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form and complexion. With what raptures have I traced the progress of my fame, while I have contemplated my numbers in the public coffee-houses strung upon a file and swelling gradually into a little volume! By the appearance which they make, when thus collected, I have often judged of the reception they have singly met with from their readers: I have considered every speck of dirt as a mark of reputation, and have assumed to myself applause from spilling of coffee, or the print of a greasy thumb. In a word, I look upon each paper, when torn, and sullied by frequent handling, as an old soldier battered in the service, and covered with honourable scars.
I was led into this train of thought by an accident, which happened to me the other evening, as I was walking in some fields near the town. As I went along, my curiosity tempted me to examine the materials, of which several paper kites were made up; from whence I had sufficient room to moralize on the ill fate of authors. On one I discovered several pages of a sermon expanded over the surface; on another the wings fluttered with love-songs; and a satire on the ministry furnished another with his ballast for the tail. I at length happened to cast my eye on one taller than the rest, and beheld several of my own darling productions pasted over it. My indignation was presently raised, that I should become the plaything of children; and I was even ashamed, that the great name of Town, which stared me full in the front, should be exposed, like the compositions of Dr. Rock on the wall, to every idle gazer. However, by a curious turn of thought, I converted what at first seemed a disgrace into a compliment to my vanity. As the kite rose into the air, I drew a flattering parallel between the height of it's flight, and the soaring of my own reputation: I imagined myself lifted up on the wings of fame, and like Horace's swan towering above mortality: I fancied myself borne
like a blazing star among the clouds, to the admiration of the gazing multitude.
Via est, qua me quoque possim
And up he rises like a vapour;
While I was indulging this fantastic contemplation of my own excellence, I never considered by how slight a thread my chimerical importance was supported. The twine broke; and the kite together with my airy dreams of immortality, dropped to the ground. T
No. XXX. THURSDAY, AUGUST 22.
Multa viri nequicquam inter se vulnera jactant,
Thumps following thumps, and blows succeeding blows,
AT a time, when peace spreads her downy wings over contending nations, and when armies (like the harmless militia) are drawn into the field only to be reviewed, all Europe must undoubtedly be alarmed to hear of the bloody battle, which has been lately fought in England. It is a justice due to pos
terity to preserve a faithful account of this memorable event: I shall therefore set it down, as I find it recorded in those authentic registers of heroic actions the news-papers, without deviating a tittle from the expressive terms, in which this extraordinary combat is related.
"Harlston in Norfolk, July 30. Yesterday in the afternoon Slack and Pettit met and fought. At the first Set-to, Pettit seized Slack by the throat, and held him up against the rails, and GRAIN'D him so much as to make him extremely black; this continued for half a minute, before Slack could break Pettit's hold after which for near ten minutes Pettit kept fighting and driving hard at Slack, when at length Slack clos'd with his antagonist, and gave him a very severe fall, after that a second and third; but between these falls Pettit threw Slack twice off the stage, and indeed Pettit so much dreaded Slack's falls, that he ran directly at his hams and tumbled him down, and by that means gave Slack an opportunity of making
the falls very easy. When they had been fighting
eighteen minutes, the odds ran against Slack a guinea to a shilling; whereas on first setting out, it was three or four to one on his head; but after this time Slack SHORTENED Pettit so, as to disable him from running and throwing him down in the manner he had done before, but obliged him to stand to close fighting. Slack then clos'd one of his eyes, and beat him very much about the face. At twenty minutes Pettit grew weaker, Slack stronger; this was occasioned by Slack's strait way of fighting. At twenty-two minutes the best judges allowed Slack to have the advantage over Pettit very considerably, as he was then recovering his wind, which was owing to game: when they had boxed twenty-four minutes, Pettit threw Slack again over the rails. This indeed Slack suffered him to do, as by that means he fixed a blow under Pettit's ribs, that hurt him much. Whilst Slack was
again getting upon the stage, (it was not half a minute before he was remounted) Pettit had so much the fear of his antagonist before his eyes, that he walked off without so much as civilly taking leave of the spectators, or saying any thing to any person. This the Cockers call roguing of it; for it is generally thought, that Pettit ran away full strong. The whole time of their fighting was twenty-five minutes; and this morning the battle was given to Slack, who drew the first ten guineas out of the box. Thus ended this dreadful combat."
Every man, who has the honour of the British fist at heart, must look with admiration on the bottom, the wind, the game, of this invincible champion Slack. How must they applaud his address in fighting strait; and with what detestation must they look upon his dastard antagonist, who could so shameful. ly rogue it! Captain Godfrey, the sublime historian of these hardy heroes, would have exclaimed on this occasion;...." Hail, mighty Slack, thou pride of the Butchers! Let the shambles echo with thy praise, and let marrow-bones and cleavers proclaim thy glorious triumph. What was that half-bred bruiser Milo, who is celebrated by the ancients for knocking down an ox, to cut out the hide into thongs for his Cestus? Every petty slaughterman of Clare-Market can perform greater feats: but thou with resistless arm hast not only knocked down oxen, but made the sturdy race of barbers, coblers, and watermen fall before thee."
I cannot but lament the cruelty of that law, which has shut up our amphitheatres and I look upon the professors of the noble art of boxing, as a kind of disbanded army, for whom we have made no provision. The mechanics, who at the call of glory left their mean occupations, are now obliged to have recourse to them again; and coachmen and barbers re
sume the whip and the razor, instead of giving black eyes and cross-buttocks. I know a veteran that has often won the whole house, who is reduced, like Belisarius, to spread his palm in begging for an halfpenny. Some have been forced to exercise their art in knocking down passengers in dark alleys and corners; while others have learned to open their fists and ply their fingers in picking pockets. Buckhorse, whose knuckles had been used to indent many a bruise, now clenches them only to grasp a link; and Broughton employs the muscles of his brawny arm in squeezing a lemon or drawing a cork. His amphitheatre itself is converted into a methodist meeting-house: and perhaps (as laymen there are admitted into the pulpit) those very fists, which so lately dealt such hearty bangs upon the stage, are now with equal ve、 hemence thumping the cushion.
The dextrous use of the fist is a truly British exercise and the sturdy English have been as much renowned for their Boxing as their Beef; both which are by no means suited to the watery stomachs and weak sinews of their enemies the French. To this nutriment and this art is owing that long established maxim, that one Englishman can beat three Frenchmen. A Frenchman, who piddles on a fricassee of frogs, can no more encounter with an Englishman, who feeds upon Beef, than the frog in the fable could swell her little body to the size of an ox: and from hence we may conclude, on the principles of philosophy, that the elastic spring, which darts from the knuckles of an Englishman, falls into the heels of a Frenchman. One of my correspondents has already remonstrated against the degeneracy of the present times in our shameful neglect of that support of our national strength,Old English Roast Beef. Indeed, we can never hope, that any of our modern heroes would attempt to fix a blow under the ribs, when they are afraid of plunging a knife into a sirloin and I will