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he caught the butterfly as she rested. herself upon á cabbage, near five miles froin 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 fover, 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, he 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 inanumission. 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 bis 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,
ADVENTURES OF A SHILLING. No. 249.
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.
My friend's talk made so odd an impression upon my mind, that soon after I was a-bed I fell insensibly into a most unaccountable reverie, that had neither moral nor design in it, and cannot be so properly called a dream as a delirium.
Methought the shilling that lay upon the table reared itself upon its edge, and, turning the face towards me, opened its mouth, and in a soft silver sound
gave me the following account of his life and adventures. I was born, says he, on the side of a mou
ountain, near a little village of Peru, and made a voyage to England in an ingot, under the convoy of sir Francis Drake. I was, soon after my arrival, taken out of my Indian habit, refined, naturalized, and put into the British mode, with the face of queen Elizabeth on one side, and the arms of the country on the other. Being thus equipped, I found in me a wonderful inclination to ramble, and visit all the parts of the new world into which I was brought. The people very much favoured my natural disposition, and shifted me so fast from hand to hand, that, before I was five years old, I had travelled into almost every corner of the nation. But in the beginning of my sixth year, to my unspeakable grief, I fell into the hands of a miserable old fellow, who clapped me into an iron chest, where I found five hundred more of my own quality who lay under the same confinement. The only relief we had, was to be taken out and counted over in the fresh air
every morning and evening. After an imprisonment of several years, we heard somebody knocking at our chest, and breaking it open with a hammer. This we found was the old man's heir, who, as his father lay dying, was so good as to come to our release : he separated us that very day. What was the fate of my companions I know not: as for myself, I was sent to the apothecary's shop for a pint of sack. The apothecary gave me to a herb-woman, the herb-woman to a butcher, the butcher to a brewer, and the brewer to his wife, who made a present of me to a nonconformist preacher. After this manner I made my way merrily through the world; for, as I told you before, we Shillings love nos thing so much as travelling. I sometimes fetched in a shoulder of mutton, sometimes a play-book, and often had the satisfaction to treat a Templer at a twelve. penny ordinary, or carry him with three friends to Westminster-hall.
In the midst of this pleasant progress, which I made from place to place, I was arrested by a superstitious old woman, who shut me up in a greasy purse, in pursuance of a foolish saying, that while she kept a queen Elizabeth's Shilling about her she should never be without money. I continued here a close prisoner for inany months, until at last I was exchanged for eightand-forty farthings. . I thus rambled from pocket to pocket until the beginning of the civil wars, when, to my shame be it spoken, I was employed in raising soldiers against the king : for, being of a very tempting breadth, a serjeant made use of me to inveigle country fellows, and list them into the service of the parliament. As soon as he had made one man sure, his
way was to oblige him to take a Shilling of a more homely figure, and then practise the same trick upon another. Thus I continued doing great mischief to the crown, until my officer, chancing one morning to walk abroad earlier than ordinary, sacrificed me to his pleasures, and made use of me to seduce a milk-maid. This trench bent me, and gave me to her sweetheart, ap9
plying plying more properly than she intended the usual form of, . To my love, and from my love.' This ungenerous gallant, marrying her, within a few days after pawned me for a dram of brandy; and drinking me out next day, I was beaten flat with a hammer, and again set a-running.
After many adventures, which it would be tedious to relate, I was sent to a young spendthrift, in cempany with the will of his deceased father. The young fellow, who I fonnd was very extravagant, gave great demonstrations of joy at receiving the will; but opening it, he found himself disinherited, and cut off from the possession of a fair estate by virtue of my being made a present to him. This put him into such a passion, that, after having taken me in his hand and eursed me, he squirred me away from him as far as he could fing me. I chanced to light in an unfrequented place under a dead wall, where I lay undiscovered and useless during the usurpation of Oliver Cromwell.
About a year after the king's return, a poor cavalier that was walking there about dinner-time fortunately ·cast his eye upon me, and, to the great joy of us both, carried me to a cook’s shop, where he dined upon me, and drank the king's health. When I came again into the world, I found that I' had been happier in my retirement than I thought, having probably by tliat means escaped wearing a monstrous pair of breeches.
Being now of great credit and antiquity, I was rather looked upon as a medal than an ordinary coin ; for which reason a gamester laid hold of me, and converted me to a counter, having got together some dozens of us for that use. We led a melancholy life in his possession, being busy.at those hours whero curs