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This unhappy and unnatural division is often the subject of complaint in persons of both ages; but is still unremedied, because neither reflect on the cause from whence it proceeds. Old men are perpetually commenting on the extreme levity of the times, and blaming the young, because they do not admire and court their company: which, indeed, is no wonder, since they generally treat their youthful companions as mere children, and expect such a slavish deference to their years, as destroys that equality by which cheerfulness and society subsists. Young men do not like to be chid by a proverb, or reproved by a wrinkle: but though they do not chuse to be corrected by their grave seniors like school-boys, they would be proud to consult them as friends: which the injudicious severity of old age seldom will permit, not deigning to indulge them with so great a degree of freedom and familiarity. Youth, on the other hand, shun the company of age, complaining of the small regard and respect paid to them, though they often act with so little reserve and such unbecoming confidence, as not to deserve it. Suppose the old were pleased with the natural flow of spirits and lively conversation of youth, still some respect may be challenged as due to them; nor should the decency and sobriety of their characters ever be insulted by any improper or immodest conversation.
I am an old man myself, Mr. Town, and I have an only boy, whose behaviour to me is unexceptionable: permit me, therefore, to dwell a moment longer on my favourite subject, and I will conclude. With what harmony might all parents and children live together, if the father would strive to soften the rigour of age, and remember that his son must naturally possess those qualities, which ever accompany youth; and if the son would in return endeavour to suit himself to those infirmities, which his father received from old
age! If they would reciprocally study to be agreeable
Your most humble servant,
No. LXXIX. THURSDAY, JULY 31.
...........O te, Bollane, cerebri
Felicem: aiebam tacitus! Cum quidlibet ille.
Silent I said, O happiest head of cit,
Mr. Village to Mr. Town.
I HAVE been very much diverted with your observations on the honest tradesmen, who make weekly excursions into the villages about town; and I
agree with you, that the generality of your citizens seldom dare trust themselves out of the sight of London smoke, or extend their travels farther than with their wives and children in the Wandsworth double post-chaise, or the Hampton long coach. But we may now and then pick up a stray citizen, whom business had dragged beyond the bills of mortality, as it happened to myself the other day, about forty miles from London: and as I was mightily pleased with his behaviour and conversation, I have taken the liberty to send you an account of it.
Being caught in a shower upon the road, I was glad to take shelter at the first inn I came to; which, if it had not been called the New Inn, I should have thought, from its antique appearance, had been an house of entertainment in the time of our great grandfathers. I had scarce alighted, when a strange figure, (driven thither as I supposed, on the same account with myself,) came soberly jogging into the yard, dripping wet. As he waited for the steps before he would venture to get off his horse, I had the opportunity of surveying his whole appearance. He was wrapped up in an old thread-bare weather beaten surtout, which I believe had once been scarlet; the cape was pulled over his head, and buttoned up close round his face; and his hat was flapped down on each side, and fastened about his ears with a list garter, tied under his chin. He wore upon his legs something that resembled spatterdashes, which (as I afterwards learned) were cut out of an old pair of boots; but his right shoe was considerably larger than the other, and had several slits in the upper-leather. He had spurs on, indeed, but without rowels; and by way of whip, a worm-eaten cane, with a bone head studded with brass pins, hung from his wrist by a string of greasy black leather.
I soon found I was nobody, for the gentleman, it seems, took up the whole attention of the maid, mistress, and hostler, who all of them got round him, and with much difficulty, by the assistance of the steps, helped him down. My landlady, before it was possible for her to see any part of him but his nose, told him "he looked brave and jolly;" and when she had led him into the kitchen, she fetched a large glass of what she called "her own water," which (she said) would drive the cold out of his stomach. All hands were now busied in drawing off his surtout, which discovered underneath a full trimmed white coat, and a black velvet waistcoat with a broad gold lace very much tarnished. The surtout was hung to dry by the fire as well as his coat, the place of which was supplied by a long riding-hood of my landlady; and as the gentleman complained of having suffered by loss of leather, the maid was dispatched to the doctor's for some diachylon. The usual question now succeeded, concerning dinner; and as he observed I was all alone, he very courteously asked me to join company, which I as readily agreed to.
The important business of dinner being settled, we adjourned into a private room, when my fellow-guest told me of his own mere act and motion, that he lived in London; that for these twenty years he had always come to the town we were now in, once a year, to receive money and take orders for goods; and that he had always put up at this house. He then run on in the praises of the landlady; and tipping me a wink, 66 aye, says he, she has been a clever woman in her "time before she bore children," he added, that for his part he did not like your great inns; for that they never looked upon any thing under a coach and six. He farther informed me, that he was married to his present wife in the first mayoralty of alderman Parsons, and in the very waistcoat he had on: "But,
66 says he, I now wear it only on a journey; because, " you know, a bit of lace commands respect upon the
road." On enquiring about his family, I found he had three boys; one of whom was bound 'prentice to himself; the other was sent to sea, because he was a wild one; and the youngest he designed to make a parson, because he was grave, and his play-fellows at Poule's school used to call him bishop.
All this while he had sat in my landlady's ridinghood, with a linen night-cap on his head tied on the top with a piece of black ribband, which (he told me) he always rode in, because it was cooler than a wig. But the saddle-bags were now ordered in; and out of one of them he drew a large flowing grizzle carefully buckled, which he combed out himself, borrowing some flour from the kitchen drudger. His spatterdashes were next taken off, and his shoes wiped with a wisp of hay; when being assured by the landlady herself, that his coat was dry enough to put on, he completely equipped himself, in order to wait on several tradesmen, with whom he had dealings, after dinner. As this was not quite ready, we took a walk to the stables to see his mare: and though the beast seemed as lean and harmless as Sancho's ass, he assured me he had much ado to ride her, she was so frisky," for she had not run in the chaise these two Sundays past.”
Being summoned to dinner, we sat down to a repast of mutton chops and sheeps hearts, which last he declared to be the wholesomest eating in the world. He objected to wine, because there was not a drop good for any thing to be got upon the road; but he vastly recommended my landlady's homebrewed, which he affirmed to be better than Hogsden ale, or the thatch beer at Islington. Our meal being ended, my companion took his pipe; and we laid our heads together for the good of the nation, when we