great national sects have upon their practice; and do look upon it as one of the unaccountable things of our times, that multitudes of honest gentlemen, who entirely agree in their lives, should take it in their heads to differ in their religion.
LETTER FROM THE WIDOW GIMCRACK.
I hope you will not be surprised to receive a letter from the widow Gimcrack. You know, sir, that I have lately lost a very whimsical husband, who, I find by one of your last week's papers, was not altogether a stranger to you. When I married this gentleman, he had a very handsome estate: but, upon buying a set of microscopes, he was chosen a fellow of the Royal Society; from which time I do not re
member ever to have heard him speak as other people did, or talk in a manner that any of his family could understand him. He used, however, to pass away his time very innocently in conversation with several members of that learned body; for which reason, i never advised him against their company for several years, until at last I found his brain quite turned with their discourses. The first symptom which he discovered of his being a virtuoso, as you call him, poor man! was about fifteen years ago; when he gave me positive orders to turn off an old weeding-woman that had been employed in the family for several years. He told me, at the same time, that there was no such thing in nature as a weed, and that it was his design to let his garden produce what it pleased; so that, you may be sure, it makes a very pleasant show as it now lies. About the same time he took a humour to ramble up and down the country, and would often bring home with him his pockets full of moss and pebbles. This, you may be sure, gave me a heavy heart; though at the same time I must needs say, he had the character of a very honest man, notwithstanding he was reckoned a little weak, until he began to sell his estate, and buy those strange baubles that you have taken notice of. Upon Midsummer-day last, as he was walking with me in the fields, he saw a very odd-coloured butterfly just before us. I observed that he immediately changed colour, like a man that is surprised with a piece of good luck; and telling me that it was what he had looked for above these twelve years, he threw off his coat, and followed it. I lost sight of them both in less than a quarter of an hour; but my husband continued the chace over hedge and ditch until about sunset; at which time, as I was afterwards told,
he caught the butterfly as she rested. herself upon á cabbage, near five miles from the place where he first put her up. He was here lifted from the ground by some passengers in a very fainting condition, and brought home to nie about midnight. His violent exercise threw him into a fever, which grew upon him by degrees, and at last carried him off. In one of the intervals of his distemper he called to me; and, after having excused himself for running out his estate, hẹ told me, that he always had been more industrious to improve his mind than his fortune; and that his family must rather value themselves upon his memory as he was a wise man, than a rich one. He then told me, that it was a custom among the Romans for a man to give his slaves their liberty when he lay upon his death-bed. I could not imagine what this meant, until, after having a little composed himself, he ordered me to bring him a flea which he had kept for several months in a chain, with a design, as he said, to give it its manumission. This was done accordingly. He then made the will, which I have since seen printed in your works word for word. Only I must take notice, that you have omitted the codicil, in which he left a large concha Veneris, as it is there called, to a member of the Royal Society, who was often with him in his sickness, and assisted him in his will. And now, sir, I come to the chief business of my letter, which is to desire your friendship and assistance in the disposal of those many rarities and curiosities which lie upon my hands. If you know any one that has an occasion for a parcel of dried spiders, I will sell them a pennyworth. I could likewise let any one have a bargain of cockle-shells. I would also desire your advice, whether I had best sell my beetles in a lump, or
by retail. The gentleman above mentioned, who was my husband's friend, would have me make an auction of all his goods, and is now drawing up a catalogue of every particular for that purpose, with the two following words in great letters over the head of them, Auctio Gimcrackiana. But, upon talking with him, I begin to suspect he is as mad as poor sir Nicholas was. Your advice in all these particulars will be a great piece of charity to,
Your most humble servant,
ADVENTURES OF A SHILLING.
I was last night visited by a friend of mine who has an inexhaustible fund of discourse, and never fails to entertain his company with a variety of thoughts and hints that are altogether new and uncommon. Whether it were in complaisance to my way of living, or his real opinion, he advanced the following paradox, that it required much greater talents to fill up and become a retired life, than a life of business. Upon this occasion he rallied very agreeably the busy men of the age, who only valued themselves for being in motion, and passing through a series of trifling and insignificant actions. In the heat of his discourse, seeing a piece of money lying on my table, I defy, says he, any of these active persons to produce half the adventures that this twelve-penny piece has been engaged in, were it possible for him to give us an account of his life.