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but last week, that he appointed a friend in Buckinghamshire to meet him at Uxbridge," which (says he ❝in his letter) is the best place we can settle our bu ❝siness at, on account of those excellent rolls we "may have for breakfast, and the delicious trout we "are sure to have at dinner."
Mr. Cramwell, for that is his name, is so unfortunate as to want a purse adequate to his taste; so that he is obliged to have recourse to several artifices, to gratify his appetite. For this purpose he has with great pains constituted a club, consisting of persons most likely to promote good living. This society is composed of members, who are all of some trade that can furnish it with provisions, except one country squire, who supplies it with game; and they are obliged to send in the best of whatever their trade deals in, at prime cost: by which wise management the club is supplied with every delicacy the season af fords, at the most reasonable rates. Mr. Cramwell, on account of his extraordinary proficiency in the science of eating, is honoured with the office of perpetual caterer: and he has arrived to such a pitch of accuracy in the calculation of what is sufficient, that he seems to guage the stomachs of the club, as an exciseman does a cask: so that, when all the members are present, they seldom send away three ounces of meat from the table. Upon any vacancy much care and deliberation is used in electing a new member. A candidate's being able to devour a whole turkey with an equal proportion of chine, or eat one haunch of venison with the fat of another as sauce to it, would be no recommendation: on the contrary, there never was more caution used, at the death of a Pope, to elect a successor who appears the most likely to be short-lived, than by this society of Epicurean hogs, to admit nobody of a stomach superior to their own. A captain of a ship trading to the West In
dies has been admitted an honorary member, having contracted to bring over, as a present to them, a cargo of turtle every voyage: and a few days ago I met Cramwell in prodigious high spirits, when he told me, that he was the happiest man in the world. "Now, "says he, we shall have ortolans as plenty as pigeons; "for it was but yesterday that we ballotted into our ❝ society one of the Flanderkin bird merchants."
This association for the preservation of elegant fare gratifies my friend Cramwell's luxury at a cheap rate: and that he may make as many good meals as possible, he often contrives to introduce himself to the tables of persons of quality. This he effects by sending my lord or her ladyship a present of a Bath cheese, or a ruff or land-rail from his friends in Lincolnshire or Somersetshire; which seldom fails to procure him an invitation to dinner. He then plays his part as lustily as if he had kept Lent, or were not to make a dinner again for a fortnight. He never suffers the smallest side-dish to escape him: for one is so exceeding good; another looks so tempting; another is so great a rarity: and though he declares he cannot touch a bit more, he will make shift to find room for this or that dainty, because he never tasted it in his life. Wherever he goes, he always takes care to secure to himself the best share of every nicer dish, without the least regard to the rest of the company : he will help himself to a whole bird, though there are but a brace; and for fear any tid-bit should be snapped up before him, he snatches at it as greedily as an hungry Frenchman at an ordinary. It once happened, that dining with an alderman his appetite so far got the better of his good-breeding, that he shaved off all the outside of a plumb-pudding; and he has ever since been talked of in the city by the name of skin-pudding.
As all his joy and misery constantly arises from his belly, he thinks it the same with others; and I heard H
him ask a perfect stranger to him, who complained that he was sick, "whether he had over-eat himself." It is no wonder that Cramwell should be sometimes troubled with the gout: I called upon him the other morning, and found him with his legs wrapped up in flannel, and a book lying open before him upon the table. On asking him what he was reading, he told me he was taking physic; and on enquiring whose advice he had, "Oh, says he, nobody can do me so "much good as Mrs. Hannah Glasse. I am here "going through a course of her Art of Cookery, in "hopes to get a stomach; for, indeed, my dear friend, "(added he, with tears in his eyes) my appetite is "quite gone and I am sure I shall die, if I do not "find something in this book, which I think I can "eat."
No. LXXXVIII. THURSDAY, OCTOBER 2,
.Fuit haud ignobilis Argis,
Qui se credebat miros audire tragoedos,
A wight there was, whose mad distemper'd brain
HORACE, in the passage quoted at the head of my paper, tells us (after Aristotle) of a man, who used to sit in the empty theatre, and fancy that he saw real exhibitions on the stage. We have the like account in another ancient author, of a person that used to wait with great solicitude the coming of ships into harbour, believing them to be his own property. The end of these madmen was also similar: they were both cured; and both complained, that they were deprived of the satisfaction which they before enjoyed from a pleasing error of their minds.
That the happiness and misery of the far greater part of mankind depends upon the fancy, need not be Insisted on: Crede quod habes, et habes: think that you have, and you have, is a maxim not confined to those only within the walls of Bedlam. I remember an humourist, who would frequently divert himself in the
same manner with the madmen above-mentioned, and supply his real wants by the force of his imagination. He would go round the markets, and suppose himself to be cheapening the most dainty provisions; and when he came home to his scanty meal, by the same ideal contrivance he would convert his trotters into turbot, and his small beer into the most delicious Burgundy. As he was a barber by trade, he would put on the air and manners of his customers, while he combed out their wigs with every bag he would conceive himself going to court or an assembly; and once, when he was sick, he got together three of the largest tyes, placed them upon blocks round his bedside, and called them a consultation of physicians.
But of all others, there are none perhaps, who are more obliged to the imagination for their ideal happiness, than the fraternity of which I am an unworthy member. There is no set of people, who are more ambitious to appear grand in the world, and yet have less means, than those gentlemen whom the world has styled authors. Wit and pride as often go hand in hand together, as wit and poverty: but though the generality of writers are by the frowns of fortune debarred from possessing a profuse share of the good things of this world, they are abundantly recompensed by enjoying them in speculation. They indulge in golden dreams, at the time that they have not sixpence in their pockets; and conjure up all the luxuries of Pontac's before them, though they are at a loss perhaps where to get a dinner. Thus a critic by a kind of magic will transport himself to the theatres in an imaginary chariot, and be seated at once in the frontboxes; when in reality he has waited for two hours in Vinegar-yard before the opening of the doors, to secure to himself a corner, in the twelve-penny gallery. Hence it also happens to most authors, that though their way of life be ever so mean, their writings sa