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The Progress of an Enquirer after Places. THOUGH disappointments are, in some degree or other, most commonly the companions that attend and thwart the hopes and expectations of all mankind; yet have I not observed more disappointments generally to accompany any attempt, than I have the endeavours, and designs, to get into reputable places and employments, as by the sequel will appear.
An English gentleman, who, by hospitality amongst his country neighbours, had spent the greatest part of his estate; having very little, besides the mansion-seat of his family left, seeing himself slighted by those very men who had largely tasted of his bounty, seriously began to consider, how he should still support himself in some credible reputation; and, after he had run over several designing thoughts, and built castles in the air, he at last fixed upon the common hopes of getting a place, or employ, at London. To effect which, he presently sold the remaining part of his estate; and to London he came, to put in practice the scheme he had drawn, for raising once again his fortune. His first application was, to be sure, to one of the worthy burgesses that served for a neighbouring corporation, who, by the charms of bribery, and by virtue of his strong drink, had carried the election nemine contradicente ; him he acquainted with his design, and desired bis kind assistanee, who presently promised fair for country sake tho' he was an Irishman. Upon bis promise, every morning he danced attendance, at the levee of my dear joy; and, when he walked, he kept cringing on his larboard quarter, not presuming to go cheek by jowl with one of the representatives of the nation; who had the same business during the whole sessions of parliament, that he had during the term-time, two motions a day, to Westminister and back again ; but finding his waiting, and the other's promises, would signify the same thing, and the senator being gone to Tunbridge, where the proverb was on his side, he bethought himself what farther methods were to be taken; and luckily finding, on a coffee-house table, a paper intituled, 'A collection for improvement of husbandry and trade, by John Houghton, F. R. S.' wherein he found, that he knew of several that wanted men so or so qualified or recommended, and several that were so and so qualified and recommended, that wanted the employments which others wanted to have officiated. At first view, he thought this paper as a pillar of light to guide him in the dark: But, upon examining the inquiries after places and employs, and those that wanted agents, found they answered one another's occasions, and that there was not one agent inquired after, but there was the same place sought for; so he despaired of success from that, seeing every one's occasion might be supplied.
Though his sleep, or rather slumbers, was unquiet and short, occasioned by the concern that hagged his thoughts about his future earthly well being, yet bis lying awake was more tormenting to him, as much as impending want had then a more lively impression,
than his drowsy fancy could represent. So, trying as it were to avoid himself, he arose, slighting beauish formality, soon dressed himself, and went to Man's coffee-house ; where, though it was early in the morning, be found talkative Will, a tall elderly man, with his own hair, diverting the company, sometimes in English, sometimes in French; in both languages he told stories as improbable to be true as all D.O.'s narrative. He took upon him the statesman, and told the company he knew of funds that would have raised money enough to defray the charge of the war, without being any pressure to the subject : He blamed all that he was pleased to think mismanagement in the concerns of the nation; and then gravely told them, how all might be prevented, which every blockhead can do, after the act is past; and, for the future, how he would have things managed; but mercy upon us, if affairs were to be ordered by his managery (looking upon his conduct) it may reasonably be believed, they would have been ten times worse directed. After he had railed at several particular persons, whose names be did not tell (but described them plainer than I do him) he grumbled at the bounty bestowed upon favourites. But I suppose his cousin Harry's humour then possessed him, who always rails when he is poor ; but whilst a bounty is in his pocket (which never wears it out) he is as much for praisng, as when penniless in railing and reflecting. If variety be pleasing, sure Mr. William's discourse was diverting; for he run over stories (as much as the time would allow) of men and women, of all qualities, all sorts of countries, governments, languages, horses, dogs, cocks, wine, spuff, &c. as positively as if he had been an eye or ear-witness, had travelled them all over, been a privy counsellor in every one of them; a professor of languages, owned, or laid wagers, drank, tasted, or snuffed of every sort : But at last took opportunity (tho' no occasion offered) to tell how nigh he was related to, and how he was beloved and respected by a Dutch English nobleman; which at last startled my inquirer from the confusion the medley of his discourse had put him into, and brought into his thought, that this gentleman's interest might do him a kindness.
His approaching necessity having made him confident beyond his natural temper, he presently enquired. the gentleman's name and lodging, and that day waited upon him, and, in short, desired his favour towards helping him to an employ fit for a gentleman, and, at the same time, promised to be grateful. Mr. William, who never wants complimental civility, told him, that he would assist him in what lay in his power, and mentioned to him several places that he might endeavour to get; but, knowing none then vacant, he desired he would meet him on the morrow, when he would bring a man (meaning his cousin Harry) whom the cobweb laws cannot confine (though in close confinement) who knew of forty to be disposed of. The next day, according to appointment, they all met, and Harry cajoled my enquirer, and fitted his bumour to a t
; indeed, he must be of a very stingy temper whom he cannot please, for he is really a very sensible gentleman. My enquirer's desires were made known to him ; and Harry, who never parts with a man but he leaves him a plausible prospect of effecting his designs, laid down such assurances upon promises made in his favour, that my gentleman began to believe at such a day he might enter iuto pay or salary; but, before he parted, Harry had nicely examined, though at a distance, how his stock was, either to bribe or purchase, and, in a day or two, was to give my enquirer a positive answer. But I had almost forgot to tell you, that, just at parting, Harry bore up to him, and told him, that, though he would serve a gentleman gratis with his labour, yet there would be expences; 10 defray which, he expected he should bring him ten guineas the next morning. My enquirer, buoyed up with hopes, came the next morning with ready rhino in his pocket, had immediately admittance into a room spread with old carpets, that the man at the Three Roses had refused to stitch cards on. Presently honest Harry, who, like the hungry Jew, watched the falling manna, came in, and accosted him with, 'Sir, I have done your business, for I was with my lord last night, and, to serve you, spent my own interest, so effectually, that I had his promise on your bebalf:' Upon these words the manna dropped into his hand, which Harry never kept till the following day, for fear it should turn sowre. My enquirer's moving hand having reached ten, at which number Harry's alarm stood, it immediately rung a peal in division about places, for half an hour together, “That he that wrote the present state of England, in the year 1694, was a blockhead, compared to him; for he has not mentioned a quarter of the places and employs that Harry named to my enquirer, and gave him the choice of any of them. He, that put an advertisement for the sale of horses, cannot in a month's time name so many horses to be sold, as be pretended to know employs. My enquirer, amongst the many texts this parson quoted, pitched upon two or three which served to his liking; and, when Mr. Harry had done talking, he told bim, such or such would suit his education, and agreed with his humour. Oh, says Harry, those are not as yet vacant, but they will be, perhaps, before the parliament rises; for they are resolved to suffer very few members of the house to be in employs, wherein any branch of the revenue is to be managed ; and, since it is certain some will part with their places rather than be turned out of the house, your study must be how to get into one of those they abdicate ; to effect which, you must try to ingratiate yourself with a S-~ of S, with three of the L- of the Tom, at least : And the thoughtful gentleman, who, by much labour of his brain, hammers out things in a great perfection, to be known and well-recommended to the P
; for some employs must be granted in C-, Now, the fittest man upon earth, to be your sollicitor there, is W.F. who, though he is foundered in his feet, has a natural assurance to tell a story plausibly to any nobleman, though it is seldom minded; he is old dog with the ladies and boys, and their constant sollicitor:
Besides, he may be, from his own interest, very serviceable to you;. for I know, the other day, he helped a footman to a place, and took but half a crown for his labour.,
* It will also be requisite for you to learn decimals and guaging, and make application to the C-o E--; or to the Lof the A: Or to the Cof the C-- But you must not neglect making application to several particular persons, who always seem in a hurry, as if they had the whole concerns of the nation to manage: Amongst which there is honest Tony, who seldom gives the C- of P- and E, much trouble to draw up a report ; ‘A. R. is not duly elected.' I must beg pardon when I say, it is hard, that so understanding a gentleman, one that knows how to take all advantages, should not be in the house, no man being fitter to caution against deceits than the He has been serviceable to the nation by the project of packing of hay; by the manage of which, horses eat less than usual, and their bellies were taken up, without belly-cloaths, the smell did their business; yet Tony had but 31. a load for what cost him 25s.'
His principles may be guessed by his practice, and he has declared his sentiments, how people, that would thrive, should manage themselves; and designs, if he may be believed, to instil the same principles into his children; for he told an honest gentleman, that, if he had a son, he would advise him to flatter and dissemble with all mankind, never to speak truth but when it was for his advantage. With this worthy gentleman it will be necessary to be acquainted, if you have money to purchase an employ under the Mof the H-; for every one of them, that were in his reach, he has either sold, or been a broker in the matter. need make no interest to him by intercession of friends ; for be has no respect to persons, principles, or qualities; but, like a late deceased knight, whose wit (by mistake so called) lay in bold examinations of scripture passages, buffoonly ridiculing what was beyond his shallow capacity to understand, bas regard only to the money, let it come from Williamite, Jacobite, or devil. Besides him, there is another you should be acquainted with, that is, a blinking fellow, a mere pretender to the law, who could scarce read (allowing breviations) at the Exchequer bar: He, by his pretensions, one would think had the disposal of forty considerable places; indeed, he has most of the gentry at his beck, though it is a shame to see how poor-spirited some of them are, to cringe and creep to him, whom most men avoid ; though there is a broad mixture in this man of knave and fool, yet he so manages, by · tricks and lyes, a certain person, in whose power it is to make you one extraordinary, that a trial ought to be made of bis interest: And sure, by some of these, with my assistance (which you shall never want) a man of your birth, education, and ingenuity, cannot miss of some employ or other. Now, Sir, I have told you what is to be done, use your endeavour; and, when you have fixed upon your particular, come again to me, and I (as Mr.
Houghton says) can help. My enquirer, with his head full of this counsel, takes leave, resolving to meditate on it, and put it in practice; bul, going down stairs, he saw a written paper which Harry's servant had dropped ; and, being curious, took it up, and put it in his pocket to read at leisure. The first opportunity he bad, he opened the paper, and found as follows: "Answers, excuses, and observations, to be got by heart, and used, as occasion offers, by my servant Robin.'
• If a man knocks hard early in a morning, with a cane in his hand, believe him to be a creditor, and the first time answer him, that I am not well, and you dare not disturb me; to countenance which, be sure, two or three days in a month, tie a rag upon the knocker of the door. The second time, I was sent for about earnest business, to any busy nobleman you first think of. Afterwards say for me as you would have others say for you to whom you owe money; but sure you be not catched in a lye, for people are too apt to believe that courtiers servants lye, though they speak truth, if their desires be not complied with. If it be one that wears a sword, it is ten to one but it is either some body I am in combination withal to cheat another, or that he himself is to be cheated; him presently admit, for from such,
comes to the mill. If it be one whose company I bave shunned, send him to some tavern or coffee-house out of the verge of the court, where, to be sure, I never go but on a Sunday.' Some part of the paper
had been torn off, but one may be certain, he had learned the whole lesson by the variety of shams and excuses he had constantly ready.
Bless me! how was my enquirer surprised at the reading it? And began to conceive that he was fallen into the hands of a tongue-padding cheating courtier ; but, finding his counsel, in some measure, ought to be followed, he was resolved to make applications as he was directed. In a short time, by friends or money, he was little or much recommended to almost all fortune's darlings, that had the disposal of any employs; one or other of them he was almost continually waiting on with the recommendation of my Lord such an one, Sir such an one, or honest Mr. such an one; and every one to whom he was recommended, like true courtiers, spoke him fair. One promised the next thing that fell; another promised to take care of him; a tbird, out of kindness, would have h m qualify himself, that, upon any opportunity, he might jump in
a fourth took money in part; and, a fifth invited him to dinner, which gentleman, it must be said of him, did him more kindness than all the rest; for, after he had waited half a year, he found their promises to be only air; for, when the first had power by a va. cancy, to be sure he said, he was pre-engaged. The second's care was to avoid him. The third gentleman would not give him an opportunity to jump, continually selling reversions. The fourth did his business but in part; for he could never get all bis money again. Thus shuffled off from one to another, by fair words and