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No. 329. TUESDAY, MARCH 13.
Ire tamen restat Numa qua devenit et Ancus. Hor. My friend Sir Roger de Coverley told me the other night, that he had been reading my paper upon Westminster Abbey, in which, says he, there are a great many ingenious fancies. He told me at the same time, that he observed I had promised another paper upon the tombs, and that he should be glad to go and see them with me, not having visited them since he had read history. I could not at first imagine how this came into the knight's head, till I recollected that he had been very busy all last summer upon Baker's Chronicle, which he has quoted several times in his dispute with Sir Andrew Freeport, since his last coming to town. Accordingly I called upon him the next morning, that we might go together to the Abbey.
I found the knight under his butler's hands, who always shaves him. He was no sooner dressed, than he called for a glass of the widow Trueby's water, which he told me he always drank before he went abroad. He recommended to me a dram of it at the same time, with so much heartiness, that I could not forbear drinking it. As soon as I had got it down, I found it very unpalatable; upon which the knight observing that I had made several wry faces, told me that he knew I should not like it at first, but that it was the best thing in the world against the stone or gravel.
I could have wished, indeed, that he had acquainted me with the virtues of it sooner; but it was too late to complain, and I knew what he had done was out of good-will. Sir Roger told me further, that he looked upon it to be
very good for a man whilst he staid in town, to keep off infection, and that he got together a quantity of it upon the first news of the sickness being at Dantzic: when of a sudden turning short to one of his servants, who stood behind him, he bid him call a backney coach, and take care it was an elderly man that drove it.
He then resumed his discourse upon Mrs. Trueby's water, telling me that the widow Trueby was one who did more good than all the doctors and apothecaries in the county: that she distilled every poppy that grew within five miles of her, that she distributed her water gratis among all sorts of people ;
to which the knight added, that she had a very great jointure, and that the whole country would fain have it a match between him and her; "and truly," says Sir Roger, “if I had not been engaged, perhaps I could not have done better."
His discourse was broken off by his man's telling him ho had called a coach. Upon our going to it, after having cast his eye upon the wheels, he asked the coachman if his axletree was good; upon the fellow's telling him he would wara rant it, the knight turned to me, told me he looked like an honest man, and went in without further ceremony.
We had not gone far, when Sir Roger, popping out his head, called the coachman down from his box, and
his presenting himself at the window, asked him if he smoked ; as I was considering what this would end in, he bid him stop by the way at any good tobacconist's, and take in a roll of their best Virginia. Nothing material happened in the remaining part of our journey, till we were set down at the west end of the Abbey.
As we went up the body of the church the knight pointed at the trophies upon one of the new monuments, and cried out,“ A brave man I warrant him!” Passing afterwards by Sir Cloudsly Shovel, he flung his hand that way, and cried, “Sir Cloudsly Shovel! a very gallant man!” As we stood before Busby's tomb, the knight uttered himself again after the same manner, “ Dr. Busby, a great man! he whipped my grandfather ; a very great man! I should have gone to him myself, if I had not been a blockhead; a very great man!"
We were immediately conducted into the little chapel on the right hand. Sir Roger planting himself at our historian's elbow, was very attentive to everything he said, particularly to the account he gave us of the lord who had cut off the king of Morocco's head. Among several other figures, he was very well pleased to see the statesman Cecil
his knees; and, concluding them all to be great men, was conducted to the figure which represents that martyr to good housewifery, who died by the prick of a needle. Upon our interpreter's telling us, that she was a maid of honour to Queen Elizabeth, the knight was very inquisitive into her name and family; and after having regarded her finger for some time, “I wonder, (says he,) that Sir Richard Baker has said nothing of her in his Chronicle."
We were then conveyed to the two ccronation-chairs, where
my old friend, after having heard that the stone underneath the most ancient of them, which was brought from Scotland, was called Jacob's Pillow, sat himself down in the chair ; and looking like the figure of an old Gothic king, asked our interpreter, what authority they had to say that Jacob had ever beer in Scotland ? The fellow, instead of returning him an answer, told him, that he hoped his Honour would
his forfeit. I could observe Sir Roger a little ruffled upon being thus trepanned; but our guide not insisting upon his demand, the knight soon recovered his good humour, and whispered in my ear, that if Will. Wimble were with us, and saw those two chairs, it would go hard but he would get a tobaccostopper out of one or t’ other of them.
Sir Roger, in the next place, laid his hand upon Edward the Third's sword, and leaning upon the pummel of it, gave us the whole history of the Black Prince; concluding, that in Sir Richard Baker's opinion, Edward the Third was one of the greatest princes that ever sat upon the English throne.
We were then shown Edward the Confessor's tomb; upon which Sir Roger acquainted us, that he was the first that touched for the Evil; and afterwards Henry the Fourth's, upon which he shook his head, and told us, there was fine reading of the casualties of that reign.
Our conductor then pointed to that monument where there is the figure of one of our English kings without an head; and upon giving us to know, that the head, which was of beaten silver, had been stolen away several years since: “Some Whig, I'll warrant you, (says Sir Roger;) you ought to lock up your kings better; they will carry off the body
do not take care." The glorious names of Henry the Fifth and Queen Elizabeth gave the knight great opportunities of shining, and of doing justice to Sir Richard Baker, who, as our knight observed with some surprise, had a great many kings in him, whose monuments he had not seen in the Abbey.
For my own part, I could not but be pleased to see the knight show such an honest passion for the glory of his country, and such a respectful gratitude to the memory of its princes.
I must not omit, that the benevolence of my good old friend, which flows out towards every one he converses with, made him very kind to our interpreter, whom he looked
upon as an extraordinary man; for which reason he shook him by the hand at parting, telling him, that he should be very glad to see him at his lodgings in Norfolk-buildings, and talk over these matters with him more at leisure.
No. 335. TUESDAY, MARCH 25.
Respicere exemplar vitæ morumque jubebo
Doctum imitatorem, et veras hinc ducere voces. HOR. My friend Sir Roger de Coverley, when we last met together at the club, told me, that he had a great mind to see the new tragedy with me, assuring me at the same time, that he had not been at a play these twenty years. The last I saw, said Sir Roger, was the Committee, which I should not have gone to neither, had not I been told before-band that it was a good Church of England comedy. He then proceeded to inquire of me who this Distressed Mother was; and upon hearing that she was Hector's widow, he told me, that her husband was a brave man, and that when he was a school-boy he had read his life at the end of the dictionary. My friend asked me, in the next place, if there would not be some danger in coming home late, in case the Mohocks should be abroad. “I assure you, (says he,) I thought I had fallen into their hands last night; for I observed two or three lusty black men that followed me half way up Fleet Street, and mended their
in proportion as I put on to go away from them. You must know, (continued the knight with a smile,) I fancied they had a mind to hunt me: for I remember an honest gentleman in my neighbourhood, who was served such a trick in King Charles the Second's time; for which reason he has not ventured himself in town ever since. I might have shown them very good sport, had this been their design ; for as I am an old fox-hunter, I should have turned and dodged, and have played them a thousand tricks they had never seen in their lives before,.". Sir Roger added, íhat if these gentlemen had any such intention, they did not succeed
well in it;
for I threw them out, (says he,) at the end of Norfolk Street, where I doubled the corner, and shelter in my lodgings before they could imagine what was become of
However, (says the knight,) if Captain Sentry will make one with us to-morrow night, and if you will both of you call upon me about four o'clock, that we may be at the house before it is full, I will have my own coach in readiness to attend you, for John tells me he has got the fore-wheels. mended.”
The captain, who did not fail to meet me there at the ap. pointed hour, bid Sir Roger fear nothing, for that he had put on the same sword which he had made use of at the battle of Steenkirk. Sir Roger's servants, and among the rest my old friend the butler, had, I found, provided them. selves with good oaken plants, to attend their master upon this occasion. When we had placed him in his coach, with myself at his left hand, the captain before him, and his butler at the head of his footmen in the rear, we convoyed him in safety to the play-house; where, after having marched up the entry in good order, the captain and I went in with him, and seated him betwixt us in the pit. As soon as the house was full, and the candles lighted, my old friend stood up and looked about him with that pleasure, which a mind seasoned with humanity naturally feels in itself, at the sight of a multitude of people who seem pleased with one another, and partake of the same common entertainment. I could not but fancy to myself, as the old man stood up in the middle of the pit, that he made a very proper centre to a tragic audience. Upon the entering of Pyrrhus, the knight told me, that he did not believe the King of France himself had a better strut. I was, indeed, very attentive to my old friend's remarks, because I looked upon them as a piece of natural criticism, and was well pleased to hear him at the conclusion of almost every scene, telling me that he could not imagine how the play would end. One while he
appeared much concerned for Andromache; and a little while after as much for Hermione: and was extremely puzzled to think what would become of Pyrrhus.
When Sir Roger saw Andromache's obstinate refusal to her lover's importunities, he whispered me in the ear, that he was sure she would never have him ; to which he added, with a more than ordinary vehemence, you cannot imagine, sir, what it is to have to do with a widow. Upon Pyrrhus his threatening afterwards to leave her, the knight shook his head, and muttered to himself, Ay, do if you can. This part