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peace, for he played on the bass-viol as well as any gentleman at court; you see where his viol hangs by his basket-hilt sword. The action at the Tilt
yard you may be sure won the fair lady, who was 5 a maid of honor, and the greatest beauty of her
time; here she stands the next picture. You see, sir, my great great great grandmother has on the new-fashioned petticoat,' except that the modern
is gathered at the waist; my grandmother appears 10 as if she stood in a large drum, whereas the ladies
now walk as if they were in a go-cart. For all this lady was bred at court, she became an excellent country-wife, she brought 8 ten children, and when
I show you the library, you shall see in her own 15 hand (allowing for the difference of the language)
the best receipt now in England both for an hastypudding and a white-pot.'
“If you please to fall back a little, because it is necessary to look at the three next pictures at one 20 view; these are three sisters. She on the right hand
who is so very beautiful, died a maid; the next to her, still handsomer, had the same fate, against her will; this homely thing in the middle had both their
portions added to her own, and was stolen by a 25 neighboring gentleman, a man of stratagem and
resolution, for he poisoned three mastiffs to come at her, and knocked down two deer-stealers in carrying her off. Misfortunes happen in all families. The theft of this romp, and so much money, was no
great matter to our estate. But the next heir that possessed it was this soft gentleman, whom you see there. Observe the small buttons, the little boots, the laces, the slashes about his clothes, and above all the posture he is drawn in (which to be sure was 5 his own choosing), you see he sits with one hand on a desk writing and looking as it were another way, like an easy writer, or a sonnetteer. one of those that had too much wit to know how to live in the world; he was a man of no justice, but great good manners; he ruined everybody that had anything to do with him, but never said a rude thing in his life; the most indolent person in the world; he would sign a deed that passed away half his estate with his gloves on, but would not 15 put on his hat before a lady if it were to save his country. He is said to be the first that made love by squeezing the hand. He left the estate with ten thousand pounds debt upon it; but however by all hands I have been informed that he was every way the 20 finest gentleman in the world. That debt lay heavy on our house for one generation, but it was retrieved by a gift from that honest man you see there, a citizen of our name, but nothing at all akin to us. I know Sir Andrew Freeport has said behind my back, 25 that this man was descended from one of the ten children of the maid of honor I showed you above; but it was never made out. We winked at the thing indeed, because money was wanting at that time."
Here I saw my friend a little embarrassed, and turned my face to the next protraiture.
Sir Roger went on with his account of the gallery in the following manner: “This man (pointing to 5 him I looked at) I take to be the honor of our
house. Sir Humphrey de Coverley; he was in his dealings as punctual as a tradesman, and as generous as a gentleman. He would have thought himself
as much undone by breaking his word, as if it were 10 to be followed by bankruptcy. He served his
country as knight of the shire 10 to his dying day. He found it no easy matter to maintain an integrity in his words and actions, even in things that re
garded the offices which were incumbent upon him, 15 in the care of his own affairs and relations of life,
and therefore dreaded (though he had great talents) to go into employments of state, where he must be exposed to the snares of ambition. Innocence of
life and great ability were the distinguishing parts 20 of his character; the latter, he had often observed,
had led to the destruction of the former, and he used frequently to lament that great and good had not the same signification. He was an excellent
husbandman,11 but had resolved not to exceed 25 such a 12 degree of wealth; all above it he be
stowed in secret bounties many years after the sum he aimed at for his own use was attained. Yet he did not slacken his industry, but to a decent old age spent the life and fortune which was
superfluous to himself, in the service of his friends and neighbors.”
Here we were called to dinner, and Sir Roger ended the discourse of this gentleman, by telling me, as we followed the servant, that this his ancestor 5 was a brave man, and narrowly escaped being killed in the civil wars; “For,” said he, “ he was sent out of the field upon a private message, the day before the battle of Worcester. The whim of narrowly escaping by having been within a day of danger, 10 with other matters above-mentioned, mixed with good sense, left me at a loss whether I was more delighted with my friend's wisdom or simplicity.
No. 10. Ghosts
SPECTATOR No. 110. Friday, July 6, 1711
Virg. Æn. ii. 755.
At a little distance from Sir Roger's house, among the ruins of an old abbey, there is a long 15 walk of aged elms; which are shot up so very high, that when one passes under them, the rooks and crows that rest upon the tops of them seem to be cawing in another region. I am very much delighted with this sort of noise, which I consider as a kind of 20 natural prayer to that Being who supplies the wants of his whole creation, and who, in the beautiful
language of the Psalms, feedeth the young ravens that call upon him. I like this retirement the better, because of an ill report it lies under of being
haunted; for which reason (as I have been told in 5 the family) no living creature .ever walks in it
besides the chaplain. My good friend the butler desired me with a very grave face not to venture myself in it after sunset, for that one of the footmen
had been almost frighted out of his wits by a spirit 10 that appeared to him in the shape of a black horse
without a head; to which he added, that about a month ago one of the maids coming home late that way with a pail of milk upon her head, heard such
a rustling among the bushes that she let it fall. 15 I was taking a walk in this place last night be
tween the hours of nine and ten, and could not but fancy it one of the most proper scenes in the world for a ghost to appear in. The ruins of the abbey
are scattered up and down on every side, and half 20 covered with ivy and elder bushes, the harbors of
several solitary birds which seldom make their appearance till the dusk of the evening. The place was formerly a churchyard, and has still several
marks in it of graves and burying-places. There is 25 such an echo among the old ruins and vaults, that
if you stamp but a little louder than ordinary, you hear the sound repeated. At the same time the walk of elms, with the croaking of the ravens which from time to time are heard from the tops of them,