« PoprzedniaDalej »
those pernicious creatures, that they worship them as gods.
If we look into the behaviour of ordinary partisans, we shall find them far from resembling this disinterested ani5 mal; and rather acting after the example of the wild Tartars, who are ambitious of destroying a man of the most extraordinary parts and accomplishments, as thinking that upon his decease, the same talents, whatever post they qualified him for, enter of course into his destroyer. IO As in the whole train of my speculations I have endeavoured as much as I am able to extinguish that pernicious spirit of passion and prejudice, which rages with the same violence in all parties, I am still the more desirous of doing some good in this particular, because I 15 observe that the spirit of party reigns more in the country than in the town. It here contracts a kind of brutality and rustic fierceness, to which men of a politer conversation are wholly strangers. It extends itself even to the return of the bow and the hat; and at the same 20 time that the heads of parties preserve towards one another an outward shew of good breeding, and keep up a perpetual intercourse of civilities, their tools that are dispersed in these outlying parts will not so much as mingle together at a cock-match. This humour fills the 25 country with several periodical meetings of Whig jockeys and Tory fox-hunters; not to mention the innumerable curses, frowns, and whispers it produces at a quartersessions.
I do not know whether I have observed in any of my 30 former papers, that my friends Sir Roger de Coverley and Sir Andrew Freeport are of different principles, the
first of them inclined to the landed and the other to the monied interest. This humour is so moderate in each of them, that it proceeds no farther than to an agreeable raillery, which very often diverts the rest of the club. I find however that the knight is a much stronger Tory in 5 the country than in town, which as he has told me in my ear, is absolutely necessary for the keeping up his interest. In all our journey from London to his house we did not so much as bait at a Whig inn; or if by chance the coach-man stopped at a wrong place, one of Sir Roger's 10 servants would ride up to his master full speed, and whisper to him that the master of the house was against such an one in the last election. This often betrayed us into hard beds and bad cheer; for we were not so inquisitive about the inn as the inn-keeper; and provided our land- 15 lord's principles were sound, did not take any notice of the staleness of his provisions. This I found still the more inconvenient, because the better the host was, the worse generally were his accommodations; the fellow knowing very well that those who were his friends would 20 take up with coarse diet and hard lodging. For these reasons, all the while was upon the oad dreaded entering into an house of any one that Sir Roger had applauded for an honest man.
Since my stay at Sir Roger's in the country, I daily 25 find more instances of this narrow party-humour. Being upon a bowling-green at a neighbouring market-town the other day, (for that is the place where the gentlemen of one side meet once a week,) I observed a stranger among them of a better presence and genteeler behav- 30 iour than ordinary; but was much surprised, that notwith
standing he was a very fair better, nobody would take him up. But upon inquiry I found, that he was one who had given a disagreeable vote in a former parliament, for which reason there was not a man upon that bowling5 green who would have so much correspondence with him as to win his money of him.
Among other instances of this nature, I must not omit one which concerns myself. Will Wimble was the other day relating several strange stories that he had picked up, 10 nobody knows where, of a certain great man; and upon
my staring at him, as one that was surprised to hear such things in the country, which had never been so much as whispered in the town, Will stopped short in the thread of his discourse, and after dinner asked my friend Sir 15 Roger in his ear, if he was sure that I was not a fanatic.
It gives me a serious concern to see such a spirit of dissension in the country; not only as it destroys virtue and common sense, and renders us in a manner barbarians towards one another, but as it perpetuates our ani20 mosities, widens our breaches, and transmits our present passions and prejudices to our posterity. For my own part, I am sometimes afraid that I discover the seeds of a civil war in these our divisions; and therefore cannot but bewail, as in their first principles, the miseries and 25 calamities of our children.
SIR ROGER AND THE GIPSIES. [ADDISON.]
No. 130.-MONDAY, JULY 30, 1711.
Convectare juvat prædas, et vivere rapto.
VIRG. EN. vii. 748. HUNTING their sport, and plundering was their trade. — DRYDEN.
As I was yesterday riding out in the fields with my friend Sir Roger, we saw at a little distance from us a troop of gipsies. Upon the first discovery of them, my friend was in some doubt whether he should not exert the Justice of the peace upon such a band of lawless vagrants; but not having his clerk with him, who is a necessary counsellor on those occasions, and fearing that his poultry might fare the worse for it, he let the thought drop: but at the same time gave me a particular account of the mischiefs they do in the country, in steal- 10 ing people's goods and spoiling their servants. "If a stray piece of linen hangs upon an hedge," says Sir Roger, "they are sure to have it; if a hog loses his way in the fields, it is ten to one but he becomes their prey; our geese cannot live in peace for them: if a man prose- 15 cutes them with severity, his henroost is sure to pay for it. They generally straggle into these parts about this time of the year; and set the heads of our servant-maids so agog for husbands, that we do not expect to have any
business done as it should be whilst they are in the country. I have an honest dairy-maid who crosses their hands with a piece of silver every summer, and never fails being promised the handsomest young fellow in the 5 parish for her pains. Your friend the butler has been fool enough to be seduced by them; and though he is sure to lose a knife, a fork, or a spoon every time his fortune is told him, generally shuts himself up in the pantry with an old gipsy for above half an hour once in Io a twelvemonth. Sweet-hearts are the things they live upon, which they bestow very plentifully upon all those that apply themselves to them. You see now and then some handsome young jades among them: the sluts have very often white teeth and black eyes."
15 Sir Roger observing that I listened with great attention to his account of a people who were so entirely new to me, told me, that if I would they should tell us our fortunes. As I was very well pleased with the knight's proposal, we rid up and communicated our hands to 20 them. A Cassandra of the crew, after having examined my lines very diligently, told me, that I loved a pretty maid in a corner, that I was a good woman's man, with some other particulars which I do not think proper to relate. My friend Sir Roger alighted from his horse, 25 and exposing his palm to two or three of them that stood by him, they crumpled it into all shapes, and diligently scanned every wrinkle that could be made in it; when one of them who was elder and more sun-burnt than the rest, told him, that he had a widow in his line of life; 30 upon which the knight cried, "Go, go, you are an idle baggage"; and at the same time smiled upon me. The