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trays any infirmity of old age, it is easy for a standerby to observe a secret concern in the looks of all his servants.
My worthy friend has put me under the particular care of his butler, who is a very prudent man, and, as well as the rest of his fellow-servants, wonderfully desirous of pleasing me, because they had often heard their master talk of me as of his particular friend.
My chief companion, when sir Roger is diverting himself in the woods or the fields, is a very venerable man, who is ever with sir Roger, and has lived at his house in the nature of a chaplain above thirty years. This gentleman is a person of good sense and some learning, of a very regular life and obliging conversation : he heartily loves sir Roger, and knows that he is very much in the old knight's esteem, so that he lives in the family rather as a relation than a dependent.
I have observed in several of my Papers, that my friend sir Roger, amidst all his good qualities, is something of a humorist; and that his virtues, as well as imperfections, are, as it were, tinged by a certain extravagance, which makes them particularly his, and distinguishes them from those of other men. This cast of mind, as it is generally very innocent in itself, so it renders his conversation highly agreeable, and more delightful than the same degree of sense and virtue would appear in their common and ordinary colours. As I was walking with him last night, he asked me how I liked the good man whom I have just now mentioned ? and without staying for my answer told me, that he was afraid of being insulted with Latin and Greek at his own table; for which reason he desired a particular friend of his at the university to find him out a clergyman rather of plain sense than much learning, of a good aspect, a clear voice, a sociable temper, and, if possible, a man that understood a little of back-gammon. My friend, says sir Roger, found me out this gentleman, who, besides the endowments required of him, is, they tell me, a good scholar, though he does not show it. I have given him the parsonage of the parish; and, because I know his value, have settled upon him a good annuity for life. If he outlives me, he shall find that he was higher in my esteem than perhaps he thinks he is. He has now been with me thirty years; and though he does not know I have taken notice of it, has never in all that time asked any thing of me for himself, though he is every day soliciting me for something in behalf of one or other of my tenants, his parishioners. There has not been a law-suit in the parish since he has lived among them. If any dispute arises, they apply themselves to him for the decision: if they do not acquiesce in his judgment, which I think never happened above once or twice at most, they appeal to me. At his first settling with me, I made him a present of all the good sermons which have been printed in English, and only begged of him, that every Sunday he would pronounce one of them in the pulpit. Accordingly, he has digested them into such a series, that they follow one another naturally, and make a continued system of practical divinity.
As sir Roger was going on in his story, the gentleman we were talking of came up to us; and, upon the knight's asking him who preached to-morrow (for it was Saturday night), told us, the bishop of St. Asaph *
* Dr. William Fleetwood, afterwards bishop of Ely, VOL. 1.
in the morning, and Dr. South in the afternoon. He then showed us his list of preachers for the whole year, where I saw, with a great deal of pleasure, archbishop Tillotson, bishop Saunderson, Dr. Barrow, Dr. Calamy, with several living authors who have published discourses of practical divinity. I no sooner saw this venerable man in the pulpit, but I very much approved of my friend's insisting upon the qualifications of a good aspect and a clear voice ; for I was so charmed with the gracefulness of his figure and delivery, as well as with the discourses he pronounced, that I think I never passed any time more to my satisfaction. A sermon repeated after this manner is like the composition of a poet in the mouth of a graceful actor.
I could heartily wish that more of our country clergy would follow this example; and, instead of wasting their spirits in laborious compositions of their own, would endeavour after a handsome elocution, and all those other talents that are proper to enforce what has been penned by greater masters. This would not only be more easy to themselves, but more edifying to the people.
SIR ROGER DE COVERLEY AND WILL WIMBLE.
As I was yesterday morning walking with sir Roger before his house, a country fellow brought him a huge fish, which, he told him, Mr. William Wimble had caught that very morning; and that he presented it with his service to him, and intended to come and dine with him. At the same time he delivered a letter, which my friend read to me as soon as the mes
senger left him.
SIR ROGER, ' I desire you to accept of a jack, which is the best I have caught this season.
I intend to come and stay with you a week, and see how the perch bite in the Black River. I observed, with some concern, the last time I saw you upon the bowling-green, that your whip wanted a lash to it: I will bring half a dozen with me that I twisted last week, which I hope will serve you all the time you are in the country. I have not been out of the saddle for six days last past, having been at Eton with sir John's eldest son. He takes to his learning hugely. I am,
• Sir, your humble servant,
6 Will Wimble.' This extraordinary letter, and message that accompanied it, made me very curious to know the character and quality of the gentleman who sent them; which I found to be as follows:-Will Wimble is younger brother to a baronet, and descended of the antient family of the Wimbles. He is now between forty and fifty ; but being bred to no business, and born to no estate, he generally lives with his elder brother, as superintendant of his game. He hunts a pack of dogs better than any man in the country, and is very famous for finding out a hare. He is extremely well versed in all the little handicrafts of an idle inan. He makes a May-fly to a miracle, and furnishes the whole country with angle-rods. As he is a good-natured officious fellow, and very much esteemed upon account of his family, he is a welcome guest at every house, ånd keeps up a good correspondence among all the
gentlemen about him. He carries a tulip-róót in his pocket from one to another, or exchanges a puppy between a couple of friends that live perhaps in the opposite sides of the county. Will is à particular favourite of all the young heirs, whom he frequently obligés with a net that he has weaved, of a setting-dog that he has made himself. He now and then presents a pair of garters of his own knitting to their mothers or sisters; and raises a great deal of mirth among them by inquiring, as often as he meets them, “how they wear?' These gentleman-like manufactures, and obliging little humours, make Will the darling of the country.
Sir Roger was proceeding in the character of him, when we saw him make up to us with two or three hazle-twigs in his hand, that he had cut in sir Roger's woods as he came through them in his way to the house. I was very much pleased to observe, on one side, the hearty and sincere welcome with which sir Roger received him, and, on the other, the secret joy which his guest discovered at sight of the good old knight. After the first salutes were ever, Will desired sir Roger to lend him one of his servants, to carry a set of shuttlecocks he had with him in a httle box to a lady that lived about a mile off, to whom it seems he had promised such a present for above this halfyear. Sir Roger's back was no sooner turned, but honest Will began to tell me of a large cock pheasant that he had sprung in one of the neighbouring woods, with two or three other adventures of the same nature, Odd and uncommon characters are the game that I look for, and most delight in ; for which reason I was as much pleased with the povelty of the person that talked to me, as he could be for his life with the