Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

gave thee power of life and death? What a-pox hast: thou to do with ladies and lovers? I suppose thou wouldst have a man be in company with his mistress, and say nothing to her. Dost thou call breaking a jest, telling a lie? Ha! is that thy wisdom, old stiffrump, ha? He was going on with this insipid common-place : mirth, sometimes opening his box, sometimes shutting it, then viewing the picture on the lid, and then i the workmanship of the hinge; when in the midst of! the eloquence I ordered his box to be taken from him; upon which he was immediately struck speechless, and, carried off stone dead.

The next who appeared was a hale old fellow of sixty. He was brought in by his relations, who desired jeave to bury him. Upon requiring a distinct account of the prisoner, a credible witness deposed that he always rose at ten of the clock, played with his cat until t'velye smoked tobacco until one, was at dinner until two; then took another pipe, played at back-gammon until six, talked of one madam Frances, an old mistress of his, until eight, repeated the same account at the tavern until ten, then returned home, took the other pipe, and then to bed. I asked him, what he had to say for himself? As to what, said he, they mention concerning madam Frances I did not care for hearing a Canterbury tale, and therefore thought myself seasonably interrupted bya young gentleman, who appeared in the behalf of the old man; and prayed an arrest of judgment, for that he the said young manheld certain lands by his the said old man's life. Upon this, the solicitor of the upholders took an occasion to demand him also, and thereupon produced several evidences that witnessed to his life and conversation. It appeared, that each of them divided their hours in

E 4

matters

[ocr errors]

matters of equal moment and importance to themselves and to the public. They rose at the same hour ; while the old man was playing with his cat, the young one was looking cut of his window; while the old man was smoking his pipe, the young man was rubbing his teeth ; while one was at dinner, the other was dressing; while one was at back-gammon, the other was at dinner; while the old fellow was talking of madam Frances, the young one was either at play, or toasting women whom he never conversed with. The only difference was, that the young man had never been good for any thing; the old man, a man of worth before he knew madam Frances. Upon the whole, I ordered them to be both interred together, with inscriptions proper to their characters, signifying that the old man died in the year 1689, and was buried in the year 1709. And over the young one it was said, that he departed this world in the twenty-fifth year of his death.

The next class of criminals were authors in prose and verse. Those of them who had produced any stillborn work were immediately dismissed to their burial, and were followed by others, who, notwithstanding some sprightly issue in their life-time, had given proofs of their death by some posthumous children that bore no resemblance to their elder brethren. As for those who were the fathers of a mixed progeny, provided always they could prove the last to be a live child, they escaped with life, but not without loss of limbs; for in this case I was satisfied with amputation of the parts which were mortified.

These were followed by a great crowd of superannuated benchers of the inns of court, senior fellows of colleges, and defunct statesmen; all whom I ordered

to

to be decimated indifferently, allowing the rest a reprieve for one year, with a promise of a free pardon iu case of resuscitation.

There were still great multitudes to be examined, but, finding it very late, I adjourned the court; not without the secret pleasure that I had done my duty, and furnished out an handsome execution.

ADDISON AND STEELE.

HUMANITY TO ANIMALS. No. 112.

As I was looking over my letters this morning, I chanced to cast my eye upon the following one, which may be looked upon as a specimen of right country letIers,

6

Sir,

• This sets out to you from my summer-house upon the terrace, where I am enjoying a few hours sunshine, the scanty sweet remains of a fine autumn. The year is almost at the lowest; so that in all appearance the rest of my letters, between this and spring, will be dated from my parlour fire, where the little fond prattle of a wife and children will so often break in upon the connection of my thoughts, that you will easily discover it in my style. If this winter should prove as severe as the last, I can tell you beforehand, that I am likely to be a very miserable man, through the perverse temper

of
my

eldest boy. When the frost was in its extremity, you must know, that most of the blackbirds, robins, and finches of the parish, whose music had entertained me in the summer, took refuge under my roof. Upon this, my care was, to rise every morning before day, to set open my windows for the

reception reception of the cold and the hungry, whom at the same time I relieved with a very plentiful alms, by strewing corn and seeds upon the floors and shelves. But Dicky, without any regard to the laws of hospitality, considered the casements as so many traps, and used every bird as a prisoner at discretion. Never did tyrant exercise more various cruelties: some of the poor creatures he chased to death about the room ; others he drove into the jaws of a blood-thirsty cat; and, even in his greatest acts of mercy, either clipped the wings, or singed the tails, of his innocent captives. You will laugh, when I tell you I sympathized with every bird in its misfortunes; but I believe you will think me in the right for bewailing the child's unlucky humour. On the other hand, I am extremely pleased to see his younger brother carry an universal benevo. lence towards every thing that has life. When he was between four and five years old, I caught him weeping over a beautiful butterfly, which he chanced to kill as he was playing with it; and I am informed that this morning he has given his brother three halfpence, which was his whole estate, to spare the life of a Tomtit. These are at present the matters of greatest.moment within my observation, and I know are too trifling to be communicated to any but so wise a-man as yourself, and from one who has the happiness to be

Your most faithful

and most obedient servant.'

INVENTORY OF A BEAU’S EFFECTS, No. 113.

WHEREAS the gentleman that behaved himself in a very disobedient and obstinate manner at his late trial in Sheer-lane on the twentieth instant, and was carried off dead upon taking away of his snuff-box, remains still unburied; the company of upholders not knowing otherwise how they should be paid, have taken his goods in execution to defray the charge of his funeral. His said effects are to be exposed to sale by auction, at their office in the Haymarket, on the fourth of January next, and are as follows:

A very rich tweezer-case, containing twelve instru. ments for the use of each hour in the day.

Four pounds of scented snuff, with three gilt snuffon boxes; one of them with an invisible hinge, and a looking-glass in the lid.

Two more of ivory, with the portraitures on their lids of two ladies of the town; the originals to be seen every night in the side-boxes of the playhouse.

A sword with a steel diamond Hilt, never drawn but once at May-fair.

Six clean packs of cards, a quart of orange-flower water, a pair of French scissars, a tooth-pick-case, and an eyebrow brush.

A large glass case, containing the linen and clothes of the deceased ; among which are, two embroidered suits, a pocket perspective, a dozen pair of red-heeled shoes, three pair of red silk stockings, and an amberheaded cane.

The strong box of the deceased, wherein were found, five billet-doux, a Bath shilling, a crooked sixpence, a silk garter, a lock of hair, and three broken fans.

A press for books, containing on the upper shelf,
Three bottles of diet-drink.
Two boxes of pills.
A syringe, and other mathematical instrumento.

On

« НазадПродовжити »