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him, and his butler at the head of his footmen in the rear, we convoyed him in safety to the playhouse, where, after having marched up the entry in good order, the captain and I went in with him, and seated him betwixt us in the pit. As soon as the house was full, and the candles lighted, my old friend stood up, and looked about him with that pleasure which a mind seasoned with humanity naturally feels in itself, at the sight of a multitude of people who seem pleased with one another, and partake of the same common entertainment. I could not but fancy to myself, as the old man stood up in the middle of the pit, that he made a very proper centre to a tragic audience. Upon the entering of Pyrrhus, the knight told me that he did not believe the king of France himself had a better strut. I was indeed very attentive to my old friend's remarks, because I looked upon them as a piece of natural criticism, and was well pleased to hear him, at the conclusion of almost every scene, telling me that he could not imagine how the play would end. One while he appeared much concerned for Andromache; and a little while after as much for Hermione; and was extremely puzzled to think what would become of Pyrrhus.

When Sir Roger saw Andromache's obstinate refusal to her lover's importunities, he whispered me in the ear, that he was sure she would never have him; to which he added, with a more than ordinary vehemence, “You can't imagine, sir, what it is to have to do with a widow”. Upon Pyrrhus's threatening afterwards to leave her, the knight shook his head, and muttered to himself, “Ay, do if you can”. This part dwelt so much upon my friend's imagination, that at the close of the third act, as I was thinking of something else, he whispered me in my ear, “These widows, sir, are the most perverse creatures in the world. But pray,” says he, “you that are a critic, is the play according to your dramatic rules, as you call them?

Should your people in tragedy always talk to be understood? Why, there is not a single sentence in this play that I do not know the meaning of.”

The fourth act very luckily began before I had time to give the old gentleman an answer. “Well," says the knight, sitting down with great satisfaction, “I suppose we are now to see Hector's ghost.” He then renewed his attention, and, from time to time, fell a-praising the widow. He made, indeed, a little mistake as to one of her pages, whom at his first entering he took for Astyanax; but quickly set himself right in that particular, though, at the same time, he owned he should have been very glad to have seen the little boy, who, says he, must needs be a very fine child by the account that is given of him. Upon Hermione's going off with a menace to Pyrrhus, the audience gave a loud clap, to which Sir Roger added, “On my word, a notable young baggage!"

As there was a very remarkable silence and stillness in the audience during the whole action, it was natural for them to take the opportunity of these intervals between the acts to express their opinion of the players and of their respective parts.

Sir Roger, hearing a cluster of them praise Orestes, struck in with them, and told them that he thought his friend Pylades was a very sensible

As they were afterwards applauding Pyrrhus, Sir Roger put in a second time, And let me tell you,” says he, “though he speaks but little, I like the old fellow in whiskers as well as any of them”. Captain Sentry, seeing two or three wags who sat near us lean with an attentive ear towards Sir Roger, and fearing lest they should smoke the knight, plucked him by the elbow, and whispered something in his ear, that lasted till the opening of the fifth act. The knight was wonderfully attentive to the account which Orestes gives of Pyrrhus's death, and at the conclusion of it, told me it was such a


bloody piece of work that he was glad it was not done upon the stage. Seeing afterwards Orestes in his raving fit, he grew more than ordinarily serious, and took occasion to moralize (in his way) upon an evil conscience, adding, that Orestes, in his madness, looked as if he saw something

As we were the first that came into the house, so we were the last that went out of it; being resolved to have a clear passage for our old friend, whom we did not care to venture among the jostling of the crowd. went out fully satisfied with his entertainment, and we guarded him to his lodging in the same manner that we brought him to the playhouse; being highly pleased for my own part, not only with the performance of the excellent piece which had been presented, but with the satisfaction which it had given to the good old man.

Sir Roger


Studiis rudis, sermone barbarus, impetu strenuus, manu promptus,

cogitatione celer.-Vell. Paterc.


the honour of his Majesty, and the safety of his

government, we cannot but observe that those who have appeared the greatest enemies to both are of that rank of men who are commonly distinguished by the title of Fox-hunters. As several of these have had no part of their education in cities, camps, or courts, it is doubtful whether they are of greater ornament or use to the nation in which they live. It would be an everlasting reproach to politics should such men be able to overturn an establishment which has been formed by the wisest laws, and is supported by the ablest heads. The wrong notions and prejudices which cleave to many of these country gentlemen, who have always lived out of the way of being better informed, are not easy to be conceived by a person who has never conversed with them.

1 From The Freeholder. This paper was written entirely by Addison, and consisted of fifty-five numbers, from 23rd Dec. 1715, to 29th June, 1716. Its object was purely political, and its main topics were “the enormity of rebellion and the prejudices of ignorance and faction". The Tory Fox-hunter is painted manifestly by a Whig brush.

That I may give my readers an image of these rural statesmen, I shall, without farther preface, set down an account of a discourse I chanced to have with one of them some time ago. I was travelling towards one of the remote parts of England, when about three o'clock in the afternoon, seeing a country gentleman trotting before me with a spaniel by his horse's side, I made up to him. Our conversation opened, as usual, upon the weather, in which we were very unanimous, having both agreed that it was too dry for the season of the year. My fellow-traveller, upon this, observed to me that there had been no good weather since the Revolution. I was a little startled at so extraordinary a remark, but would not interrupt him till he proceeded to tell me of the fine weather they used to have in King Charles the Second's reign. I only answered that I did not see how the badness of the weather could be the king's fault; and, without waiting for his reply, asked him whose house it was we saw upon a rising ground at a little distance from us. He told me it belonged to an old fanatical cur, Mr. Such-a-one. “You must have heard of him," says he, “he's one of the Rump.” I knew the gentleman's character upon hearing his name, but assured him that to my knowledge he was a good churchman. “Ay,” says he, with a kind of surprise, “we were told in the country that he spoke twice, in the Queen's time, against taking off the duties upon French claret.” This naturally led us in the proceedings of late parliaments, upon which occasion he affirmed roundly that there had not been one good law passed since King William's accession to

the throne, except the act for preserving the game. I had a mind to see him out, and therefore did not care for contradicting him. “Is it not hard,” says he, “that honest gentlemen should be taken into custody of messengers to prevent them from acting according to their consciences? But,” says he, “what can we expect when a parcel of factious sons of —" He was going on in great passion, but chanced to miss his dog, who was amusing himself about a bush that grew at some distance behind us. We stood still till he had whistled him up, when he fell into a long panegyric upon his spaniel, who seemed, indeed, excellent in his kind; but I found the most remarkable adventure of his life was that he had once like to have worried a dissenting teacher? The master could hardly sit on his horse for laughing all the while he was giving me the particulars of this story, which I found had mightily endeared his dog to him, and as he himself told me, had made him a great favourite among all the honest gentlemen of the country. We were at length diverted from this piece of mirth by a post-boy, who winding his horn at us, my companion gave him two or three curses, and left the way clear for him. "I fancy,” said I, “that post brings news from Scotland. I shall long to see the next Gazette." says he, “I make it a rule never to believe any



your printed news. We never see, sir, how things go, except now and then in Dyer's Letter?, and I read that more for the style than the news. The man has a clever pen,

it must be owned. But is it not strange that we should be

1 Fielding probably profited by Addison's sketch, when twenty-six years later he described in Joseph Andrews the squire who set his dogs on Parson Adams.

9 Dyer's News Letter began about 1690. Steele in Tatler 18 states that it was specially esteemed by fox-hunters for the marvels in which it dealt. Cf, Addison's Drummer, act ii. sc. I. "I believe he is still living, because the news of his death was first published in Dyer's Letter".

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