« ПредишнаНапред »
I have told you how glad I am of this great honour, I am to desire you to drink a dish of tea. They answered, one and all, that ‘They never drank tea in a morning.' 'Not in a morning !' said I, staring round me.
Upon which the pert jackanapes Nick Doubt tipped me the wink, and put out his tongue at his grandfather. Here followed a profound silence, when the steward in his boots and whip proposed that we should adjourn to some public-house, where everybody might call for what they pleased, and enter upon the business. We all stood up in an instant, and Sir Harry filed off from the left very discreetly, counter-marching behind the chairs towards the door: after him, Sir Giles in the same manner. The simple squire made a sudden start to follow; but the justice of the quorum whipped between upon the stand of the stairs. A maid going up with coals made us halt, and put us into such confusion, that we stood all in a heap, without any visible possibility of recovering our order: for the young jackanapes seemed to make a jest of this matter, and had so contrived, by pressing amongst us under pretence of making way, that his grandfather was got into the middle, and he knew nobody was of quality to stir a step, till Sir Harry moved first. We were fixed in this perplexity for some time, till we heard a very loud noise in the street ; and Sir Harry asking what it was, I, to make them move, said it was fire. Upon this, all run down as fast as they could, without order or ceremony, till we got into the street, where we drew up in very good order, and filed off down Sheer Lane, the impertinent Templar driving us before him, as in a string, and pointing to his acquaintance who passed by.
I must confess, I love to use people according to their own sense of good breeding, and therefore whipped in between the justice and the simple squire. He could not properly take this ill ; but I overheard him whisper the steward, “That he thought it hard that a common conjurer should take place of him, though an elder squire.' In this order we marched down Sheer Lane, at the upper end of which I lodge. When we came to Temple Bar, Sir Harry and Sir Giles got over ; but a run of coaches kept the rest of us on this side the street : however, we all at last landed, and drew up in very good order before Ben. Tooke's shop, who favoured our rallying with great humanity. From hence we proceeded again, till we came to Dick's Coffee-house, where I designed to carry them. Here we were at our old difficulty, and took up the street upon the same ceremony. We proceeded through the entry, and were so necessarily kept in order by the situation, that we were now got into the coffee-house itself, where, as soon as we arrived, we repeated our civilities to each other; after which, we marched up to the high table, which has an ascent to it enclosed in the middle of the room. The whole house was alarmed at this entry, made up of persons of so much state and rusticity. Sir Harry called for a mug of ale, and Dyer's Letter. The boy brought the ale in an instant : but said, they did not take in the Letter. 'No! (says Sir Harry,) then take back your mug; we are like indeed to have good liquor at this house.' Here the Templar tipped me a second wink, and if I had not looked very grave upon him, I found he was disposed to be very familiar with
In short, I observed aster a long pause, that the
gentlemen did not care to enter upon business till after their morning draught, for which reason I called for a bottle of mum ; and finding that had no effect upon them, I ordered a second, and a third : after which, Sir Harry reached over to me, and told me in a low voice, that the place was too public for business; but he would call upon me again to-morrow morning at my own lodgings, and bring some more friends with him.
The Grinning Match.
IN a late paper I mentioned the project of an ingenious author for the erecting of several handicraft prizes to be contended for by our British artisans, and the influence they might have towards the improvement of our several manufactures. I have since that been very much surprised by the following advertisement which I find in the Post-Boy of the 11th instant, and again repeated in the Post-Boy of the 15th.
"On the 9th of October next will be run for upon Coleshill Heath, in Warwickshire, a plate of six guineas value, three heats, by any horse, mare, or gelding, that hath not won above the value of 5l., the winning horse to be sold for rol., to carry ten stone weight, if fourteen hands high; if above or under, to carry or be allowed weight for inches, and to be entered Friday the 15th at the Swan in Coleshill, before six in the evening. Also a plate of less value to be run for by asses. The same day a gold ring to be grinned for by men.'
The first of these diversions, that is to be exhibited by the rol. race-horses, may probably have its use ; but the two last, in which the asses and men are concerned, seem to me altogether extraordinary and unaccountable. Why they should keep running asses at Coleshill, or how making mouths turns to account in Warwickshire, more than in any other parts of England, I cannot comprehend. I have looked over all the Olympic games, and do not find anything in
them like an ass-race, or a match at grinning. However it be, I am informed, that several asses are now kept in body-clothes, and sweated every morning upon the heath; and that all the country-fellows within ten miles of the Swan grin an hour or two in their glasses every morning, in order to qualify themselves for the 9th of October. The prize which is proposed to be grinned for, has raised such an ambition among the common people of out-grinning one another, that many very discerning persons are afraid it should spoil most of the faces in the county; and that a Warwickshire man will be known by his grin, as Roman Catholics imagine a Kentish man is by his tail. The gold ring which is made the prize of deformity, is just the reverse of the golden apple that was formerly made the prize of beauty, and should carry for its posie the old motto inverted,
Or, to accommodate it to the capacity of the combatants,
The frightfullst grinner
In the mean while I would advise a Dutch painter to be present at this great controversy of faces, in order to make a collection of the most remarkable grins that shall be there exhibited.
I must not here omit an account which I lately received of one of these grinning matches from a gentleman, who, upon reading the above-mentioned advertisement, entertained a coffee-house with the following narrative. Upon the taking of Namur, among other public rejoicings made on that occasion,