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Title: Days with Sir Roger De Coverley,
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Title: DAYS WITH SIR ROGER DE COVERLEY

Author: JOSEPH ADDISON and RICHARD STEELE

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DAYS WITH SIR ROGER DE COVERLEY

by Joseph Addison and Richard Steele

(Originally published in THE SPECTATOR)




CONTENTS.


SIR ROGER'S FAMILY.

MR. WILL WIMBLE.

THE PICTURE GALLERY.

A COUNTRY SUNDAY.

THE WIDOW.

THE CHASE.

THE COUNTY ASSIZES.

THE SPECTATOR'S RETURN TO TOWN.




SIR ROGER'S FAMILY.

Having often received an invitation from my friend Sir Roger de
Coverley to pass away a month with him in the country, I last
week accompanied him thither, and am settled with him for some
time at his country-house, where I intend to form several of my
ensuing Speculations.  Sir Roger, who is very well acquainted
with my humour, lets me rise and go to bed when I please, dine at
his own table or in my chamber as I think fit, sit still and say
nothing without bidding me be merry.  When the gentlemen of the
country come to see him, he only shews me at a distance.  As I
have been walking in his fields I have observed them stealing a
sight of me over an hedge, and have heard the Knight desiring
them not to let me see them, for that I hated to be stared at.
I am the more at ease in Sir Roger's family, because it consists
of sober and staid persons; for as the Knight is the best master
in the world, he seldom changes his servants; and as he is
beloved by all about him, his servants never care for leaving
him; by this means his domesticks are all in years, and grown old
with their master.  You would take his valet de chambre for his
brother, his butler is gray-headed, his groom is one of the
gravest men that I have ever seen, and his coachman has the looks
of a privy-counsellor.  You see the goodness of the master even
in the old house-dog, and in a gray pad that is kept in the
stable with great care and tenderness out of regard to his past
services, tho' he has been useless for several years.

I could not but observe with a great deal of pleasure the joy
that appeared in the countenance of these ancient domesticks upon
my friend's arrival at his country-seat.  Some of them could not
refrain from tears at the sight of their old master; every one of
them press'd forward to do something for him, and seemed
discouraged if they were not employed.  At the same time the good
old Knight, with the mixture of the father and the master of the
family, tempered the enquiries after his own affairs with several
kind questions relating to themselves.  This humanity and good-
nature engages every body to him, so that when he is pleasant
upon any of them, all his family are in good humour, and none so
much as the person whom he diverts himself with.  On the
contrary, if he coughs, or betrays any infirmity of old age, it
is easy for a stander-by to observe a secret concern in the looks
of all his servants.

My worthy friend has put me under the particular care of his
butler, who is a very prudent man, and, as well as the rest of
his fellow-servants, wonderfully desirous of pleasing me, because
they have often heard their master talk of me as of his
particular friend.

My chief companion, when Sir Roger is diverting himself in the
woods or the fields, is a very venerable man who is ever with Sir
Roger, and has lived at his house in the nature of a chaplain
above thirty years.  This gentleman is a person of good sense and
some learning, of a very regular life and obliging conversation.
He heartily loves Sir Roger, and knows that he is very much in
the old Knight's esteem, so that he lives in the family rather as
a relation than a dependent.

I have observed in several of my papers, that my friend Sir
Roger, amidst all his good qualities, is something of an
humorist; and that his virtues, as well as imperfections, are as
it were tinged by a certain extravagance, which makes them
particularly HIS, and distinguishes them from those of other men.
This cast of mind, as it is generally very innocent in itself, so
it renders his conversation highly agreeable, and more delightful
than the same degree of sense and virtue would appear in their
common and ordinary colours.  As I was walking with him last
night, he asked me how I liked the good man whom I have just now
mentioned?  and without staying for my answer told me, That he
was afraid of being insulted with Latin and Greek at his own
table; for which reason he desired a particular friend of his at
the University to find him out a clergyman rather of plain sense
than much learning, of a good aspect, a clear voice, a sociable
temper, and, if possible, a man that understood a little of
backgammon.  My friend, says Sir Roger, found me out this
gentleman, who, besides the endowments required of him, is, they
tell me, a good scholar, tho' he does not shew it.  I have given
him the parsonage of the parish; and because I know his value,
have settled upon him a good annuity for life.  If he outlives
me, he shall find that he was higher in my esteem than perhaps he
thinks he is.  He has now been with me thirty years; and tho' he
does not know I have taken notice of it, has never in all that
time asked anything of me for himself, tho' he is every day
soliciting me for some thing in behalf of one or other of my
tenants his parishioners.  There has not been a law-suit in the
parish since he has liv'd among them.  If any dispute arises they
apply themselves to him for the decision; if they do not
acquiesce in his judgment, which I think never happened above
once or twice at most, they appeal to me.  At his first settling
with me, I made him a present of all the good sermons which have
been printed in English, and only begg'd of him that every Sunday
he would pronounce one of them in the pulpit.  Accordingly, he
has digested them into such a series, that they follow one
another naturally, and make a continued system of practical
divinity.

As Sir Roger was going on in his story, the gentleman we were
talking of came up to us; and upon the Knight's asking him who
preached to tomorrow (for it was Saturday night) told us, the
Bishop of St. Asaph in the morning, and Dr. South in the
afternoon.  He then shewed us his list of preachers for the whole
year, where I saw with a great deal of pleasure Archbishop
Tillotson, Bishop Saunderson, Dr. Barrow, Dr. Calamy, with
several living authors who have published discourses of practical
divinity.  I no sooner saw this venerable man in the pulpit, but
I very much approved of my friend's insisting upon the
qualifications of a good aspect and a clear voice; for I was so
charmed with the gracefulness of his figure and delivery, as well
as with the discourses he pronounced, that I think I never passed
any time more to my satisfaction.  A sermon repeated after this
manner, is like the composition of a poet in the mouth of a
graceful actor.

I could heartily wish that more of our country-clergy would
follow this example; and instead of wasting their spirits in
laborious compositions of their own, would endeavour after a
handsome elocution, and all those other talents that are proper
to enforce what has been penned by greater masters.  This would
not only be more easy to themselves, but more edifying to the
people.



MR. WILL WIMBLE.

I was yesterday morning walking with Sir Roger before his house,
a country-fellow brought him a huge fish, which, he told him, Mr.
William Wimble had caught that very morning; and that he
presented it, with his service to him, and intended to come and
dine with him.  At the same time he delivered a letter which my
friend read to me as soon as the messenger left him.

"Sir Roger,

"I desire you to accept of a jack, which is the best I have
caught this season.  I intend to come and stay with you a week,
and see how the perch bite in the Black River.  I observed with
some concern, the last time I saw you upon the bowling-green,
that your whip wanted a lash to it; I will bring half a dozen
with me that I twisted last week, which I hope will serve you all
the time you are in the country.  I have not been out of the
saddle for six days last past, having been at Eaton with Sir
John's eldest son.  He takes to his learning hugely.

"I am, Sir, your humble servant,

"Will Wimble."

This extraordinary letter, and message that accompanied it, made
me very curious to know the character and quality of the
gentleman who sent them; which I found to be as follows.  Will
Wimble is younger brother to a baronet, and descended of the
ancient family of the Wimbles.  He is now between forty and
fifty; but being bred to no business and born to no estate, he
generally lives with his elder brother as superintendent of his
game.  He hunts a pack of dogs better than any man in the
country, and is very famous for finding out a hare.  He is
extremely well versed in all the little handicrafts of an idle
man:  he makes a Mayfly to a miracle; and furnishes the whole
country with angle-rods.  As he is a good-natur'd officious
fellow, and very much esteem'd upon account of his family, he is
a welcome guest at every house, and keeps up a good
correspondence among all the gentlemen about him.  He carries a
tulip-root in his pocket from one to another, or exchanges a
puppy between a couple of friends that live perhaps in the
opposite sides of the county.  Will is a particular favourite of
all the young heirs, whom he frequently obliges with a net that
he has weaved, or a setting-dog that he has made himself.  He now
and then presents a pair of garters of his own knitting to their
mothers or sisters; and raises a great deal of mirth among them,
by enquiring as often as he meets them how they wear!  These
gentlemen-like manufactures and obliging little humours make Will
the darling of the country.

Sir Roger was proceeding in the character of him, when we saw him
make up to us with two or three hazel-twigs in his hand that he
had cut in Sir Roger's woods, as he came through them, in his way
to the house.  I was very much pleased to observe on one side the
hearty and sincere welcome with which Sir Roger received him, and
on the other, the secret joy which his guest discover'd at sight
of the good old Knight.  After the first salutes were over, Will
desired Sir Roger to lend him one of his servants to carry a set
of shuttle-cocks he had with him in a little box to a lady that
lived about a mile off, to whom it seems he had promised such a
present for above this half year.  Sir Roger's back was no sooner
turned but honest Will began to tell me of a large cock-pheasant
that he had sprung in one of the neighbouring woods, with two or
three other adventures of the same nature.  Odd and uncommon
characters are the game I looked for, and most delight in; for
which reason I was as much pleased with the novelty of the person
that talked to me, as he could be for his life with the springing
of a pheasant, and therefore listen'd to him with more than
ordinary attention.

In the midst of his discourse the bell rung to dinner, where the
gentleman I have been speaking of had the pleasure of seeing the
huge jack, he had caught, served up for the first dish in a most
sumptuous manner.  Upon our sitting down to it he gave us a long
account how he had hooked it, played with it, foiled it, and at
length drew it out upon the bank, with several other particulars
that lasted all the first course.  A dish of wild fowl that came
afterwards furnished conversation for the rest of the dinner,
which concluded with a late invention of Will's for improving the
quail-pipe.

Upon withdrawing into my room after dinner, I was secretly
touched with compassion towards the honest gentleman that had
dined with us; and could not but consider, with a great deal of
concern, how so good an heart and such busy hands were wholly
employed in trifles; that so much humanity should be so little
beneficial to others, and so much industry so little advantageous
to himself.  The same temper of mind and application to affairs
might have recommended him to the publick esteem, and have raised
his fortune in another station of life.  What good to his country
or himself might not a trader or merchant have done with such
useful tho' ordinary qualifications?

Will Wimble's is the case of many a younger brother of a great
family, who had rather see their children starve like gentlemen,
than thrive in a trade or profession that is beneath their
quality.  This humour fills several parts of Europe with pride
and beggary.  It is the happiness of a trading nation, like ours,
that the younger sons, tho' uncapable of any liberal art or
profession, may be placed in such a way of life as may perhaps
enable them to vie with the best of their family.  Accordingly,
we find several citizens that were launched into the world with
narrow fortunes, rising by an honest industry to greater estates
than those of their elder brothers.  It is not improbable but
Will was formerly tried at divinity, law, or physick; and that
finding his genius did not lie that way, his parents gave him up
at length to his own inventions.  But certainly, however improper
he might have been for studies of a higher nature, he was
perfectly well turned for the occupations of trade and commerce.
As I think this is a point which cannot be too much inculcated, I
shall desire my reader to compare what I have here written with
what I have said in my twenty-first speculation.



THE PICTURE GALLERY.

I was this morning walking in the gallery when Sir Roger entered
at the end opposite to me, and advancing towards me, said he was
glad to meet me among his relations the De Coverleys, and hoped I
liked the conversation of so much good company, who were as
silent as myself.  I knew he alluded to the pictures, and as he
is a gentleman who does not a little value himself upon his
ancient descent, I expected he would give me some account of
them.  We were now arrived at the upper-end of the gallery, when
the Knight faced towards one of the pictures, and as we stood
before it he entered into the matter, after his blunt way of
saying things, as they occur to his imagination, without regular
introduction, or care to preserve the appearance of chain of
thought.

"It is," said he, "worth while to consider the force of dress;
and how the persons of one age differ from those of another,
merely by that only.  One may observe also, that the general
fashion of one age has been followed by one particular set of
people in another, and by them preserved from one generation to
another.  Thus the vast jetting coat and small bonnet, which was
the habit in Harry the seventh's time, is kept on in the yeomen
of the guard; not without a good and politick view, because they
look a foot taller, and a foot and an half broader.  Besides that
the cap leaves the face expanded, and consequently more terrible,
and fitter to stand at the entrances of palaces.

"This predecessor of ours, you see, is dressed after this manner,
and his cheeks would be no larger than mine, were he in a hat as
I am.  He was the last man that won a prize in the tilt-yard
(which is now a common street before Whitehall).  You see the
broken lance that lies there by his right foot; he shiver'd that
lance of his adversary all to pieces; and bearing himself, look
you, Sir, in this manner, at the same time he came within the
target of the gentleman who rode against him, and taking him with
incredible force before him on the pommel of his saddle, he in
that manner rid the turnament over, with an air that shewed he
did it rather to perform the rule of the lists, than expose his
enemy; however, it appeared he knew how to make use of a victory,
and with a gentle trot he marched up to a gallery where their
mistress sat (for they were rivals) and let him down with
laudable courtesy and pardonable insolence.  I don't know but it
might be exactly where the coffee-house is now.

"You are to know this my ancestor was not only of a military
genius, but fit also for the arts of peace, for he played on the
bass-viol as well as any gentleman at court; you see where his
viol hangs by his basket-hilt sword.  The action at the tilt-yard
you may be sure won the fair lady, who was a maid of honour, and
the greatest beauty of her time; here she stands the next
picture.  You see, Sir, my great-great-great-grandmother has on
the new-fashion'd petticoat, except that the modern is gather'd
at the waist; my grandmother appears as if she stood in a large
drum, whereas the ladies now walk as if they were in a go-cart.
For all this lady was bred at court, she became an excellent
country-wife, she brought ten children, and when I shew you the
library, you shall see in her own hand (allowing for the
difference of the language) the best receipt now in England both
for an hasty-pudding and a white-pot.

"If you please to fall back a little, because 'tis necessary to
look at the three next pictures at one view; these are three
sisters.  She on the right hand, who is so very beautiful, died a
maid; the next to her, still handsomer, had the same fate against
her will; this homely thing in the middle had both their portions
added to her own, and was stolen by a neighbouring gentleman, a
man of stratagem and resolution, for he poisoned three mastiffs
to come at her, and knocked down two deer-stealers in carrying
her off.  Misfortunes happen in all families:  the theft of this
romp and so much money, was no great matter to our estate.  But
the next heir that possessed it was this soft gentleman, whom you
see there:  observe the small buttons, the little boots, the
laces, the slashes about his clothes, and above all the posture
he is drawn in (which to be sure was his own choosing); you see
he sits with one hand on a desk writing and looking as it were
another way, like an easy writer, or a sonneteer.  He was one of
those that had too much wit to know how to live in the world; he
was a man of no justice, but great good manners; he ruined every
body that had any thing to do with him, but never said a rude
thing in his life; the most indolent person in the world, he
would sign a deed that passed away half his estate with his
gloves on, but would not put on his hat before a lady if it were
to save his country.  He is said to be the first that made love
by squeezing the hand.  He left the estate with ten thousand
pounds debt upon it; but, however, by all hands I have been
informed that he was every way the finest gentleman in the world.
That debt lay heavy on our house for one generation, but it was
retrieved by a gift from that honest man you see there, a citizen
of our name, but nothing at all akin to us.  I know Sir Andrew
Freeport had said behind my back, that this man was descended
from one of the ten children of the maid of honour I shewed you
above; but it was never made out.  We winked at the thing indeed,
because money was wanting at that time."

Here I saw my friend a little embarrassed, and turned my face to
the next portraiture.

Sir Roger went on with his account of the gallery in the
following manner.  "This man (pointing to him I looked at) I take
to be the honour of our house.  Sir Humphrey de Coverley; he was
in his dealings as punctual as a tradesman and as generous as a
gentleman.  He would have thought himself as much undone by
breaking his word, as if it were to be followed by bankruptcy.
He served his country as knight of this shire to his dying day.
He found it no easy matter to maintain an integrity in his words
and actions, even in things that regarded the offices which were
incumbent upon him, in the care of his own affairs and relations
of life, and therefore dreaded (though he had great talents) to
go into employments of state, where he must be exposed to the
snares of ambition.  Innocence of life and great ability were the
distinguishing parts of his character; the latter, he had often
observed, had led to the destruction of the former, and used
frequently to lament that great and good had not the same
signification.  He was an excellent husbandman, but had resolved
not to exceed such a degree of wealth; all above it he bestowed
in secret bounties many years after the sum he aimed at for his
own use was attained.  Yet he did not slacken his industry, but
to a decent old age spent the life and fortune which was
superfluous to himself, in the service of his friends and
neighbours."

Here we were called to dinner, and Sir Roger ended the discourse
of this gentleman, by telling me, as we followed the servant,
that this his ancestor was a brave man, and narrowly escaped
being killed in the civil wars; "For," said he, "he was sent out
of the field upon a private message, the day before the battle of
Worcester." The whim of narrowly escaping by having been within a
day of danger, with other matters above mentioned, mixed with
good sense, left me at a loss whether I was more delighted with
my friend's wisdom or simplicity.



A COUNTRY SUNDAY.

I am always very well pleased with a country Sunday, and think,
if keeping holy the seventh day were only a human institution, it
would be the best method that could have been thought of for the
polishing and civilizing of mankind.  It is certain the country
people would soon degenerate into a kind of savages and
barbarians, were there not such frequent returns of a stated
time, in which the whole village meet together with their best
faces, and in their cleanliest habits, to converse with one
another upon indifferent subjects, hear their duties explained to
them, and join together in adoration of the Supreme Being.
Sunday clears away the rust of the whole week, not only as it
refreshes in their minds the notions of religion, but as it puts
both the sexes upon appearing in their most agreeable forms, and
exerting all such qualities as are apt to give them a figure in
the eye of the village.  A country-fellow distinguishes himself
as much in the Church-yard, as a citizen does upon the Change,
the whole parish-politicks being generally discussed in that
place either after sermon or before the bell rings.

My friend Sir Roger, being a good churchman, has beautified the
inside of his church with several texts of his own choosing.  He
has likewise given a handsome pulpit-cloth, and railed in the
communion-table at his own expense.  He has often told me, that
at his coming to his estate he found his parishioners very
irregular; and that in order to make them kneel and join in their
responses, he gave every one of them a hassock and a common
prayer-book:  and at the same time employed an itinerant singing-
master, who goes about the country for that purpose, to instruct
them rightly in the tunes of the psalms; upon which they now very
much value themselves, and indeed outdo most of the country
churches that I have ever heard.

As Sir Roger is landlord to the whole congregation, he keeps them
in very good order, and will suffer nobody to sleep in it besides
himself; for if by chance he has been surprised into a short nap
at sermon, upon recovering out of it he stands up and looks about
him, and if he sees any body else nodding, either wakes them
himself, or sends his servants to them.  Several other of the old
Knight's particularities break out upon these occasions.
Sometimes he will be lengthening out a verse in the singing-
psalms, half a minute after the rest of the congregation have
done with it; sometimes, when he is pleased with the matter of
his devotion, he pronounces Amen three or four times to the same
prayer; and sometimes stands up when every body else is upon
their knees, to count the congregation, or see if any of his
tenants are missing.

I was yesterday very much surprised to hear my old friend, in the
midst of the service, calling out to one John Mathews to mind
what he was about, and not disturb the congregation.  This John
Mathews it seems is remarkable for being an idle fellow, and at
that time was kicking his heels for his diversion.  This
authority of the Knight, though exerted in that odd manner which
accompanies him in all circumstances of life, has a very good
effect upon the parish, who are not polite enough to see anything
ridiculous in his behaviour; besides that the general good sense
and worthiness of his character makes his friends observe these
little singularities as foils that rather set off than blemish
his good qualities.

As soon as the sermon is finished, no body presumes to stir till
Sir Roger is gone out of the church.  The Knight walks down from
his seat in the chancel between a double row of his tenants, that
stand bowing to him on each side; and every now and then enquires
how such an one's wife, or mother, or son, or father do, whom he
does not see at church; which is understood as a secret reprimand
to the person that is absent.

The chaplain has often told me, that upon a catechising day, when
Sir Roger has been pleased with a boy that answers well, he has
ordered a Bible to be given him next day for his encouragement;
and sometimes accompanies it with a flitch of bacon to his
mother.  Sir Roger has likewise added five pounds a year to the
clerk's place; and that he may encourage the young fellows to
make themselves perfect in the church service, has promised upon
the death of the present incumbent, who is very old, to bestow it
according to merit.

The fair understanding between Sir Roger and his chaplain, and
their mutual concurrence in doing good, is the more remarkable,
because the very next village is famous for the differences and
contentions that rise between the parson and the 'squire, who
live in a perpetual state of war.  The parson is always preaching
at the 'squire, and the 'squire to be revenged on the parson
never comes to church.  The 'squire has made all his tenants
atheists and tithe-stealers; while the Parson instructs them
every Sunday in the dignity of his order, and insinuates to them
in almost every sermon, that he is a better man than his patron.
In short, matters are come to such an extremity, that the 'squire
has not said his prayers either in publick or private this half
year; and that the parson threatens him, if he does not mend his
manners, to pray for him in the face of the whole congregation.

Feuds of this nature, though too frequent in the country, are
very fatal to the ordinary people; who are so used to be dazzled
with riches, that they pay as much deference to the understanding
of a man of an estate, as of a man of learning; and are very
hardly brought to regard any truth, how important soever it may
be, that is preached to them, when they know there are several
men of five hundred a year who do not believe it.



THE WIDOW.

In my first description of the company in which I pass most of my
time, it may be remembered that I mentioned a great affliction
which my friend Sir Roger had met with in his youth; which was no
less than a disappointment in love.  It happened this evening
that we fell into a very pleasing walk at a distance from his
house.  As soon as we came into it, "It is," quoth the good old
man, looking round him with a smile, "very hard, that any part of
my land should be settled upon one who has used me so ill as the
perverse widow did; and yet I am sure I could not see a sprig of
any bough of this whole walk of trees, but I should reflect upon
her and her severity.  She has certainly the finest hand of any
woman in the world.  You are to know this was the place wherein I
used to muse upon her; and by that custom I can never come into
it, but the same tender sentiments revive in my mind, as if I had
actually walked with that beautiful creature under these shades.
I have been fool enough to carve her name on the bark of several
of these trees; so unhappy is the condition of men in love, to
attempt the removing of their passions by the methods which serve
only to imprint it deeper.  She has certainly the finest hand of
any woman in the world."

Here followed a profound silence; and I was not displeased to
observe my friend falling so naturally into a discourse, which I
had ever before taken notice he industriously avoided.  After a
very long pause he entered upon an account of this great
circumstance in his life, with an air which I thought raised my
idea of him above what I had ever had before; and gave me the
picture of that chearful mind of his, before it received that
stroke which has ever since affected his words and actions.  But
he went on as follows:

"I came to my estate in my twenty-second year, and resolved to
follow the steps of the most worthy of my ancestors who have
inhabited this spot of earth before me, in all the methods of
hospitality and good neighbourhood, for the sake of my fame; and
in country sports and recreations, for the sake of my health.  In
my twenty-third year I was obliged to serve as sheriff of the
county; and in my servants, officers, and whole equipage,
indulged the pleasure of a young man (who did not think ill of
his own person) in taking that public occasion of shewing my
figure and behaviour to advantage.  You may easily imagine to
yourself what appearance I made, who am pretty tall, rid well,
and was very well dressed, at the head of a whole county, with
musick before me, a feather in my hat, and my horse well bitted.
I can assure you I was not a little pleased with the kind looks
and glances I had from all the balconies and windows as I rode to
the hall where the assizes were held.  But when I came there, a
beautiful creature in a widow's habit sat in court, to hear the
event of a cause concerning her dower.  This commanding creature
(who was born for the destruction of all who behold her) put on
such a resignation in her countenance, and bore the whispers of
all around the court with such a pretty uneasiness, I warrant
you, and then recovered herself from one eye to another, till she
was perfectly confused by meeting something so wistful in all she
encountered, that at last, with a murrain to her, she cast her
bewitching eye upon me.  I no sooner met it, but I bowed like a
great surprised booby; and knowing her cause to be the first
which came on, I cried, like a captivated calf as I was!  'Make
way for the defendant's witnesses.'  This sudden partiality made
all the county see the sheriff also was become a slave to the
fine widow.  During the time her cause was upon trial, she
behaved herself, I warrant you, with such a deep attention to her
business, took opportunities to have little billets handed to her
counsel, then would be in such a pretty confusion, occasioned,
you must know, by acting before so much company, that not only I
but the whole court was prejudiced in her favour; and all that
the next heir to her husband had to urge, was thought so
groundless and frivolous, that when it came to her counsel to
reply, there was not half so much said as every one besides in
the court thought he could have urged to her advantage.  You must
understand, Sir, this perverse woman is one of those
unaccountable creatures, that secretly rejoice in the admiration
of men, but indulge themselves in no further consequences.  Hence
it is that she has ever had a train of admirers, and she removes
from her slaves in town to those in the country, according to the
seasons of the year.  She is a reading lady, and far gone in the
pleasures of friendship.  She is always accompanied by a
confident, who is witness to her daily protestations against our
sex, and consequently a bar to her first steps towards love, upon
the strength of her own maxims and declarations.

"However, I must needs say this accomplished mistress of mine has
distinguished me above the rest, and has been known to declare
Sir Roger de Coverley was the tamest and most humane of all the
brutes in the country.  I was told she said so, by one who
thought he rallied me; but upon the strength of this slender
encouragement of being thought least detestable, I made new
liveries, new-pair'd my coach horses, sent them all to town to be
bitted and taught to throw their legs well, and move all
together, before I pretended to cross the country, and wait upon
her.  As soon as I thought my retinue suitable to the character
of my fortune and youth, I set out from hence to make my
addresses.  The particular skill of this lady has ever been to
inflame your wishes, and yet command respect.  To make her
mistress of this art, she has a greater share of knowledge, wit,
and good sense, than is usual even among men of merit.  Then she
is beautiful beyond the race of women.  If you won't let her go
on with a certain artifice with her eyes, and the skill of
beauty, she will arm herself with her real charms, and strike you
with admiration instead of desire.  It is certain that if you
were to behold the whole woman, there is that dignity in her
aspect, that composure in her motion, that complacency in her
manner, that if her form makes you hope, her merit makes you
fear.  But then again, she is such a desperate scholar, that no
country-gentleman can approach her without being a jest.  As I
was going to tell you, when I came to her house I was admitted to
her presence with great civility; at the same time she placed
herself to be first seen by me in such an attitude, as I think
you call the posture of a picture, that she discovered new
charms, and I at last came towards her with such an awe as made
me speechless.  This she no sooner observed but she made her
advantage of it, and began a discourse to me concerning love and
honour, as they both are followed by pretenders and the real
votaries to them.  When she discussed these points in a
discourse, which I verily believe was as learned as the best
philosopher in Europe could possibly make, she asked me whether
she was so happy as to fall in with my sentiments on these
important particulars.  Her confident sat by her, and upon my
being in the last confusion and silence, this malicious aid of
hers turning to her says, 'I am very glad to observe Sir Roger
pauses upon this subject, and seems resolved to deliver all his
sentiments upon the matter when he pleases to speak.'  They both
kept their countenances, and after I had sat half an hour
meditating how to behave before such profound casuists, I rose up
and took my leave.  Chance has since that time thrown me very
often in her way, and she as often has directed a discourse to me
which I do not understand.  This barbarity has kept me ever at a
distance from the most beautiful object my eyes ever beheld.  It
is thus also she deals with all mankind, and you must make love
to her, as you would conquer the sphinx, by posing her.  But were
she like other women, and that there were any talking to her, how
constant must the pleasure of that man be, who could converse
with the creature--But, after all, you may be sure her heart is
fixed on some one or other; and yet I have been credibly
inform'd; but who can believe half that is said?  After she had
done speaking to me, she put her hand to her bosom and adjusted
her tucker.  Then she cast her eyes a little down, upon my
beholding her too earnestly.  They say she sings excellently; her
voice in her ordinary speech has something in it inexpressibly
sweet.  You must know I dined with her at a publick table the day
after I first saw her, and she helped me to some tansy in the eye
of all the gentlemen in the country.  She has certainly the
finest hand of any woman in the world.  I can assure you, Sir,
were you to behold her, you would be in the same condition; for
as her speech is musick, her form is angelick.  But I find I grow
irregular while I am talking of her; but indeed it would be
stupidity to be unconcerned at such perfection.  Oh the excellent
creature!  she is as inimitable to all women, as she is
inaccessible to all men.

I found my friend begin to rave, and insensibly led him towards
the house, that we might be joined by some other company; and am
convinced that the widow is the secret cause of all that
inconsistency which appears in some parts of my friend's
discourse; tho' he has so much command of himself as not directly
to mention her, yet according to that of Martial, which one knows
not how to render into English, DUM TACET HANC LOQUITUR.  I shall
end this paper with that whole epigram, which represents with
much humour my honest friend's condition.

 QUICQUID AGIT RUFUS, NIHIL EST, NISI NAEVIA RUFO,
 SI GAUDET, SI FLET, SI TACET, HANC LOQUITUR:
 CAENAT, PROPINAT, POSCET, NEGAT, ANNUIT, UNA EST
 NAEVIA; SI NON SIT NAEVIA, MUTUS ERIT.
 SCRIBERET HESTERNA PATRI CUM LUCE SALUTEM,
 NAEVIA LUX, INQUIT, NAEVIA NUMEN AVE.
 Epig. 69, 1. I.

 Let Rufus weep, rejoice, stand, sit or walk,
 Still he can nothing but of NAEVIA talk;
 Let him eat, drink, ask questions, or dispute,
 Still he must speak of NAEVIA, or be mute.
 He writ to his father, ending with this line,
 "I am, my lovely NAEVIA, ever thine."



THE CHASE.

Those who have searched into human nature, observe that nothing
so much shews the nobleness of the soul as that its felicity
consists in action.  Every man has such an active principle in
him, that he will find out something to employ himself upon, in
whatever place or state of life he is posted.  I have heard of a
gentleman who was under close confinement in the Bastile seven
years; during which time he amused himself in scattering a few
small pins about his chamber, gathering them up again, and
placing them in different figures on the arm of a great chair.
He often told his friends afterwards, that unless he had found
out this piece of exercise, he verily believed he should have
lost his senses.

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, had 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 had in his youthful days taken forty coveys of partridges in a
season; 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 counties, which he used to turn loose about the country by
night, that he might the better signalise 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 concert.  He is so nice in this
particular, that a gentleman having made him a present of a very
fine hound the other day, the Knight returned it by the servant
with a great many expressions of civility; but desired him to
tell his master, that the dog he had sent was indeed a most
excellent BASS, but that at present he only wanted a COUNTER-
TENOR.  Could I believe my friend had ever read Shakespeare, I
should certainly conclude he had taken the hint from Theseus in
the MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM.

 My hounds are bred out of the Spartan kind,
 So flu'd so sanded, and their heads are hung
 With ears that sweep away the morning dew.
 Crook-knee'd and dew-lap'd like Thessalian bulls,
 Slow in pursuit, but match'd in mouths like bells,
 Each under each:  A cry more tuneable
 Was never holla'd to, nor chear'd with horn.

Sir Roger is so keen at this sport, that he has been out almost
every day since I came down; and upon the chaplain's offering to
lend me his easy pad, I was prevailed on yesterday morning to
make one of the company.  I was extremely pleased, as we rid
along, to observe the general benevolence of all the
neighbourhood towards my friend.  The farmers' sons thought
themselves happy if they could open a gate for the good old
Knight as he passed by; which he generally requited with a nod or
a smile, and a kind of enquiry after their fathers and uncles.

After we had rid about a mile from home, we came upon a large
heath, and the sportsmen began to beat.  'They had done so for
some time, when, as I was at a little distance from the rest of
the company, I saw a hare pop out from a small furze-brake almost
under my horse's feet.  I marked the way she took, which I
endeavoured to make the company sensible of by extending my arms;
but to no purpose, till Sir Roger, who knows that none of my
extraordinary motions are insignificant, rode up to me, and asked
me if PUSS was gone that way?  Upon my answering yes, he
immediately called in the dogs, and put them upon the scent.  As
they were going off, I heard one of the country-fellows muttering
to his companion, that 'twas a wonder they had not lost all their
sport, for want of the silent gentleman's crying STOLE AWAY.

This, with my aversion to leaping hedges, made me withdraw to a
rising ground, from whence I could have the pleasure of the whole
chase, without the fatigue of keeping in with the hounds.

The hare immediately threw them above a mile behind her; but I
was pleased to find, that instead of running straight forwards,
or, in hunter's language, FLYING THE COUNTRY, as I was afraid she
might have done, she wheel'd about, and described a sort of
circle round the hill where I had taken my station, in such
manner as gave me a very distinct view of the sport.  I could see
her first pass by, and the dogs some time afterwards unravelling
the whole track she had made, and following her thro' all her
doubles.  I was at the same time delighted in observing that
deference which the rest of the pack paid to each particular
hound, according to the character he had acquired amongst them:
If they were at a fault, and an old hound of reputation opened
but once, he was immediately followed by the whole cry; while a
raw dog, or one who was a noted LIAR might have yelped his heart
out, without being taken notice of.

The hare now, after having squatted two or three times, and been
put up again as often, came still nearer to the place where she
was at first started.  The dogs pursued her, and these were
followed by the jolly Knight, who rode upon a white gelding,
encompassed by his tenants and servants, and chearing his hounds
with all the gaiety of five and twenty.  One of the sportsmen
rode up to me, and told me that he was sure the chace was almost
at an end, because the old dogs, which had hitherto lain behind,
now headed the pack.  The fellow was in the right.  Our hare took
a large field just under us, followed by the full cry IN VIEW.  I
must confess the brightness of the weather, the chearfulness of
every thing around me, the CHIDING of the hounds, which was
returned upon us in a double echo from two neighbouring hills,
with the hollowing of the sportsmen, and the sounding of the
horn, lifted my spirits into a most lively pleasure, which I
freely indulged because I was sure it was innocent.  If I was
under any concern it was on the account of the poor hare, that
was now quite spent and almost within the reach of her enemies;
when the huntsman getting forward threw down his pole before the
dogs.  They were now within eight yards of that game which they
had been pursuing for almost as many hours; yet on the signal
before-mentioned they all made a sudden stand, and tho' they
continued opening as much as before, durst not once attempt to
pass beyond the pole.  At the same time Sir Roger rode forward,
and alighting, took up the hare in his arms; which he soon
delivered up to one of his servants, with an order, if she could
be kept alive, to let her go in his great orchard; where it seems
he has several of these prisoners of war, who live together in a
very comfortable captivity.  I was highly pleased to see the
discipline of the pack, and the good-nature of the Knight, who
could not find in his heart to murder a creature that had given
him so much diversion.

As we were returning home, I remembered that Monsieur Paschal, in
his most excellent discourse on the misery of man, tells us, that
all our endeavours after greatness proceed from nothing but a
desire of being surrounded by a multitude of persons and affairs
that may hinder us from looking into ourselves, which is a view
we cannot bear.  He afterwards goes on to shew that our love of
sports comes from the same reason, and is particularly severe
upon hunting.  What, says he, unless it be to drown thought, can
make men throw away so much time and pains upon a silly animal,
which they might buy cheaper in the market?  The foregoing
reflection is certainly just, when a man suffers his whole mind
to be drawn into his sports, and altogether loses himself in the
woods; but does not affect those who propose a far more laudable
end for this exercise, I mean, the preservation of health, and
keeping all the organs of the soul in a condition to execute her
orders.  Had that incomparable person, whom I last quoted, been a
little more indulgent to himself in this point, the world might
probably have enjoyed him much longer; whereas thro' too great an
application to his studies in his youth, he contracted that ill
habit of body, which, after a tedious sickness, carried him off
in the fortieth year of his age; and the whole history we have of
his life till that time, is but one continued account of the
behaviour of a noble soul struggling under innumerable pains and
distempers.

For my own part I intend to hunt twice a week during my stay with
Sir Roger; and shall prescribe the moderate use of this exercise
to all my country friends as the best kind of physick for mending
a bad constitution, and preserving a good one.  I cannot do this
better, than in the following lines out of Mr. Dryden.

 The first physicians by debauch were made;
 Excess began, and sloth sustains the trade.
 By chace our long-liv'd fathers earn'd their food;
 Toil strung the nerves, and purify'd the blood;
 But we their sons, a pamper'd race of men,
 Are dwindled down to threescore years and ten.
 Better to hunt in fields for health unbought,
 Than fee the Doctor for a nauseous draught.
 The wise for cure on exercise depend;
 God never made his work for man to mend.



THE COUNTY ASSIZES.

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 publick:  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 shewn 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 join'd 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 an hundred pounds a year, an honest man:  he is
just within the game-act, and qualified to kill an 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 not now 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 proceeding of the
court with much attention, and infinitely pleased with that great
appearance and solemnity which so properly accompanies such a
publick 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, till 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 country 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 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 shews 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 had hung out upon the road about a week before he
himself knew any thing 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 of the features to change it into the SARACEN'S HEAD.
I should not have known this story had not the inn-keeper, upon
Sir Roger's alighting, told him in my hearing, that his honour's
head was brought back last night with the alterations that he had
ordered to be made in it.  Upon this my friend, with his usual
chearfulness, 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 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.



THE SPECTATOR'S RETURN TO TOWN.

Having notified to my good friend Sir Roger that I should set out
for London the next day, his horses were ready at the appointed
hour in the evening; and attended by one of his grooms, I arrived
at the country town at twilight, in order to be ready for the
stage-coach the day following.  As soon as we arrived at the inn,
the servant, who waited upon me, enquired of the chamberlain in
my hearing what company he had for the coach?  The fellow
answered, Mrs. Betty Arable, the great fortune, and the widow her
mother; a recruiting officer (who took a place because they were
to go); young Squire Quickset her cousin (that her mother wished
her to be married to); Ephraim the Quaker, her guardian; and a
gentleman that had studied himself dumb, from Sir Roger de
Coverley's.  I observed by what he said of myself, that according
to his office he dealt much in intelligence; and doubted not but
there was some foundation for his reports for the rest of the
company, as well as for the whimsical account he gave of me.  The
next morning at day-break we were all called; and I, who knew my
own natural shyness, and endeavour to be as little liable to be
disputed with as possible, dressed immediately, that I might make
no one wait.  The first preparation for our setting-out was, that
the captain's half-pike was placed near the coachman, and a drum
behind the coach.  In the mean time the drummer, the captain's
equipage, was very loud, that none of the captain's things should
be placed so as to be spoiled; upon which his cloke-bag was fixed
in the seat of the coach:  and the captain himself, according to
a frequent, tho' invidious behaviour of military men, ordered his
man to look sharp, that none but one of the ladies should have
the place he had taken fronting to the coach-box.

We were in some little time fixed in our seats, and sat with that
dislike which people not too good-natured usually conceive of
each other at first sight.  The coach jumbled us insensibly into
some sort of familiarity; and we had not moved above two miles,
when the widow asked the captain what success he had in his
recruiting?  The officer, with a frankness he believed very
graceful, told her, "That indeed he had but very little luck, and
had suffered much by desertion, therefore should be glad to end
his warfare in the service of her or her fair daughter.  In a
word," continued he, "I am a soldier, and to be plain is my
character:  you see me, Madam, young, sound, and impudent; take
me yourself, widow, or give me to her, I will be wholly at your
disposal.  I am a soldier of fortune, ha!"  This was followed by
a vain laugh of his own, and a deep silence of all the rest of
the company.  I had nothing left for it but to fall fast asleep,
which I did with all speed.  "Come," said he, "resolve upon it,
we will make a wedding at the next town.  We will wake this
pleasant companion who has fallen asleep, to be the brideman"
(and giving the quaker a clap on the knee) he concluded "This sly
saint, who I'll warrant, understands what's what as well as you
or I, widow, shall give the bride as father."  The quaker, who
happened to be a man of smartness, answered, "Friend, I take it
in good part that thou hast given me the authority of a father
over this comely and virtuous child; and I must assure thee, that
if I have the giving her, I shall not bestow her on thee.  Thy
mirth, friend, savoureth of folly:  Thou art a person of a light
mind; thy drum is a type of thee, it soundeth because it is
empty.  Verily, it is not from thy fulness, but thy emptiness
that thou hast spoken this day.  Friend, friend, we have hired
this coach in partnership with thee, to carry us to the great
city; we cannot go any other way.  This worthy mother must hear
thee if thou wilt needs utter thy follies; we cannot help it,
friend, I say:  if thou wilt, we must hear thee; but if thou wert
a man of understanding, thou wouldst not take advantage of thy
courageous countenance to abash us children of peace.  Thou art,
thou sayest, a soldier; give quarter to us, who cannot resist
thee.  Why didst thou fleer at our friend, who feigned himself
asleep?  He said nothing; but how dost thou know what he
containeth?  If thou speakest improper things in the hearing of
this virtuous young virgin, consider it as an outrage against a
distressed person that cannot get from thee:  'To speak
indiscreetly what we are obliged to hear, by being hasped up with
thee in this publick vehicle, is in some degree assaulting on the
high road."

Here Ephraim paused, and the captain with a happy and uncommon
impudence (which can be convicted and support itself at the same
time) cries, "Faith, friend, I thank thee; I should have been a
little impertinent if thou hadst not reprimanded me.  Come, thou
art, I see, a smoky old fellow, and I'll be very orderly the
ensuing part of my journey.  I was going to give myself airs,
but, ladies, I beg pardon."

The captain was so little out of humour, and our company was so
far from being soured by this little ruffle, that Ephraim and he
took a particular delight in being agreeable to each other for
the future; and assumed their different provinces in the conduct
of the company.  Our reckonings, apartments, and accommodation,
fell under Ephraim; and the captain looked to all disputes upon
the road, as the good behaviour of our coachman, and the right we
had of taking place as going to London of all vehicles coming
from thence.  The occurrences we met with were ordinary, and very
little happened which could entertain by the relation of them:
but when I consider'd the company we were in, I took it for no
small good-fortune that the whole journey was not spent in
impertinences, which to the one part of us might be an
entertainment, to the other a suffering.  What therefore Ephraim
said when we were almost arriv'd at London had to me an air not
only of good understanding but good breeding.  Upon the young
lady's expressing her satisfaction in the journey, and declaring
how delightful it had been to her, Ephraim delivered himself as
follows:  "There is no ordinary part of human life which
expresseth so much a good mind, and a right inward man, as his
behaviour upon meeting with strangers, especially such as may
seem the most unsuitable companions to him:  such a man, when he
falleth in the way with persons of simplicity and innocence,
however knowing he may be in the ways of men, will not vaunt
himself thereof; but will the rather hide his superiority to
them, that he may not be painful unto them.  My good friend
(continued he, turning to the officer), thee and I are to part by
and by, and peradventure we may never meet again:  but be advised
by a plain man:  modes and apparel are but trifles to the real
man, therefore do not think such a man as thyself terrible for
thy garb, nor such a one as me contemptible for mine.  When two
such as thee and I meet, with affections as we ought to have
towards each other, thou shouldst rejoice to see my peaceable
demeanour, and I should be glad to see thy strength and ability
to protect me in it."





End of The Project Gutenberg Etext DAYS WITH SIR ROGER DE COVERLEY
by Joseph Addison and Richard Steele


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