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flouted; and so he won't row me again, I suppose, for all he has got a wife and a parcel of brats.' How he came to know that, I can't say. “No, no,' says I, 'I'm not so much of a pretty fellow as that comes to, if that's what they mean by a pretty fellow. It's not my business to be picking and choosing my fares, so that I gets my due; but I was right about the halfpenny for all that, and if your Reverence wants to go a swan-hopping another time, you knows what's to pay.' So the Dean fell a laughing like mad, and then looked very grave, and said,
Here, you Mr. John Searle, (for that's Mr. Pope's man's name,) here, make Mr. Thomas Harden acquainted with the taste of your beer; and do you, Mr. Thomas, take back the cioak, and let it stay another time in the boat till I want to return; and, moreover, Thomas, keep the cloak always for me to go home o’nights in, and I will make it worth your while, and leave it you when I am dead, provided it's worn out enough (I shall never forget all the odd things he said, for I talked 'em over with Mr. Searle) : and, harkee, Mr. Thomas Harden,' says he, 'remember,' says he, "and never forget it, that you love your wife and children better than your pride, and your pride,' says he,' better than a paltry dean; and those are two nice things to manage together.'And the Dean has been as good as his word, young gentleman, and I keep his cloak; and he came to my cottage yonder one day, and told my wife she was the prettiest creature of a plain woman he ever saw (did you ever hear the like o' that ?) and he calls her Panope, and always asks how she does. I don't know why he calls her Panope, mayhap because her pots and pans were so bright; for you'd ha’ thought they'd been silver, from the way he stared at them."*
Having heard of the Dean's punctuality, I was afraid I should be too late for my good behaviour ; but Mr. Thomas re-assured me, by saying that he had carried his Reverence across three hours before from Richmond, with Madam Blount. “He is in a mighty good humour,” said he, “and will make you believe any thing he likes, if you don't have a care."
I was in very good time, but found the whole party assembled, with the exception of Mrs. Pope. It was the same as before, with the addition of the Doctor. He is shorter and stouter than I had fancied him, with a face in which there is little remarkable at first sight, but the blueness of the eyes. The boatman, however, had not prepared me for the extreme easiness and good-breeding of his manners. I had made a shallow conclusion; I expected something perpetually fluctuating between broad mirth and a repelling self-resumption. Nothing could be more unlike what I found. His mirth afterwards was at times broad enough, and the ardour and freedom of his spirit very evident; but he has an exquisite mode throughout, of maintaining the respect of his hearers. Whether he is so always, I cannot say.
But I guess, that he can make himself equally beloved where he pleases, and feared where he does not. It must be owned, that his mimicry (for he does
* Probably from a strange line in Spenser, where he describes the bower of Proteus :
“There was his wonne; ne living wight was seene.
Fairy Queen, Book 3.
not disdain even that sometimes) would not be so well in the presence of foolish people. I suppose he is cautious of treating them with it. Upon the whole, partly owing to his manners, and partly to Mr. Pope's previous encouragement of me (which is sufficient to set up a man for any thing), I felt a great deal more at my ease than I expected, and was prepared for a day as good as the last. One of the great arts, I perceive, of these wits, if it be not rather to be called one of the best tendencies of their nature, (I am loth to bring my modesty into question by saying what I think of it,) is to set you at your ease, and enlist your self-love in their favour, by some exquisite recognition of the qualities or endeavours on which you most pride yourself, or are supposed to possess. It is in vain you tell yourself, they may flatter you. You believe and love the flattery; and, let me add, (though at the hazard of making some readers smile,) you are bound to believe it, if the bestowers are men of known honesty and spirit, and above “buying golden opinions" of every body. I am not sincere when I call it an art. I believe it to be a good natured instinct, and the most graceful sympathy; and having let this confession out, in spite of myself, I beg my dear cousins, the readers, to think the best they can of me, and proceed. The Dean is celebrated for a way he has of setting off his favours in this way, by an air of objection. Perhaps there is a little love of power and authority in this, but he turns it all to grace. Mr. Pope did me the honour of introducing me as a young gentleman for whom he had a particular esteem. The Dean acknowledged my bów in the politest manner; and after asking whether this was not the Mr. Honeycomb of whom he had heard talk at the coffee-house, looked at me with a serious calmness, and said, “ I would not have you believe, sir, every thing Mr. Pope says of you.” I believe I blushed, but without petulance. I answered, that my self-love was doubtless as great as that of most young men, perhaps greater ; and that if I confessed I gave way to it in such an instance as the present, something was to be pardoned to me on the score of the temptatiwn. “ But, said he, “ Mr. Pope flatters beyond all bounds. He introduces a new friend to us, and pretends that we are too liberal to be jealous. He trumpets up some young wit, Mr. Honeycomb, and fancies, in the teeth of all evidence, moral and political, that we are to be in love with our successors." I bowed and blushed indeed, at this. I said, that wbether a real successor or not, I should now, at all events, run the common danger of greatness, in being spoilt by vanity; and that, like a subtle prince in possession, the Dean knew how to prevent his heirs presumptive from becoming of any value.” The Doctor laughed, and said with the most natural air in the world," I have read some pretty things of yours, Mr. Honeycomb, and am happy to make your acquaintance. I hope the times will grow smooth as you get older, and that you will furnish a new link some day or other to re-unite friends that ought not to have been separated." This was an allusion to certain Whig patrons of mice. It affected me much ; and I gladly took the opportunity of the silence required by good-breeding, to lay my hand upon my heart, and express my gratitude by another bow. He saw how nearly he had touched me; for turning to Mr. Pope, he said gaily, “There is more love in our hates, now-a-days, than there used to be in the loves of the wits, when you and I were as young as Mr. HoneyVOL. X. No. 67.-1825.
comb. What did you care for old Wycherley, or what did Wycherley care for Rochester, compared with the fond heats and vexations of us party-men?” Mr. Pope's answer was prevented by the entrance of his mother. The Dean approached her as if she had been a princess. The good old lady, however, looked as if she was to be upon her good behaviour, now the Dean was present; and Mrs. Martha Blount, notwithstanding he pays court to her, had an air of the same kind. I am told he keeps all the women in awe. This must be one of the reasons for their being so fond of him, when he chooses to be pleased. Mr. Walscott, whose manners are simple and sturdy, could not conceal a certain uneasiness of admiration; and though a great deal more at home than I had looked to be, I partook of the same feeling. With Mr. Pope all is kindness on one part, and pleased homage on the other. Doctor Swift keeps one upon the alert, like a field officer. Yet externally he is as gentle, for the most part, as his great friend.
The dinner seemed to be still more neat and perfect than the last, though I believe there were no more dishes. But the cookery had a more consummate propriety. The Dean's influence, I suppose, pierces into the kitchen. I could not help fancying that the dishes were sensible of it, and submitted their respective relishes with anxiety. The talk, as usual, began upon eating.
Mr. Pope.--I verily believe, that when people eat and drink too much, if it is not in the ardour of good company, they do it not so much for the sake of eating, as for want of something better to do.
Dr. Swift.-That is as true a thing as you ever said. When I was very solitary in Ireland, I used to eat and drink twice as much as at any other time. Dinner was a great relief. It cut the day in two.
Mr. Pope. I have often noticed that if I am alone, and take up a book at dinner time, and get concerned in it, I do not care to eat any more. What I took for an unsatisfied hunger, leaves me—is no more thought of.
Dr. Swift.- People mean as much, when they say, that such and such a thing is meat and drink to them. By the same rule, meat and drink is one's book. At Laracor, an omelet was Quintius Curtius to me, and the beef, being an epic dish, Mr. Pope's Homer.
Mr. Walscott.--You should have dressed it yourself, Mr. Dean, to make it as epic as that.
Dr. Swift.-Faith! I was no hero, and could not afford the condescension. A poor vicar must have a servant to comfort his pride, and keep him in heart and starvation.
Mr. Walscott.-If people eat and drink for want of something better to do, there is no fear that men of genius will die of surfeiting. They must have their thoughts to amuse them, if nothing else.
The Dean.-(with vivacity.) Their thoughts ! Their fingers' ends, to bite till the blood come. That, Mr. Walscott, depends on the state of the health. I was once returning to dinner at Laracor, when I saw a grave little shabby-looking fellow sitting on a stile ; I asked him what he did idling there. He answered, very philosophically, that he was the merry Andrew lately arrived, and that, with my leave, he would drink my health, in a little more fresh air, for want of a better draught. I told him I was a sort of merry Andrew myself, and invited him to dinner. The poor man became very humble and thankful, and turned
out a mighty sensible fellow ; so I got him a place with an undertaker, and he is now merry in good earnest. I put some pretty thoughts in his head, before he left me. A cousin of mine sent them me from Lisbon, in certain long-necked bottles, corked and sealed up. My Lord Peterborough has a cellar full of very pretty thoughts. God grant we all keep our health ! and then, young gentleman, (looking very seriously at me, for I believe he thought my countenance expressed a little surprise)—and then we shall turn our thoughts to advantage for ourselves and for others.
Mrs. Pope.-If there's any gentleman who could do without his wine, I think it must be my lord. When I was a young woman, I fancied that all great generals were all tall stately persons, with one arm a-kimbo, and a truncheon held out in the other hand ; and I thought they all spoke grand, and like a book.
Dr. Swift.-Madam, that was Mr. Pope's poetry, struggling to be born before its time.
Mrs. Pope.— I protest, when I first had the honour of knowing my Lord Peterborough, he almost frightened me with his spirits. I believe he saw it; for all of a sudden he became the finest, softest-spoken gentleman that I ever met with ; and I fell in love with him.
Mrs. Blount.-Oh, Madam, I shall tell ! and we'll all dance at my lady's wedding.
I do not know which was the handsomer sight; the little blush that came over the good lady's cheek as she ended her speech, or the affectionate pleasantness with which her son regarded her.
Mr. Pope. You did not fall in love with Lord Peterborough because he is such a fine-spoken gentleman, but because he is a fine gentleman and a mad-cap besides. I know the tastes of you ladies of the civil wars.
The Dean.—'Tis a delicious rogue ! (and then, as if he had spoken too freely before strangers,) 'tis a great and rare spirit! If all the world resembled Lord Peterborough, they might do without consciences. know no fault in him, but that he is too fond of fiddlers and singers.
Mr. Pope.- Here is Mr. Honeycomb, who will venture to dispute with you on that point.
I said Mr. Pope paid me too great a compliment. I might venture to differ with Dr. Swift, but hardly to dispute.
Dr. Swift.-Oh, Mr. Honeycomb, you are too modest, and I must pull down your pride. You have heard of little Will Harrison, pour lad, who wrote the Medicine for the Ladies, in “ The Tatler.” Well, he promised to be one of your great wits, and was very much of a gentleman; and so he took to wearing thin waistcoats, and died of a birthday suit. Now thin waistcoats and soft sounds are both of 'em bad habits, and encourage a young man to keep late hours, and get his death o'cold.
I asked whether he could not admit a little “ higher argument" in the musician than the tailor. Shakspeare says of a flute, that it “discoursed excellent music ;" as if it had almost been a rational creature.
Dr. Swift.-A rational fiddlestick! It is not Shakspeare that says it, but Hamlet, who was out of his wits. Yes, I have heard of a flute discourse. Let me see I have heard a whole room full of 'em dis. course. (And then he played off an admirable piece of mimicry, which ought to have been witnessed, to do it justice.) Let me see-let me see. The flute made the following excellent remarks-Tootle, tootle, tootle, tootle,--tootle, tootle, tootle, tee ;-and then again, what I thought a new observation—Tootle, tootle, tootle, with my reedle, tootle, ree. Upon which the violin observed, in a very sprightly manner, Niddleniddle, niddle, niddle, niddle, niddle, nee, with my nee, with my long nee ; which the bass-viol, in his gruff but sensible way, acknowledged to be as witty a thing as he had ever heard. This was followed by a general discourse, in which the violin took the lead, all the rest questioning and reasoning with one another, as hard as they could drive, to the admiration of the beholders, who were never tired of listening. They must have carried away a world of thoughts. For my part, my deafness came upon me, I never so much lamented it. There was a long story told by a hoboy, which was considered so admirable, that the whole band fell into a transport of scratching and tootling. I observed the flute's mouth water, probably at some remarks on green peas, which had just come in season. It might have been guessed, by the gravity of the hearers, that the conversation chiefly ran upon the new king and queen ; but I believe it was upon periwigs; for turning to that puppy Rawlinson, and asking him what he concluded from all that, he had the face to tell me, that it gave him “ a heavenly satisfaction.”
We laughed heartily at this sally against music - Dr. Swift was very learned on the dessert. He said he owed his fructification to Sir William Temple. I observed that it was delightful to see so great a man as Sir William Temple so happy as he appears to have been. The otium cum dignitate is surely nowhere to be found, is not as he ha painted it in his Works.
Dr. Swift.—The otium cum digging potatoes is better. I could shew you a dozen Irishmen (which is a great many, for thriving ones, who have the advantage of him. Sir William was a great, but not a bappy
He had an ill stomach. What is worse, he gave me one. Не taught me to eat platefulls of cherries and peaches, when I took no exercise.
A. H.-What can one trust to, if the air of tranquillity in his writings is not to be depended on ?
Mr. Pope.- I believe he talks too much of his ease, to be considered very easy. It is an ill head that takes so much concern about its pillow.
Dr. Swift.-Sir William Temple was a martyr to the “good sense" that came up in those days. He had sick blood, that required stirring; but because it was a high strain of good sense to agree with Epicurus and be of no religion, it was thought the highest possible strain, in any body who could go so far, to live in a garden as Epicurus did, and lie quiet, and be a philosopher. So Epicurus got a great stone in his kidneys ; and Sir William used to be out of temper, if his oranges got smutted.
I thought there was a little spleen in this account of Temple, which surprised me, considering old times. But if it be true that the giddiness, and even deafness, to which the Dean is subject, be owing to the philosopher's bad example, one can hardly wonder at its making him melancholy. He sat amidst a heap of fruit without touching it.
Mr. Pope.- Sir William, in his Essay on Gardening, says, he does not know how it is, that Lucretius's account of the gods is thought