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give all his estate to pious uses: no sooner had he gotten a round sum, but presently he posted with it in his apron to the Court of Aldermen, and was in pain till by their direction he had settled it for the relief of poor in his own and other parishes, and disposed of some hundreds of pounds accordingly, as I am credibly informed by the then churchwardens of the said parish. Thus as he conceived himself casually (though at a great distance) to have occasioned the death of one, he was the immediate and direct cause of giving a comfortable living to many.-FULLER.
TRANSLATION.—Shakespeare was godfather to one of Ben Jonson's children, and after the christening, being in a deep study, Jonson came to cheer him up, and asked him why he was so melancholy? “No, faith, Ben (says he), not I, but I have been considering a great while what should be the fittest gift for me to bestow upon my god-child, and I have resolved at last.” “I pr’ythee, what?” says he, “ Ifaith, Ben, I'll e'en give him a dozen good Latten Spoons, and thou shalt translate them.”—L'ESTRANGE. Anecdotes and Traditions (a volume published by the Camden Society).
KEEP TO YOUR CALLING.—Bishop Grostest of Lincoln told his brother, who asked him to make him a great man—“ Brother,” said he, “if your plough is broken, I'll pay the mending of it; or if an ox is dead, I'll pay for another; but a ploughman I found you, and a ploughman I'll leave you.”—AUBREY.
CONSCIENCE.—A stranger came recommended to a merchant's house at Lubeck. He was hospitably received ; but, the house being full, he was lodged at night in an apartment handsomely furnished, but not often used. There was nothing that struck him particularly in the room when left alone, till he happened to cast his eyes on a picture which immediately arrested his attention. It was a single head; but there was something so uncommon, so frightful and unearthly, in its expression, though by no means ugly, that he found himself irresistibly attracted to look at it. In fact he could not tear himself from the fascination of this portrait, till his imagination was filled by it, and his rest broken. He retired to bed, dreamed, and awoke from time to time with the head glaring on him. In the morning his host saw by his looks that he had slept ill, and inquired the cause, which was told. The master of the house was much vexed, and said that the picture ought to have been removed, that it was an oversight, and that it always was removed when the chamber was used. The picture, he said, was, indeed, terrible to every one; but it was so fine, and had come into the family in so curious a way, that he could not make up his mind to part with it, or to destroy it. The story of it was this :—“My Father,” said he, “ was at Hamburgh on business, and, whilst dining at a coffee house, he observed a young man of a remarkable appearance enter, seat himself alone in a corner, and commence a solitary meal. His countenance bespoke the extreme of mental distress, and every now and then he turned his head quickly round as if he heard something, then shudder, grow pale, and go on with his meal after an effort as before. My father saw this same man at the same place for two or three successive days, and at length became so much interested about him that he spoke to him. The address was not repulsed, and the stranger seemed to find some comfort from the tone of sympathy and kindness which my father used. He was an Italian, well informed, poor but not destitute, and living economically upon the profits of his art as a painter. Their intimacy increased ; and at length the Italian, seeing my father's involuntary emotion at his convulsive turnings and shudderings, which continued as formerly, interrupting their conversation from time to time, told him his story. He was a native of Rome, and had lived in some familiarity with, and been much patronized by, a young nobleman; but upon some slight occasion they had fallen out, and his patron, besides using many reproachful expressions, had struck him. The painter brooded over the disgrace of the blow. He could not challenge the nobleman, on account of his rank; he therefore watched for an opportunity, and assassinated him. Of course he fled from his country, and finally had reached Hamburgh. He had not, however, passed many weeks from the night of the murder, before, one day, in the crowded street, he heard his name called by a voice familiar to him; he turned short round, and saw the face of his victim looking at him with a fixed eye. From that moment he had no peace : at all hours, in all places, and amidst all companies, however engaged he might be, he heard the voice, and could never help looking round; and, whenever he so looked round, he always encountered the same face staring close upon him. At last, in a mood of desperation, he had fixed himself face to face, and eye to eye, and deliberately drawn the phantom visage as it glared upon him; and this was the picture so drawn. The Italian said he had struggled long, but life was a burden which he could now no longer bear; and he was resolved, when he had made money enough to return to Rome, to surrender himself to justice, and expiate his crime on the scaffold. He gave the finished picture to my father, in return for the kindness which he had shown him.”—COLERIDGE. Table Talk.
King James mounted his horse one time, who formerly used to be very sober and quiet, but then began to bound and .prance. “The de'il o' my saul, sirrah,” says he, “an you be not quiet I'se send you to the five hundred kings in the lower House of Commons; they'll quickly tame you."-L'ESTRANGE.
THE SAFEST LENDERS.— The Lord Bacon was wont to commend the advice of the plain old man at Buxton, that sold besoms; a proud lazy young fellow came to him for a besom upon trust; to whom the old man said, “ Friend, hast thou no money? borrow of thy back, and borrow of thy belly; they'll ne'er ask thee again, I shall be dunning thee every day.”—BACON.
MEMORY.--Memory, of all the powers of the mind, is the most delicate, and frail ; it is the first of our faculties that age invades. Seneca, the father, the rhetorician, confesseth of himself, he had a miraculous one, not only to receive, but to hold. I myself could, in my youth, have repeated all that ever I had made, and so continued till I was past forty; since, it is much decayed in me. Yet I can repeat whole books that I have read, and poems of some selected friends, which I have liked to charge my memory. with. It was wont to be faithful to me, but shaken with age now, and sloth, which weakens the strongest abilities, it may perform somewhat, but cannot promise much. By exercise it is to be made better, and serviceable. Whatsoever I pawned with it while I was young and a boy, it offers me readily, and without stops : but what I trust to it now, or have done of later years, it lays up more negligently, and oftentimes loses ; so that I receive mine own (though frequently called for) as if it were new and borrowed. Nor do I always find presently from it. what I seek; but while I am doing another thing, that I laboured for will come: and what I sought with trouble, will offer itself when I am quiet. Now in some men I have found it as happy as nature, who, whatsoever they read or pen, they can say without book presently; as if they did then write in their mind. And it is more a wonder in such as have a swift style, for their memories are commonly slowest ; such as torture their writings, and go into council for every word, must needs fix somewhat, and make it their own at last, though but through their own vexation.--Ben Jonson.
Treason.—John Thelwall had something very good about him. We were once sitting in a beautiful recess in the Quantocks, when I said to him, “Citizen John, this is a fine place to talk treason in!” “Nay! citizen Samuel,” replied he, “it is rather a place to make a man forget that there is any necessity for treason!”--COLERIDGE. Table Talk.
DANGER.—A notorious rogue, being brought to the bar, and knowing bis case to be desperate, instead of pleading, he took to himself the liberty of jesting, and thus said, “I charge you, in the king's name, to seize and take away that man (meaning the judge) in the red gown, for I go in danger because of him.”—Bacon.
Begging A Fool.-[One of the abuses of old times was that the king, who had the custody of lunatics, entrusted the keeping of the rich unfortunates to avaricious courtiers, who thus acquired additional means of private extravagance.]
The Lord North begged old Bladwell for a fool (though he could never prove him so), and having him in his custody as a lunatic, he carried him to a gentleman's house one day that was a neighbour. The Lord North and the gentleman retired awhile to private discourse, and left Bladwell in the dining-room, which was hung with a fair hanging. Bladwell walked up and down, and viewing the imagery spied a fool at last in the hanging, and without delay draws his knife, flies at the fool, cuts him clean out, and lays him on the floor. My lord and the gentleman coming in again, and finding the tapestry thus defaced, he asks Bladwell what he meant by such a rude, uncivil act; he answered, “ Sir, be content, I have rather done you a courtesy than a wrong, for if ever my Lord North had seen the fool there, he would have begged him, and so you might have lost your whole suit.”— L'ESTRANGE. Anecdotes and Traditions.
TOBACCO.- Sir Walter Raleigh was the first that brought tobacco into England, and into fashion. In our part of North WiltsMalmesbury hundred—it came first into fashion by Sir Walter Long.
They had first silver pipes. The ordinary sort made use of a walnutshell and a straw. I have heard my grandfather Lyte say, that one pipe was handed from man to man round the table. Sir W. R. standing in a stand at Sir Ro. Poyntz's park at Acton, took a pipe of tobacco, which made the ladies quit it till he had done. Within these
thirty-five years 'twas scandalous for a divine to take tobacco. It was sold then for its weight in silver. I have heard some of our old yeomen neighbours say, that when they went to Malmesbury or Chippenham market, they culled out their biggest shillings to lay in the scales against the tobacco ; now, the customs of it are the greatest his majesty hath.-AUBREY.
THE VICAR OF WAKEFIELD.-I received one morning a message from poor Goldsmith that he was in great distress, and, as it was not in his power to come to me, begging that I would come to him as soon as possible. I sent him a guinea, and promised to come to him directly. I accordingly went as soon as I was dressed, and found that his landlady had arrested him for his rent, at which he was in a violent pas. sion. I perceived that he had already changed my guinea, and had got a bottle of madeira and a glass before him: I put the cork into the bottle, desired he would be calm, and began to talk to him of the means by which he might be extricated. He then told me that he had a novel ready for the press, which he produced to me. I looked into it, and saw its merit; told the landlady I should soon return; and, having gone to a bookseller, sold it for sixty pounds. I brought Goldsmith the money, and he discharged his rent, not without rating his landlady in a high tone for having used him so ill.-JOHNSON, in Boswell.
CANDOUR.—Marivaux, a celebrated French writer of romances, who flourished in the first half of the last century, having one day met with a sturdy beggar, who asked charity of him, he replied, “My good friend, strong and stout as you are, it is a shame that you do not go to work.” “Ah, master," said the beggar, “if you did but know how lazy I am.” “Well," replied Marivaux, “I see thou art an honest fellow, here is half-a-crown for you.”—SEWARD's Anecdotes.
AMBITION.—Cineas was an excellent orator and statesman, and principal friend and counsellor to Pyrrhus; and falling in inward talk with him, and discerning the king's endless ambition, Pyrrhus opened himself unto him, that he intended first a war upon Italy, and hoped to achieve it; Cineas asked him, “Sir, what will you do then?” “Then,” said he, “we will attempt Sicily.” Cineas said, “Well, sir, what then?” Said Pyrrhus, “ If the gods favour us, we may conquer Africa and Carthage.” “What then, sir?” saith Cineas. “Nay, then,” saith Pyrrhus, “we may take our rest, and sacrifice and feast every day, and