« PreviousContinue »
and that grief might retard the birth of her last until fourteen months after his decease.
This vision lasted until my usual hour of waking, which I did with some surprise, to find myself alone after having been engaged almost a whole night in so prodigious a multitude. I could not but reflect with wonder at the partiality and extravagance of my vision; which, according to my thoughts, has not done justice to the sex.
If virtue in men is more venerable, it is in women more lovely; which Milton has very finely expressed in his Paradise Lost, where Adam, speaking of Eve, after having asserted his own pre-eminence, as being first in creation and internal faculties, breaks out into the following rapture:
_" Yet when I approach
No 103. TUESDAY, DECEMBER 6, 1709.
«He nuge seria ducunt
HOR. Ars Poet. ver. 452.
These toys will once to serious mischiefs fall,
From my own Apartment, December 5. THERE is nothing gives a man a greater satisfaction, than the sense of having dispatched a great deal of business, especially when it turns to the public emolument. I have much pleasure of this kind upon my spirits at present, occasioned by the fatigue of affairs which I went through last Saturday.
It is some time since I set apart that day for examining the pretensions of several who had applied to me for canes, perspective - glasses, snuff- boxes, orangeflower-waters, and the like ornaments of life. In order to adjust this matter, I had before directed Charles Lillie of Beaufort-Buildings, to prepare a great bundle of blank licences in the following words:
“ You are hereby required to permit the bearer, of this cane to pass and repass through the streets and suburbs of London, or any place within ten miles, of it, without let or molestation, provided that he does not walk with it under his arm, brandish it in the air, or hang it on a button: in which case it shall be forfeited; and I hereby declare it forfeited,
to any one who shall think it safe to take it from him.
" Isaac BICKERSTAFr.”
The same form, differing only in the provisos, will serve for a perspective, snuff-box, or perfumed handkerchief. I had placed myself in my elbow-chair at the upper end of my great parlour, having ordered Charles Lillie to take his place upon a joint-stool, with a writing-desk before him. John Morphew also took his station at the door; I having, for his good and faithful services, appointed him my chamber-keeper upon court-days. He let me know, that there was a great number attending without. Upon which I ordered him to give notice, that I did not intend to sit upon snuff-boxes that day; but that those who appeared for canes might enter. The first presented me with the following petition, which I ordered Mr. Lillie to read.
“ To Isaac BICKERSTAFF, Esquire, Censor of
“ That, a great part of his behaviour depending upon it, he should be reduced to the utmost necessities if he should lose the use of it.
“ That the knocking of it upon his shoe, leaning one leg upon it, or whistling with it on his mouth, are such great reliefs to him in conversation, that he does not know how to be good company without it.
“ That he is at present engaged in an amour, and must despair of success if it be taken from him.
“ Your petitioner, therefore, hopes, that, the premises tenderly considered, your worship will not deprive him of so useful and so necessary a support.
“ And your petitioner shall ever, &c." Upon the hearing of this case, I was touched with some compassion, and the more so, when, upon observing him nearer, I found he was a prig. I bid him produce his cane in court, which he had left at the door. He did so, and I finding it to be very curiously clouded with a transparent amber head, and a blue ribband to hang upon his wrist, I immediately ordered my clerk Lillie to lay it up, and de, liver out to him a plain joint, headed with walnut; and then in order to wean him from it by degrees, permitted him to wear it three days in a week, and to abate proportionably until he found himself able
The second who appeared came limping into the court: and setting forth in his petition many pretences for the use of a cane, I caused them to be examined one by one; but finding him in different stories, and confronting him with several witnesses who had seen him walk upright, I ordered Mr. Lillie to take in his cane, and rejected his petition as frivolous.
A third made his entry with great difficulty leaning upon a slight stick, and in danger of falling every step he took. I saw the weakness of his hams; and hearing that he had married a young wife about a fortnight before, I bid him leave his cane, and gave him a new pair of crutches, with which he went off in great vigour and alacrity. This gentleman was succeeded by another, who seemed very much pleased while his petition was reading, in which he had represented, That he was extremely afflicted with the gout, and set his fout upon the ground with the
to go alone.
caution and dignity which accompany that distemper. I suspected him for an impostor, and having ordered him to be searched, I committed him into the hands of doctor Thomas Smith in King-street, my own corn-cutter, who attended in an outward room, and wrought so speedy a cure upon him, that I thought fit to send him also away without his cane.
While I was thus dispensing justice, I heard a noise in my outward room ; and inquiring what was the occasion of it, my door-keeper told me, that they had taken one up in the very fact as he was passing by my door. They immediately brought in a lively fresh-coloured young man, who made great resistance with hand and foot, but did not offer to make use of his cane, which hung upon his fifth button. Upon examination, I found him to be an Oxford-scholar, who was just entered at the Temple. He at first disputed the jurisdiction of the court; but, being driven out of his little law and logic, he told me very pertly, “ that he looked upon such a perpendicular creature as man to make a very imperfect figure without a cane in his hand. It is well known,” says he, “ we ought, according to the natural situation of our bodies, to walk upon our hands and feet; and that the wisdom of the ancients had described man to be an animal of four legs in the morning, two at noon, and three at night; by which they intimated, that the cane might very properly become part of us in some period of life." Upon which I asked him, “ whether he wore it at his breast to have it in readiness when that period should arrive?” My young lawyer immediately told me, “ he had a property in it, and a right to hang it where he pleased, and to make use of it as he thought fit, provided that he did not break the peace with it; and further said, “ that he never took it off his butron, unless it were to lift it up at a coachman, hold