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takes notice of the strength which he still exerts in his morning hems.
I was touched with a secret joy at the sight of the good old man, who before he saw me was engaged in conversation with a beggar-man that had asked an alms of him. I could hear my friend chide him for not finding out some work; but at the same time saw him put his hand in his pocket and give him sixpence.
Our salutations were very hearty on both sides, consisting of many kind shakes of the hand, and several affectionate looks which we cast upon one another. After which the knight told me my good friend his chaplain was very well, and much at my service, and that the Sunday before he had made a most incomparable sermon out of Doctor Barrow. I have left,' says he, 'all my affairs in his hands, and being willing to lay an obligation upon him, have deposited with him thirty marks, to be distributed among his poor parishioners.'
He then proceeded to acquaint me with the welfare of Will. Wimble. Upon which he put his hand into his fob, and presented me in his name with a tobacco stopper, telling me that Will. had been busy all the beginning of the winter in turning great quantities of them ; and that he made a present of one to every gentleman in the country who has good principles, and smokes. He added, that poor Will. was at present under great tribulation, for that Tom Touchy had taken the law of him for cutting some hazel sticks out of one of his hedges.
Among other pieces of news which the knight brought from his country seat, he informed me that
Moll White was dead; and that about a month after her death the wind was so very high that it blewo down the end of one of his barns. But for my part,' says Sir Roger, 'I do not think that the old woman had any hand in it.'
He afterwards fell into an acco of the diversions which had passed in his house during the holidays, for Sir Roger, after the laudable custom of his ancestors, always keeps open house at Christmas. I learned from him, that he had killed eight fat hogs for this season, that he had dealt about his chines very liberally amongst his neighbours, and that in particular he had sent a string of hog's puddings with a pack of cards to every poor family in the parish. 'I have often thought,' says Sir Roger, ‘it happens very well that Christmas should fall out in the middle of the winter. It is the most dead, uncomfortable time of the year, when the poor people would suffer very much from their poverty and cold, if they had not good cheer, warm fires, and Christmas gambols to support them. I love to rejoice their poor hearts at this season, and to see the whole village merry in my great hall. I allow a double quantity of malt to my small beer, and set it a running for twelve days to every one that calls for it. I have always a piece of cold beef and a mince-pie upon the table, and am wonderfully pleased to see my tenants pass away a whole evening in playing their innocent tricks, and smutting one another. Our friend Will. Wimble is as merry as any of them, and shows a thousand roguish tricks upon these occasions.'
I was very much delighted with the reflection of my old friend, which carried so much goodness in it. He
then launched out into the praise of the late act of parliament for securing the Church of England, and told me with great satisfaction, that he believed it already began to take effect; for that a rigid dissenter, who chanced to dine at his house on Christmas day, had been observed to eat very plentifully of his plum-porridge.
After having despatched all our country matters, Sir Roger made several inquiries concerning the club, and particularly of his old antagonist Sir Andrew Freeport. He asked me, with a kind of smile, whether Sir Andrew had not taken the advantage of his absence, to vent among them some of his republican doctrines ; but soon after gathering up his countenance into a more than ordinary seriousness, ‘ Tell me truly,' says he, ‘don't you think Sir Andrew had a hand in the pope's procession- -but without giving me time to answer him, 'Well, well,' says he, 'I know you are a wary man, and do not care to talk of public matters.'
The knight then asked me, if I had seen Prince Eugene ; and made me promise to get him a stand in some convenient place where he might have a full sight of that extraordinary man, whose presence does so much honour to the British nation. He dwelt very long on the praises of this great general, and I found that since I was with him in the country, he had drawn many observations together out of his reading in Baker's Chronicle, and other authors, who always lie in his hall window, which very much redound to the honour of this prince.
Having passed away the greatest part of the morning in hearing the knight's reflections, which were
partly private and partly political, he asked me if I would smoke a pipe with him over a dish of coffee at Squire's. As I love the old man, I take a delight in complying with everything that is agreeable to him, and accordingly waited on him to the coffee-house, where his venerable figure drew upon us the eyes of the whole room. He had no sooner seated himself at the upper end of the high table, but he called for a clean pipe, a paper of tobacco, a dish of coffee, a wax candle, and the Supplement, with such an air of cheerfulness and good humour, that all the boys in the coffee-room (who seemed to take pleasure in serving him) were at once employed on his several errands, insomuch that nobody else could come at a dish of tea, till the knight had got all his conveniences about him.
Sir Roger in Westminster Abbey.
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.