« AnkstesnisTęsti »
who is a baronet; and Autumn, being a rich widow, has taken the younger, and her purse endowed him with an equal fortune, and knighthood of the same order. This jumble of titles, you need not doubt, has been an aching torment to Autumn, who took place of the other on no pretence, but her carelessness and disregard of distinction. The secret occasion of envy broiled long in the breast of Autumn; but no opportunity of contention on that subject happening, kept all things quiet until the accident of which you demand an account.
"It was given out among all the gay people of this place, that on the ninth instant several damsels, swift of foot, were to run for a suit of head-cloaths at the Old Wells. Lady Autumn on this occasion invited Springly to go with her in her coach to see the race. When they came to the place, where the governor of Epsom and all his court of citizens were assembled, as well as a crowd of people of all orders, a brisk young fellow addresses himself to the younger of the ladies, viz. Springly, and offers her his service to conduct her into the musick-room. Springly accepts the compliment, and is led triumphantly through a bowing crowd, while Autumn is left among the rabble, and has much ado to get back into her coach; but she did it at last: and, as it is usual to see, by the horses, my Lady's present disposition, she orders John to whip furiously home to her husband; where, when she enters, down she sits, began to unpin her hood, and lament her foolish fond heart, to marry into a family where she was so little regarded; she that might. Here she stops; then rises up, and stamps, and sits down again. Her gentle knight made his approach with a supple beseeching gesture. My dear!' said he Tell me no dears!' replied Autumn, in the presence of the governor and all the merchants. What
will the world say of a woman that has thrown herself away at this rate?' Sir Thomas withdrew, and knew it would not be long a secret to him; as well as that experience told him, he that marries a fortune is, of course, guilty of all faults against his wife, let them be committed by whom they will: but Springly, an hour or two after, returns from the Wells, and finds the whole company together. Down she sat, and a profound silence ensued. You know a premeditated quarrel usually begins and works up with the words some people. The silence was broken by Lady Autumn, who began to say,There are some people who fancy, that if some people-Springly immediately takes her up. There are some people who fancy, if other people'-Autumn repartees, 'People may give themselves airs; but other people, perhaps, who make less ado, may be, perhaps, as agreeable as people who set themselves out more.' All the other people at the table sat mute, while these two people, who were quarrelling, went on with the use of the word people, instancing the very accidents between them, as if they kept only in distant hints. Therefore, says Autumn, reddening, • There are some people will go abroad in other peoples coaches, and leave those with whom they went to shift for themselves and if, perhaps, those people have married the younger brother; yet, perhaps, he may be beholden to those people for what he is.' Springly smartly answers, People may bring so much illhumour into a family, as people may repent their receiving their money;' and goes on- Every body is not considerable enough to give, her uneasiness.' Upon this Autumn comes up to her, and desired her to kiss her, and never to see her again; which her sister refusing, my lady gave her a box on the ear. Springly returns, Ay, ay, said she, I knew
well enough you meant me by your some people ;' and gives her another on the other side. To it they went with most masculine fury; each husband ran in. The wives immediately fell upon their husbands, and tore periwigs and cravats. The company interposed; when (according to the slip-knot of matrimony, which makes them return to one another when any one put in between) the ladies and their husbands fell upon all the rest of the company; and, having beat all their friends and relations out of the house, came to themselves time enough to know, there was no bearing the jest of the place after these adventures, and therefore marched off the next day. It is said, the governor has sent several joints of mutton, and has proposed divers dishes, very exquisitely dressed, to bring them down again. From his address and knowledge in roast and boiled, all our hopes of the return of this good company depend. I am, dear Jenny,
"Your ready friend and servant,
White's Chocolate-house, June 30.
This day appeared here a figure of a person, whose services to the fair sex have reduced him to a kind of existence for which there is no name. If there be a condition between life and death, without being absolutely dead or living, his state is that. His aspect and complexion, in his robust days, gave him the illustrious title of Africanus: but it is not only from the warm climates in which he has served, nor from the disasters which he has suffered, that he deserves the same appellation with that renowned Roman; but that magnanimity with which he appears in his last moments, is what gives him the undoubted character of hero. Cato stabbed
himself, and Hannibal drank poison; but our Africanus lives in the continual puncture of aching bones and poisoned juices. The old heroes fled from torments by death; and this modern lives in death and torments, with an heart wholly bent upon a supply for remaining in them: an ordinary spirit would sink under his oppressions, but he makes an advantage of his very sorrow, and raises an income from his diseases. Long has this worthy been conversant in bartering, and knows that, when stocks are lowest it is the time to buy. Therefore, with much prudence and tranquillity, he thinks that, now he has not a bone sound, but a thousand nodous parts for which the anatomists have not words, and more diseases than the college ever heard of, it is the only time to purchase an annuity for life. Sir Thomas told me, it was an entertainment more surprising and pleasant than can be imagined, to see an inhabitant of neither world, without hand to lift, or leg to move, scarce tongue to utter his meaning, so keen upon biting the whole world, and making bubbles at his exit. Sir Thomas added, that he would have bought twelve shillings a year of him, but that he feared there was some trick in it, and believed him already dead. "What," says the knight, "is Mr. Partridge, whom I met just now going on both his legs firmer than I can, allowed to be quite dead; and shall Africanus, without one limb that can do its office, be pronounced alive?"
What heightened the tragi-comedy of this market for annuities was, that the observation of it provoked Monoculus (who is the most eloquent of all men) to many excellent reflections; which he spoke with the vehemence and language both of a gamester and an orator. "When I cast," said that delightful speaker, my eye upon thee, thou unaccountable Africanus, I cannot but call myself as un
accountable as thou art; for, certainly, we were born to shew what contradictions nature is pleased to form in the same species. Here am I, able to eat, to drink, to sleep, and to do all acts of nature, except begetting my like; and yet, by an unintelligible force of spleen and fancy, I every moment imagine I am dying. It is utter madness in thee to provide for supper; for, I will bet you ten to one, you do not live until half an hour after four; and yet I am so distracted as to be in fear every mo◄ ment; though I will lay ten to three, I drink three pints of burnt claret at your funeral three nights hence. After all, I envy thee; thou who, dying, hast no sense of death, art happier than one in health, who always fears it." The knight had gone on, but that a third man ended the scene, by applauding the knight's eloquence and philosophy, in à laughter too violent for his own constitution, as much as he mocked that of Africanus and Monoculus.
St. James's Coffee-house, July 1.
This day arrived here three mails from Holland, " with advices relating to the affairs of the Low Countries, which say, that the confederate army extends from Louchin, on the causeway between Tournay and Lisle, to Epain, near Mortagne on the Scheld. The Marshal Villars remains in his camp at Lens; but it is said, he detached ten thousand men under the command of the Chevalier de Luxemburg, with orders to form a camp at Crepin on the Haine, between Conde and St. Guillain, where he is to be joined by the Elector of Bavaria, with a body of troops; and, after their conjunction, to attempt to march into Brabant. But they write from Brussels, that the Duke of Marlborough having it equally in his power to make detachments to the same parts,