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tered my little godson to give me a point of war. His mother, between laughing and chiding, would have put him out of the room; but I would not part with him so. I found upon conversation with him, though he 'was a little noisy in his mirth, that the child had excellent parts, and was a great master of all the learning on the other side eight years old. I perceived him a very great historian in Æsop's Fables: but he frankly declared to me his mind, that he did not delight in that learning, because he did not believe they were true; for which reason I found he had very much turned his studies, for about a twelvemonth past, into the lives and adventures of Don Bellianis of Greece, Guy of Warwick, the Seven Champions, and other historians of that age.

I could not but observe the satisfaction the father took in the forwardness of his son ; and that these diversions might turn to some profit, I found the boy had made remarks which might be of service to him during the course of his whole life. He would tell you the mismanagements of John Hickathrift, find fault with the passionate temper in Bevis of Southampton, and loved Saint George for being the champion of England; and by this means had his thoughts insensibly moulded into the notions of discretion, virtue, and honour. I was extolling his accomplishments, when the mother told me, that the little girl who led me in this morning was in her way a better scholar than he: Betty, says she, deals chiefly in .fairies and sprites; and sometimes in a winter night will terrify the maids with her accounts, until they are afraid to

go up to bed.

I sat with them until it was very late, sometimes in merry, sometimes in serious discourse, with this particular pleasure, which gives the only true relish to all conversation, a sense that every one of us liked cack other. I went home, considering the different condia tions of a married life and that of a bachelor ; and I must confess it struck me with a secret concern, to re flect, that whenever I go off I shall leave no traces behind me. In this ponsive mood I returned to my family; that is to say, to my maid, my dog, and my cat, who only can be the better or worse for what happens to me.

conversation,

MR, BICKERSTAFF HEARING PETITIONS.

No. 103

There is nothing gives a man greater satisfaction than the sense of having dispatched a great deal of bu. siness, especially when it turns to the public emolument. I have much pleasure of this kind upon my spirits at present, occasioned by the fatigue of affairs which I weni through last Saturday: It is some time since I set apart that day for examining the pretensions of several who had applicd to me for canes, perspective-glasses, snuff-boxcs, orange-dower-waters, and the like ornaments of life. In order to adjust this matter, I had before directed Charles Lillie, of Beaufort-buildings, to prepare a grcat bundle of blank licences in the following words:

" You are hereby required to permit the bearer of this canc to pass and repass through the streets and suburbs of London, or any place within ten miles of it, without let or molestation; provided that he does not walk with it under his arm, brandish it in the air, or hang it on a button : in which case it shall be forfeited; and I hereby declare it forfeited to any one who shall think it safe to take it from him.

Isaac Bickerstaff.'

The same form, differing only in the provisos, will serve for a perspective, snuff-box, or perfumed handkerchief. I had placed myself in my elbow-chair at the upper end of my great parlour, having ordered Charles Lillie to take his place upon a joint stool, with a writing-desk before him. John Morphew also took his station at the door; I having, for his good and faithful services, appointed him my chamber-keeper upon court days. He let me know that there were a great number attending without. Upon which I ordered him to give notice, that I did not intend to sit upon snuff-boxes that day; but that those who appeared for canes might enter. The first presented me with the following petition, which I ordered Mr. LilJie to read.

• To Isaac Bickerstaff, Esq. Censor of Great Britain,

- The humble petition of Simon Trippit, + Showeth, That your petitioner having been bred up to a cane from his youth, it is now become as necessary to him as any other of his limbs.

« That a great part of his behaviour depending upon it, he should be reduced to the utmost necessities if he should lose the use of it.

· That the knocking of it upon his shoe, leaning one leg upon it, or whistling with it on his mouth, are such great reliefs to him in conversation, that he does not know how to be good company without it.

. That

• That he is at present engaged in an amour, and must despair of success if it be taken from bim.

• Your petitioner therefore hopes, that, the premises tenderly considered, your worship will not deprive him of so useful and so necessary a support.

• And your petitioner shall ever, &c.' Upon the hearing of his case, I was touched with some compassion, and the more so, when, upon obgerving him nearer, I found he was a prig. I bid him produce his cane in court, which he had left at the door. He did so; and I finding it to be very curiously clouded, with a transparent amber head, and a blue ribband to hang upon his wrist, I immediately ordered my clerk Lillie to lay it up, and deliver out to him a plain joint, headed with walnut; and then, in order to wean him from it by degrees, permitted him to wear it three days in a week, and to abate proportionably until he found himself able to go alone.

The second who appeared came limping into the court; and sciting forth in his petition many pretences for the use of a cane, I caused them to be examined one by one: but finding him in different stories, and confronting him with several witnesses who had seen him walk upright, I ordered Mr. Lillie to take in his canc, and rejected his petition as frivolous.

A third made his entry with great difficulty, leaning upon a slight stick, and in danger of falling every step he took. I saw the weakness of his hams; and hear. ing that he had married a young wife about a fortnight before, I bid him leave his cane, and gave him a new pair of crutches, with which he went off in great vigour and alacrity. This gentleman was succeeded by

another, another, who seemed very much pleased while his petition was reading, in which he had represented that he was extremely afflicted with the gout, and set his foot upon the ground with the caution and dignity which accompany that distemper. I suspected him for an impostor; and having ordered him to be searched, I committed him into the hands of doctor Thomas Smith in King-street, my own corn-cutter, who atjended in an outward room, and wrought so speedy & cure upon him that I thought fit to send him away without his cane.

While I was thus dispensing justice, I heard a noise in my outward room; and inquiring what was the occasion of it, my door-keeper told me, that they had taken ap one in the very fact as he was passing by my door. They immediately brought in a lively fresh. coloured young man, who made great resistance with hand and foot, but did not offer to make use of his cane, which hung upon his fifth button. Upon examination I found him to be an Oxford scholar, who was just entered at the Temple. He at first disputed the jurisdiction of the court; but being driven out of his little law and logic, he told me very perily, that he looked upon such a perpendicular creature as man to make a very imperfect figure without a cane in his hand. It is well known, says he, we ought, according to the natural situation of our bodies, to walk upon our hands and feet; and that the wisdom of the antients had described man to be an animal of four legs in the morning, two at noon, and three at night; by which they intimated, that a cane might very properly become part of us in some period of life. Upon which I asked him, whether he wore it at his breast to have it in readiness when that period should arrive? My

young

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