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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.”
At the time when Addison described the race of fortune-telling gipsies for the edification of the London public, there were few travellers for amusement, and fewer who left the din and smoke of the town to wander through commons and green lanes, the gipsies' haunts. It is remarkable how little change is to be observed in the manners of the vagrant tribe. Addison's description might have been written yester
“As I was yesterday riding out in the fields with my friend Sir Roger, we saw at a little distance from us a troop of gipsies. Upon the first discovery of them, my friend was in some doubt whether he should not exert the Justice of the Peace upon such a band of lawless vagrants; but not having his clerk with him, who is a necessary counsellor on these occasions, and fearing that his poultry might fare the worse for it, he let the thought drop: but at the same time gave me a particular account of the mischiefs they do in the country, in stealing people's goods and spoiling their servants. If a stray piece of linen hangs upon an hedge, says Sir Roger, they are sure to have it; if the hog loses his way in the field, it is ten to one but he becomes their prey; our geese cannot live in peace for them; if a man prosecutes them with severity, his hen-roost is sure to pay for it: they generally straggle into these parts about this time of the year; and set the heads of our servant-maids so agog for husbands, that we do not expect to have any business done as it should be whilst they are in the country. I have an honest dairy-maid who crosses their hands with a piece of silver every summer, and never fails being promised the handsomest young fellow in the parish for her pains. Your friend the butler has been fool enough to be seduced by them, and, though he is sure to lose a knife, a fork, or a spoon, every time his fortune is told him, generally shuts himself up in the pantry with an old gipsy for above half an hour once in a twelvemonth. Sweethearts are the things they live upon, which they bestow very plentifully upon all those that apply themselves to them. You see now and then some handsome young jades among them: the sluts have very often white teeth and black eyes.
“Sir Roger observing that I listened with great attention to his account of a people who were so entirely new to me, told me, that if I
would, they should tell us our fortunes. As I was very well pleased with the knight's proposal, we rid up and communicated our hands to them. A Cassandra of the crew, after having examined my lines very diligently, told me, that I loved a pretty maid in a corner, with some other particulars which I do not think proper to relate. My friend Sir Roger alighted from his horse, and exposing his palm to two or three that stood by him, they crumpled it into all shapes, and diligently scanned every wrinkle that could be made in it; when one of them, who was older and more sun-burnt than the rest, told him, that he had a widow in his line of life : upon which the Knight cried, Go, go, you are an idle baggage ; and at the same time smiled upon me. The gipsy, finding he was not displeased in his heart, told him, after a farther inquiry into his hand, that his true-love was constant, and that she should dream of him to-night: my old friend cried Pish, and bid her go on. The gipsy told him that he was a bachelor, but would not be so long; and that he was dearer to somebody than he thought: the knight still repeated, she was an idle baggage, and bid her go on. Ah, master, says the gipsy, that roguish leer of yours makes a pretty woman's heart ache: you have not that simper about the mouth for nothing. The uncouth gibberish with which all this was uttered, like the darkness of an oracle, made us the more attentive to it. To be short, the knight left the money with her that he had crossed her hand with, and got up again on his horse.
“As we were riding away, Sir Roger told me that he knew several sensible people who believed these gipsies now and then foretold very strange things; and for half an hour together appeared more jocund than ordinary. In the height of his good humour, meeting a common beggar upon the road, who was no conjurer, as he went to relieve him he found his pocket was picked : that being a kind of palmistry at which this race of vermin are very dexterous.”
The Spectator, No. 122, is wholly by Addison. We give it entire, as it contains many touches of his delicate humour, as well as a quaint view of bygone manners :
“A man's first care should be to avoid the reproaches of his own heart; his next, to escape the censures of the world. If the last interferes with the former, it ought to be entirely neglected; but otherwise there cannot be a greater satisfaction to an honest mind than to see those approbations which it gives itself seconded by the applauses of the public. A man is more sure of his conduct when the verdict which he passes upon his own behaviour is thus warranted and confirmed by the opinion of all that know him.
“My worthy friend Sir Roger is one of those who is not only at peace within himself, but beloved and esteemed by all about him. He receives a suitable tribute for his universal benevolence to mankind, in the returns of affection and good-will which are paid him by every one that lives within his neighbourhood. I lately met with two or three odd instances of that general respect which is shown to the good old knight. He would needs carry Will Wimble and myself with him to the county assizes. As we were upon the road, Will Wimble joined a couple of plain men who rid before us, and conversed with them for some time, during which my friend Sir Roger acquainted me with their characters.
“The first of them,' says he, that has a spaniel by his side, is a yeoman of about a hundred pounds a year, an honest man. He is just within the Game Act, and qualified to kill a hare or a pheasant. He knocks down a dinner with his gun twice or thrice a week; and by that means lives much cheaper than those who have not so good an estate as himself. He would be a good neighbour if he did not destroy so many partridges. In short, he is a very sensible man; shoots flying; and has been several times foreman of the petty jury.
“The other that rides along with him is Tom Touchy, a fellow famous for taking “the law” of every body. There is not one in the town where he lives that he has not sued at a quarter-sessions. The rogue had once the impudence to go to law with the Widow. His head is full of costs, damages, and ejectments. He plagued a couple of honest gentlemen so long for a trespass in breaking one of his hedges, till he was forced to sell the ground it enclosed to defray the charges of the prosecution ; his father left him fourscore pounds a year; but he has cast and been cast so often, that he is now not worth thirty. I suppose he is going upon the old business of the willow-tree.'
“ As Sir Roger was giving me this account of Tom Touchy, Will Wimble and his two companions stopped short till we came up to them. After having paid their respects to Sir Roger, Will told him that Mr. Touchy and he must appeal to him upon a dispute that arose between them. Will, it seems, had been giving his fellow traveller an account of his angling one day in such a hole; when Tom Touchy, instead of hearing out his story, told him that Mr. Such a-one, if he pleased, might take the law of him for fishing in that part of the river. My friend Sir Roger heard them both upon a round trot; and, after having paused some time, told them, with the air of a man who would not give his judgment rashly, that much might be said on both sides.' They were neither of them dissatisfied with the knight's determination, because neither of them found himself in the wrong by it. Upon which we made the best of our way to the assizes.
“ The Court was sat before Sir Roger came; but, notwithstanding all the justices had taken their places upon the bench, they made room for the old knight at the head of them; who, for his reputation in the country, took occasion to whisper in the judge's ear that he was glad his lordship had met with so much good weather in his circuit. I was listening to the proceedings of the court with much attention, and infinitely pleased with that great appearance of solemnity which so properly accompanies such a public administration of our laws; when, after about an hour's sitting, I observed, to my great surprise, in the midst of a trial, that my friend Sir Roger was getting up to speak. I was in some pain for him, until I found he had acquitted himself of two or three sentences with a look of much business and great intrepidity.
“Upon his first rising the court was hushed, and a general whisper ran among the country-people that Sir Roger was up.' The speech he made was so little to the purpose, that I shall not trouble my readers with an account of it; and I believe was not so much designed by the knight himself to inform the court, as to give him a figure in my eye, and keep up his credit in the country.
“I was highly delighted, when the court rose, to see the gentlemen of the county gathering about my old friend, and striving who should compliment him most; at the same time that the ordinary people gazed upon him at a distance, not a little admiring his courage that he was not afraid to speak to the judge.
“In our return home we met with a very odd accident; which I cannot forbear relating, because it shows how desirous all who know Sir Roger are of giving him marks of their esteem. When we were arrived upon the verge of his estate, we stopped at a little inn to rest ourselves and our horses. The man of the house had, it seems, been formerly a servant in the knight's family, and to do honour to his old master, had, some time since, unknown to Sir Roger, put him up in a sign-post before the door; so that the knight's head hung out upon the road about a week before he himself knew anything of the matter. As soon as Sir Roger was acquainted with it, finding that his servant's indiscretion proceeded wholly from affection and good-will, he only told him that he had made him too high a compliment; and, when the fellow seemed to think that could hardly be, added, with a more decisive look, that it was too great an honour for any man under a duke; but told him, at the same time, that it might be altered with a very few touches, and that he himself would be at the charge of it. Accordingly they got a painter by the knight's directions to add a pair of whiskers to the face, and by a little aggravation to the features to change it into the Saracen's Head. I should not have known this story, had not the innkeeper, upon Sir Roger's alighting, told him in my hearing that his honour's head was brought last night with the alterations that he had ordered to be made in it. Upon this, my friend, with his usual cheerfulness, related the particulars above mentioned, and ordered the head to be brought into the room. I could not forbear discovering greater expressions of mirth than ordinary upon the appearance of this monstrous face, under which, notwithstanding it was made to frown and stare in a most extraordinary manner, I could still discover a distant resemblance of my old friend. Sir Roger, upon seeing me laugh, desired me to tell him truly if I thought it possible for people to know him in that disguise. I at first kept my usual silence; but, upon the knight's conjuring me to tell him whether it was not still more like himself than a Saracen, I composed
Terms of Willy pre like himself to me my countenance in the best manner I could, and replied, “that much might be said on both sides.'
“ These several adventures, with the knight's behaviour in them, ? gave me as pleasant a day as ever I met with in any of my travels.”
40.-SCENES FROM THE DUCHESS OF MALFI.
WEBSTER. [The dramas of John Webster have been collected by the Rev. A. Dyce; and it was a worthy task to rescue such remarkable works from their obscure hiding-places in the cabinets of rare book collectors.