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idle man: he makes a may-fly to a miracle, and fur. nishes the whole country with angle-rods. As he is a good-natured officious fellow, and very much esteemed upon account of his family, he is a welcome guest at every house, and keeps up a good correspon. dence among all the gentlemen about him. He carries a tulip-root in his pocket from one to another, or exchanges a puppy between a couple of friends that live perhaps in the opposite sides of the county. Will is a particular favorite of all the young heirs, whom he frequently obliges with a net that he has weaved, or a setting-dog that he has made 1 himself. He now and then presents a pair of garters of his own knitting to their mothers or sisters; and raises a great deal of mirth among them, by inquiring as often as he meets them how they wear. These gentleman-like manufactures and obliging little humors make Will the darling of the country.
Sir Roger was proceeding in the character of him, when we saw him make up to us with two or three hazel-twigs in his hand, that he had cut in Sir Roger's woods, as he came through them, in his way to the house. I was very much pleased to observe on one side the hearty and sincere welcome with which Sir Roger received him, and, on the other, the secret joy which his guest discovered at sight of the good old Knight. After the first salutes were over, Will desired Sir Roger to lend him one of his servants to carry a set of shuttlecocks he had with him in a little box to a lady that lived about a mile off, to whom it seems he had promised such a present for above this
. Sir Roger's back was no sooner turned but honest Will began to tell me of a large cock
1. That is, trained a setter.
pheasant that he had sprung in one of the neighboring woods, with two or three other adventures of the same nature. Odd and uncommon characters are the game that I look for and most delight in; for which reason I was as much pleased with the novelty of the person that talked to me, as he could be for his life with the springing of a pheasant, and therefore listened to him with more than ordinary attention.
In the midst of his discourse the bell rung to dinner, where the gentleman I have been speaking of had the pleasure of seeing the huge jack he had caught served up for the first dish in a most sumptuous
Upon our sitting down to it he gave us a long account how he had hooked it, played with it, foiled it, and at length drew it out upon the bank, with several other particulars that lasted all the first course.
A dish of wild fowl that came afterwards furnished conversation for the rest of the dinner, which concluded with a late invention of Will's for improving the quail-pipe.
Upon withdrawing into my room after dinner, I was secretly touched with compassion towards the honest gentleman that had dined with us, and could not but consider, with a great deal of concern, how so good an heart and such busy hands were wholly employed in trifles; that so much humanity should be so little beneficial to others, and so much industry so little advantageous to himself. The same temper of mind and application to affairs might have recommended him to the public esteem, and have raised his fortune in another station of life. What good to his country or himself might not a trader or merchant have done with such useful though ordinary qualifications?
Will Wimble's is the case of many a younger brother of a great family, who had rather see their children starve like gentlemen than thrive in a trade or profession that is beneath their quality. This humor fills several parts of Europe with pride and beggary. It is the happiness of a trading nation, like ours, that the younger sons, though uncapable of any liberal art or profession, may be placed in such a way of life as may perhaps enable them to vie with the best of their family. Accordingly, we find seve eral citizens that were launched into the world with narrow fortunes, rising by an honest industry to greater estates than those of their elder brothers. It is not improbable but Will was formerly tried at divinity, law, or physic; and that finding his genius did not lie that way, his parents gave him up at length to his own inventions. But certainly, however improper he might have been for studies of a higher nature, he was perfectly well turned for the occupations of trade and commerce. As I think this is a point which cannot be too much inculcated, I shall desire my reader to compare what I have here written with what I have said in my twenty-first speculation.1
1. In the twenty-first paper, or speculation, of The Spectator, Addison discusses the overstocking of the three great professions of divinity, law, and physio
DEATH OF SIR ROGER DE COVERLEY.1
Heu Pietas ! heu prisca Fides !?
VIRGIL, Æneid, vi. 878. WE last night received a Piece of ill News at our Club, which very sensibly afflicted every one of us. I question not but my Readers themselves will be troubled at the hearing of it. To keep them no longer in Suspence, Sir ROGER DE COVERLEY is dead. He departed this Life at his House in the Country, after a few Weeks Sickness. Sir ANDREW FREEPORT has a Letter from one of his Correspon. dents in those Parts, that informs him the old Man caught a Cold at the County-Sessions, as he was very warmly promoting an Address of his own penning, in which he succeeded according to his Wishes. But this Particular comes from a Whig-Justice of Peace, who was always Sir ROGER's Enemy and Antagonist. I have Letters both from the Chaplain and Captain Sentry which mention nothing of it, but are filled with many Particulars to the Honour of the good old Man. I have likewise a Letter from the Butler, who took so much care of me last Summer when I was at the Knight's House. As my Friend the Butler mentions, in the Simplicity of his Heart, several Circumstances the others have passed over in Silence, I shall give my Reader a Copy of his Letter, without any Alteration or Diminution.
1. As explained in the introduction, this number of The Spea tator is reproduced with the spelling, italics, and capitalization originally used.
2. Ah piety ! ah ancient faith!
3. The anticipated closing of The Spectator doubtless determined Addison to put the good knight to death. Writers of the time assert that Addison feared the character might otherwise be adopted by some other writer.
'Knowing that you was 1 my old Master's good 'Friend, I could not forbear sending you the melan. ‘choly News of his Death, which has afflicted the 'whole Country, as well as his poor Servants, who 'loved him, I may say, better than we did our Lives. 'I am afraid he caught his Death the last County 'Sessions, where he would go to see Justice done to a 'poor Widow Woman, and her Fatherless Children, 'that had been wronged by a neighbouring Gentle‘man; for you know, Sir, my good Master was al. 'ways the poor Man's Friend. Upon his coming 'home, the first Complaint he made was, that he had 'lost his Roast-Beef Stomach, not being able to touch 'a Sirloin, which was served up according to Custom; ‘and you know he used to take great Delight in it. 'From that time forward he grew worse and worse, 'but still kept a good Heart to the last. Indeed we 'were once in great Hope of his Recovery, upon a ‘kind Message that was sent him from the Widow 'Lady whom he had made love to the Forty last ‘Years of his Life; but this only proved a Light’ning 'before Death. He has bequeathed to this Lady, as ‘a token of his Love, a great Pearl Necklace, and a *Couple of Silver Bracelets set with Jewels, which 'belonged to my good old Lady his Mother: He has 'bequeathed the fine white Gelding, that he used to ‘ride a hunting upon, to his Chaplain, because he thought he would be kind to him, and has left you 'all his Books. He has, moreover, bequeathed to “the Chaplain a very pretty Tenement with good
1. Not necessarily to be referred to the butler's ignorance of good English, for the locution was common enough amongst welleducated men at this time.