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among all sorts of people: to which the knight added that she had a very great jointure, and that the whole country would fain have it a match between him and her; "and truly,” says Sir Roger, "if I had not been engaged, perhaps I could not have done better”.

His discourse was broken off by his man's telling him he had called a coach. Upon our going to it, after having cast his eye upon the wheels, he asked the coachman if his axle-tree was good: upon the fellow's telling him he would warrant it, the knight turned to me, told me he looked like an honest man, and went in without further ceremony.

We had not gone far, when Sir Roger, popping out his head, called the coachman down from his box, and upon presenting himself at the window, asked him if he smoked. As I was considering what this would end in, he bid him stop by the way at any good tobacconist's, and take in a roll of their best Virginia. Nothing material happened in the remaining part of our journey, till we were set down at the west end of the abbey.

As we went up the body of the church, the knight pointed at the trophies upon one of the new monuments, and cried out, “ A brave man, I warrant him!” Passing afterwards by Sir Cloudsley Shovel, 1 he flung his hand that way, and cried “Sir Cloudsley Shovel! a very gallant man”. As we stood before Busby's? tomb, the knight uttered himself again after the same manner: “ Dr. Busby! a great man: he whipped my grandfather; a very great man! I should have gone to him myself, if I had not been a blockhead

a very great man!” We were immediately conducted into the little chapel on the right hand. Sir Roger, planting himself at our historian's elbow, was very attentive to everything he

1 Drowned off the Scilly Isles, Oct, 22, 1707.

2 Headmaster of Westminster (b. 1606, d. 1695). (M 249)

K

said, particularly to the account he gave us of the lord who had cut off the king of Morocco's head. Among several other figures, he was very well pleased to see the statesman Cecil upon his knees; and concluding them all to be great men, was conducted to the figure which represents that martyr to good housewifery? who died by the prick of a needle. Upon our interpreter's telling us that she was a maid of honour to Queen Elizabeth, the knight was very inquisitive into her name and family; and, after having regarded her finger for some time, “I wonder," says he, “that Sir Richard Baker has said nothing of her in his Chronicle”.

We were then conveyed to the two coronation chairs?, where my old friend, after having heard that the stone underneath the most ancient of them, which was brought from Scotland, was called Jacob's pillow, sat himself down in the chair, and, looking like the figure of an old Gothic king, asked our interpreter, what authority they had to say that Jacob had ever been in Scotland? The fellow, instead of returning him an answer, told him, that he hoped his honour would pay his forfeit. I could observe Sir Roger a little ruffled upon being thus trepanned, but our guide not insisting upon his demand, the knight soon recovered his good humour, and whispered in my ear, that if Will Wimble were with us, and saw those two chairs, it would go hard but he would get a tobacco stopper out of one or t’ other of them.

Sir Roger, in the next place, laid his hand upon Edward the Third's sword, and, leaning upon the pommel of it, gave us the whole history of the Black Prince; concluding, that, in Sir Richard Baker's opinion, Edward the Third was one of the greatest princes that ever sat upon the English throne.

1 Lady Eliz. Russel, one of whose sisters married Lord Burleigh, and another was the mother of Francis Bacon. The story here alluded to is an absurd legend.

2 In the chapel of Edward the Confessor. One of the chairs was made for the coronation of Queen Mary. The other is Edward's chair, the seat of which was carried off from Scone in 1296, and was said by tradition to have been Jacob's pillow,

We were then shown Edward the Confessor's tomb; upon which Sir Roger acquainted us, that he was the first who touched for the evil: and afterwards Henry the Fourth’s; upon which he shook his head, and told us there was fine reading in the casualties of that reign.

Our conductor then pointed to that monument where there is the figure of one of our English kings without a head;' and upon giving us to know that the head, which was of beaten silver, had been stolen away several years since, “Some Whig, I'll warrant you,” says Sir Roger; "you ought to lock up your kings better; they will carry off the body too, if you don't take care”.

The glorious names of Henry the Fifth and Queen Elizabeth gave the knight great opportunities of shining, and of doing justice to Sir Richard Baker, who, as our knight observed with some surprise, had a great many kings in him, whose monuments he had not seen in the abbey.

For my own part, I could not but be pleased to see the knight show such an honest passion for the glory of his country, and such a respectful gratitude to the memory of its princes.

I must not omit that the benevolence of my good old friend, which flows out towards every one he converses with, made him very kind to our interpreter, whom he looked upon as an extraordinary man: for which reason he shook him by the hand at parting, telling him that he should be very glad to see him at his lodgings in Norfolk Buildings, and talk over these matters with him more at leisure.

1 The head of Henry V., cast in silver, was stolen at the time of the Reformation,

xx. SIR ROGER AT THE PLAY.

Respicere exemplar vitae morumque jubebo
Doctum imitatorem, et veras hinc ducere voces.

-Hor. Ars Poet., 317.

Keep Nature's great original in view,
And thence the living images pursue.-Francis.

was

Y friend Sir Roger de Coverley, when we last met

together at the club, told me that he had a great mind to see the new tragedy with me, assuring me at the same time that he had not been at a play these twenty years. “The last I saw,” said Sir Roger, The Committee ?, which I should not have gone to neither, had not I been told beforehand that it was a good Church of England comedy." He then proceeded to inquire of me who this distrest mother was; and upon hearing that she was Hector's widow, he told me that her husband was a brave man, and that when he was a schoolboy he had read his life at the end of the dictionary. My friend asked me, in the next place, if there would not be some danger in coming home late, in case the Mohocks should be abroad. “I assure you,” says he, “I thought I had fallen into their hands last night; for I observed two or

3 11

1 The Distrest Mother, by Ambrose Philips, 1712, founded on Racine's Andromaque.

2 A play (1665) by Sir Robert Howard, who collaborated with Dryden in The Indian Queen.

Who has not trembled at the Mohock's name?
Was there a watchman took his hourly rounds,
Safe from their blows or new invented wounds?".

(Gay's Trivia, Bk. III.) The Mohocks corresponded to the Restoration Scowrers. See note on Essay x. There was a special scare at the time of this Essay. On March 9, 1712, Swift wrote to Stella that "it is not safe being in the streets at night for them”. So great was the alarm that on March 17 a royal proclamation offered £100 reward for their detection.

three lusty black men that followed me half way up

Fleet Street, and mended their pace behind me in proportion as I put on to get away from them. You must know," continued the knight with a smile, "I fancied they had a mind to hunt me; for I remember an honest gentleman in my neighbourhood, who was served such a trick in King Charles the Second's time, for which reason he has not ventured himself in town ever since. I might have shown them very good sport, had this been their design; for, as I am an old fox-hunter, I should have turned and dodged and have played them a thousand tricks they had never seen in their lives before.” Sir Roger added, that "if these gentlemen had any such intention, they did not succeed very well in it; for I threw them out”, says he, “at the end of Norfolk Street, where I doubled the corner, and got shelter in my lodgings before they could imagine what was become of me. However,” says the knight, “if Captain Sentry will make one with us tomorrow night, and you will both of you call upon me about four oʻclock, that we may be at the house before it is full, I will have my own coach in readiness to attend you, for John tells me he has got the fore-wheels mended."

The captain, who did not fail to meet me there at the appointed hour, bid Sir Roger fear nothing, for that he had put on the same sword which he made use of at the battle of Steenkirk? Sir Roger's servants, and among the rest my old friend the butler, had, I found, provided themselves with good oaken plants, to attend their master upon this occasion. When we had placed him in his coach, with myself at his left hand, the captain before

1 King William was forced to retreat at Steenkirk on July 24, 1692, before the Duke of Luxemburg. The French generals, it is said, were so eager for the fray that they did not take time to adjust their neckcloths. Hence the fashion in Queen Anne's reign of wearing a scarf with studied negligence.

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