Obrázky na stránke

and figurative, to mark out to the company how they ought to retire from all the luscious baits of temptation, and deny their appetites the gratifications that are most pleasing to them : or at least, to signify, that we ought to stint ourselves in our most lawful satisfactions, and not make our pleasure, but our support, the end of eating. But most certainly, if such a lesson of temperance had been necessary at a table, our clergy would have recommended it to all the lay-masters of families, and not have disturbed other men's tables with such unseasonable examples of abstinence. The original, therefore, of this barbarous custom, I take to have been merely accidental. The chaplain retired, out of pure complaisance, to make room for the removal of the dishes, or possibly for the ranging of the dessert. This by degrees grew into a duty, until at length, as the fashion improved, the good man found himself cut off from the third part of the entertainment; and, if the arrogance of the patron goes on, it is not impossible but, in the next generation, he may see himself reduced to the tythe, or tenth dish of the table; a sufficient caution not to part with any privilege we are once possessed of. It was usual for the priest in old times to feast upon the sacrifice, nay the honey-cake, while the hungry laity looked upon him with great devotion; or, as the late lord Rochester describes it, in a very lively manner,

And while the priest did eat, the people star'd. At present the custom is inverted; the laity feast, while the priest stands by as an humble spectator. This necessarily puts a good man upon making great ravages on all the dishes that stand near him; and distinguishing himself by a voraciousness of appetite,

as knowing that his time is short. I would fain ask these stiff-necked patrons, whether they would not take it ill of a chaplain, that in his grace after meat should return thanks for the whole entertainment, with an exception to the dessert? And yet I cannot but think, that in such a proceeding he would but deal with them as they deserved. What would a Roman catholic priest think, who is always helped first, and placed next the ladies, should he see a clergyman giving his company the slip at the first appearance of the tarts or sweet-meats? Would not he believe that he had the same antipathy to a candied orange, or a piece of puff-paste, as some have to a Cheshire cheese, or a breast of mutton ? Yet, to so ridiculous a height is this foolish custom grown, that even the Christmas pye, which in its very nature is a kind of consecrated cake, and a badge of distinction, is often forbidden to the Druid of the family. Strange! that a sirloin of beef, whether boiled or roasted, when entire, is exposed to his utmost depredations and incisions; but, if minced into small pieces, and tossed up with plums and sugar, changes its property, and, forsooth, is meat for his master.

In this case I know not which to censure, the patron, or the chaplain, the insolence of power, or the abjectness of dependence. For my own part, I have often blushed to see

gentleman, whom I knew to have much more wit and learning than myself, and who was bred up with me at the university upon the same foot of a liberal education, treated in such an ignominious manner, and sunk beneath those of his own rank, by reason of that character which ought to bring him honour. This deters men of generous minds from placing themselves in such a station of life, and by that means frequently excludes persons of quality from the improving and agreeable conversation of a learned and obsequious friend.

Mr. Oldham * lets us know, that he was affrighted from the thought of such an employment, by the scandalous sort of treatment which often accompanies it :

Some think themselves exalted to the sky, If they light in some noble family: Diet, an horse, and thirty pounds a year, Besides th' advantage of his lordship’s ear, Tbe credit of the business, and the state, Are things that in a youngster's sense sound great. Little the unexperienc'd wretch does know What slavery he oft must undergo. Wbo, though in silken scarf and cassock drest, Wears but a gayer livery at best. When dinner calls the implement must wait With holy words to consecrate the meat, But hold it for a favour seldom known, If he be deign'd the honour to sit down. Soon as the tarts appear; “ Sir Crape, withdraw, “ Those dainties are not for a spiritual maw. “ Observe your distance, and be sure to stand “ Hard by the cistern with your cap in hand : “. There for diversion you may pick your teeth, « Till the kind voider comes for your relief." Let others, who such meannesses can brook, Strike countenance to every great man's fnok ; I rate my freedom higher. This author's raillery is the raillery of a friend, and does not turn sacred order into ridicule : but is a just censure on such persons as take advantage, from the necessities of a man of merit, to impose on him hardships that are by no means suitable to the dignity of his profession.

* In “ A Satire addressed to a Friend that is about to leave the University," &c.

N° 256.


Nostrum est tantas componere lites.

VIRG. Ecl. iii. 108.

'Tis ours such warm contentions to decide.


The Proceedings of the Court of Honour, held in

Sheer-lane, on Monday, the twentieth of November 1710, before Isaac BICKERSTAFF, Esquire,

Censor of Great Britain. Peter PLUMB, of London, merchant, was indicted by the honourable Mr. Thomas Gules, of Gule-hall in the county of Salop, for that the said Peter Plumb did, in Lombard-street, London, between the hours of two and three in the afternoon, meet the said Mr. Thomas Gules, and, after a short salutation, put on his hat, value five-pence, while the honourable Mr. Gules stood bare-headed for the space of two seconds. It was further urged against the criminal, that, during his discourse with the prosecutor, he feloniously stole the wall of him, having clapped his back against it in such a manner, that it was impossible for Mr. Gules to recover it again at his taking leave of him. The prosecutor alleged, that he was the cadet of a very ancient family; and that, according to the principles of all the younger brothers of the said family, he had never sullied himself with business, but had chosen rather to starve, like a man of honour, than do any thing beneath his quality. He produced several witnesses,

that he had never employed himself beyond the twisting of a whip, or the making of a pair of nutcrackers, in which he only worked for his diversion, in order to make a present now and then to his friends. The prisoner being asked, “ what he could say for himself,” cast several reflections upon the honourable Mr. Gules ; as,

66 that he was not worth a groat; that nobody in the city would trust him for a half-penny ; that he owed him money which he had promised to pay him several times, but never kept his word; and, in short, that he was an idle beggarly fellow, and of no use to the public.” This sort of language was very severely reprimanded by the Censor, who told the criminal, “ that he spoke in contempt of the court, and that he should be proceeded against for contumacy, if he did not change his style.'

The prisoner, therefore, desired to be heard by his counsel, who urged in his defence, “ that he put on his hat through ignorance, and took the wall by accident." They likewise produced several witnesses, that he made several motions with his hat in his hand, which are generally understood as an invitation to the person we talk with to be covered; and that, the gentleman not taking the hint, he was forced to put on his hat, as being troubled with a cold. There was likewise an Irishman, who deposed, 6 that he had heard him cough threeand-twenty times that morning.” And as for the wall, it was alleged, that he had taken it inadvertently, to save himself from a shower of rain which was then falling. The Censor, having consulted the men of honour who sat at his right-hand on the bench, found they were all of opinion, that the defence made by the prisoner's counsel did rather aggravate than extenuate his crime; that the motions and intimations of the hat were a token of superiority

[ocr errors]
« PredošláPokračovať »