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It would methinks be no ill Maxim of Life, if according to that Ancestor of Sir Roger, whom I lately mentioned, every Man would point to himself what Sum he would resolve not to exceed. He might by this Means cheat himself into a Tranquillity on this Side of that Expectation, or convert what he should get above it to nobler Uses than his own Pleasures or Necessities.
It is possible that the Tranquillity I now enjoy at Sir Roger's may have created in me this way of thinking, which is so abstracted from the common Relish of the World : But as I am now in a pleasing Arbour, surrounded with a beautiful Landscape, I find no Inclination so strong as to continue in these Mansions, so remote from the ostentatious Scenes of Life; and am at this present Writing Philosopher enough to conclude with Mr. Cowley,
If e'er Ambition did my Fancy cheat,
AD not Exercise been absolutely necessary for
our Well-being, Nature would not have made the Body so proper for it, by giving such an Activity to the Limbs, and such a Pliancy to every Part as necessarily produce those Compressions, Extensions, Contortions, Dilatations, and all other kinds of Motions that are necessary for the preservation of such a Sys. tem of Tubes and Glands as has been before mentioned. And that we might not want Inducements to engage us in such an Exercise of the Body as is proper for its Welfare, it is so ordered that nothing valuable can be procured without it. Not to mention Riches and Honour, even Food and Raiment are not to be come at without the Toil of the Hands and Sweat of the Brows. Providence furnishes Materials, but expects that we should work them up our selves. The Earth must be laboured before it gives its In
crease, and when it is forced into its several Products, how many Hands must they pass through before they are fit for Use? Manufactures, Trade, and Agriculture, naturally employ more than nineteen Parts of the Species in twenty; and as for those who are not obliged to labour, by the Condition in which they are born, they are more miserable than the rest of Man. kind, unless they indulge themselves in that voluntary Labour which goes by the Name of Exercise.
My Friend Sir Roger has been an indefatigable Man in Business of this kind, and has hung several Parts of his House with the Trophies of his former Labours. The Walls of his great Hall are covered with the Horns of several kinds of Deer that he has killed in the Chace, which he thinks the most valuable Furniture of his House, as they afford him frequent Topicks of Discourse, and show that he has not been idle. At the lower End of the Hall is a large Otter's Skin stuffed with Hay, which his Mother ordered to be hung up in that manner, and the Knight looks upon with great Satisfaction, because it seems he was but nine Years old when his Dog killed him. A little Room adjoining to the Hall is a kind of Arsenal filled with Guns of several Sizes and Inventions, with which the Knight has made great Havock in the Woods, and destroyed many thousands of Pheasants, Partridges and Woodcocks. His Stable Doors are patched with Noses that belonged to Foxes of the Knight's own hunting down. Sir Roger showed me one of them that for Distinction sake has a Brass Nail struck through it, which cost him about fifteen Hours' riding, carried him through half a Dozen Counties, killed him a Brace of Geldings, and lost above half his Dogs. This the Knight looks upon as one of the greatest Exploits of his Life. The perverse Widow, whom I have given some Account of, was the Death of several Foxes; for Sir Roger has told me that in the Course of his Amours he patched the Western Door of his Stable. Whenever the Widow was cruel, the Foxes were sure to pay for it. In Proportion as his Passion for the Widow abated and old Age came on, he left off Fox-hunting; but a Hare is not yet safe that sits within ten Miles of his House.
After what has been said, I need not inform my Readers, that Sir Roger, with whose Character I hope they are at present pretty well acquainted, has in his Youth gone through the whole Course of those rural Diversions which the Country abounds in; and which seem to be extremely well suited to that laborious Industry a Man may observe here in a far greater Degree than in Towns and Cities. I have before hinted at some of my Friend's Exploits : He has in his youthful Days taken forty Coveys of Partridges in a Season
n; and tired many a Salmon with a Line consisting but of a single Hair. The constant Thanks and good Wishes of the Neighbourhood always attended him, on account of his remarkable Enmity towards Foxes ; having destroyed more of those Vermin in one Year, than it was thought the whole Country could have produced. Indeed the Knight does not scruple to own among his most intimate Friends, that in order to establish his Reputation this Way, he has secretly sent for great Numbers of them out of other Countries, which he used to turn loose about the Country by Night, that he might the better signalize himself in their Destruction the next Day. His Hunting-Horses were the finest and best managed in all these Parts: His Tenants are still full of the Praises of a gray Stone-horse that unhappily staked himself several Years since, and was buried with great Solemnity in the Orchard.
Sir Roger, being at present too old for Fox-hunting, to keep himself in Action has disposed of his Beagles and got a Pack of Stop-hounds. What these want in Speed, he endeavours to make amends for by the Deepness of their Mouths and the Variety of their Notes, which are suited in such manner to each other, that the whole Cry makes up a complete Con