Eliot, T. Frost, R. Hopkins, G. Keats, J. Lawrence, D. Masters, E. Sandburg, C. Sassoon, S. Whitman, W. Wordsworth, W. Yeats, W. Roosevelt, T. Stein, G. Stevenson, R. Wells, H. English Essays: Sidney to Macaulay. The Harvard Classics. The gentleman next in esteem and authority among us is another bachelor, who is a member of the Inner Temple, a man of great probity, wit, and understanding; but he has chosen his place of residence rather to obey the direction of an old humorsome father than in pursuit of his own inclinations.
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He was placed there to study the laws of the land, and is the most learned of any of the house in those of the stage. Aristotle and Longinus are much better understood by him than Littleton or Coke. The father sends up every post questions relating to marriage-articles, leases, and tenures, in the neighborhood; all which questions he agrees with an attorney to answer and take care of in the lump. He is studying the passions themselves, when he should be inquiring into the debates among men which arise from them. He knows the argument of each of the orations of Demosthenes and Tully, but not one case in the reports of our own courts.
No one ever took him for a fool; but none, except his intimate friends, know he has a great deal of wit. This turn makes him at once both disinterested and agreeable. As few of his thoughts are drawn from business, they are most of them fit for conversation. His taste for books is a little too just for the age he lives in; he has read all, but approves of very few.
His familiarity with the customs, manners, actions, and writings of the ancients, makes him a very delicate observer of what occurs to him in the present world. It is for the good of the audience when he is at the play, for the actors have an ambition to please him. The person of next consideration is Sir Andrew Freeport, a merchant of great eminence in the city of London; a person of indefatigable industry, strong reason, and great experience. I desire you to accept of a jack 53 , which is the best I have caught this season.
I intend to come and stay with you a week, and see how the perch bite in the Black River. I observed with some concern, the last time I saw you upon the bowling-green, that your whip wanted a lash to it; I will bring half a dozen with me that I twisted last week, which I hope will serve you all the time you are in the country.
He takes to his learning hugely. I am, Sir,. This extraordinary letter, and message that accompanied it, made me very curious to know the character and quality of the gentleman who sent them; which I found to be as follows. Will Wimble is younger brother to a baronet, and descended of the ancient family of the Wimbles.
He is now between forty and fifty; but, being bred to no business and born to no estate, he generally lives with his elder brother as superintendent of his game. He hunts a pack of dogs better than any man in the country, and is very famous for finding out a hare. As he is a good-natured officious 55 fellow, and very much esteemed upon account of his family, he is a welcome guest at every house, and keeps up a good correspondence 56 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 favourite of all the young heirs, whom he frequently obliges with a net that he has weaved, or a setting dog that he has made 57 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?
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These gentleman-like manufactures and obliging little humours make Will the darling of the country. 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 58 at sight of the good old Knight. 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 manner. Upon our sitting down to it he gave us a long account how he had hooked it, played with it, foiled 59 it, and at length drew it out upon the bank, with several other particulars that lasted all the first course.
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? This humour 61 fills several parts of Europe with pride and beggary. It is the happiness of a trading nation, like ours, that the younger sons, though incapable 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 several 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 62 for the occupations of trade and commerce.
Rendered helpless. Device for decoying quails. Fitted by nature. I was this morning walking in the gallery when Sir Roger entered at the end opposite to me, and advancing towards me, said he was glad to meet me among his relations the De Coverleys, and hoped I liked the conversation 63 of so much good company, who were as silent as myself.
I knew he alluded to the pictures, and as he is a gentleman who does not a little value himself upon his ancient descent, I expected he would give me some account of them.
Shop with confidence
We were now arrived at the upper end of the gallery, when the Knight faced towards one of the pictures, and, as we stood before it, he entered into the matter, after his blunt way of saying things, as they occur to his imagination, without regular introduction, or care to preserve the appearance of chain of thought. He was the last man that won a prize in the tilt-yard which is now a common street before Whitehall.
You see the broken lance that lies there by his right foot; he shivered that lance of his adversary all to pieces; and bearing himself, look you, sir, in this manner, at the same time he came within the target 65 of the gentleman who rode against him, and taking him with incredible force before him on the pommel of his saddle, he in that manner rid the tournament 66 over, with an air that showed he did it rather to perform the rule of the lists, than expose his enemy; however, it appeared he knew how to make use of a victory, and with a gentle trot he marched up to a gallery where their mistress sat for they were rivals and let him down with laudable courtesy and pardonable insolence The action at the tilt-yard you may be sure won the fair lady, who was a maid of honour, and the greatest beauty of her time; here she stands the next picture.
You see, sir, my great-great-great-grandmother has on the new-fashioned petticoat, except that the modern is gathered at the waist: my grandmother appears as if she stood in a large drum, whereas the ladies now walk as if they were in a go-cart.
Meaning of "Sir Roger de Coverley" in the English dictionary
For all 69 this lady was bred at court, she became an excellent country wife, she brought ten children, and when I show you the library, you shall see in her own hand allowing for the difference of the language the best receipt now in England both for an hasty-pudding and a white-pot. Misfortunes happen in all families: the theft of this romp and so much money, was no great matter to our estate. But the next heir that possessed it was this soft gentleman, whom you see there: observe the small buttons, the little boots, the laces, the slashes 70 about his clothes, and above all the posture he is drawn in, which to be sure was his own choosing; you see he sits with one hand on a desk writing and looking as it were another way, like an easy writer, or a sonneteer: he was one of those that had too much wit to know how to live in the world; he was a man of no justice, but great good manners; he ruined everybody that had anything to do with him, but never said a rude thing in his life; the most indolent person in the world, he would sign a deed that passed away half his estate with his gloves on, but would not put on his hat before a lady if it were to save his country.
He is said to be the first that made love by squeezing the hand. He left the estate with ten thousand pounds debt upon it, but however by all hands I have been informed that he was every way the finest gentleman in the world. That debt lay heavy on our house for one generation, but it was retrieved by a gift from that honest man you see there, a citizen of our name, but nothing at all akin to us. I know Sir Andrew Freeport has said behind my back, that this man was descended from one of the ten children of the maid of honour I showed you above; but it was never made out.
Sir Roger went on with his account of the gallery in the following manner. He would have thought himself as much undone by breaking his word, as if it were to be followed by bankruptcy. He served his country as knight of this shire 71 to his dying day.
He found it no easy matter to maintain an integrity in his words and actions, even in things that regarded the offices which were incumbent upon him, in the care of his own affairs and relations of life, and therefore dreaded though he had great talents to go into employments of state, where he must be exposed to the snares of ambition.
Innocence of life and great ability were the distinguishing parts of his character; the latter, he had often observed, had led to the destruction of the former, and used frequently to lament that great and good had not the same signification. He was an excellent husbandman, but had resolved not to exceed such a degree 72 of wealth; all above it he bestowed in secret bounties many years after the sum he aimed at for his own use was attained. Intercourse with. Targe or small shield.
In spite of the fact that. Ornamental slits in a doublet, etc. A fixed amount. Discourse about. Absurd notion. I like this retirement the better, because of an ill report it lies under of being haunted ; for which reason as I have been told in the family no living creature ever walks in it besides the chaplain. My good friend the butler desired me with a very grave face not to venture myself in it after sunset, for that one of the footmen had been almost frighted out of his wits by a spirit that appeared to him in the shape of a black horse without an head; to which he added, that about a month ago one of the maids coming home late that way with a pail of milk upon her head, heard such a rustling among the bushes that she let it fall.
I was taking a walk in this place last night between the hours of nine and ten, and could not but fancy it one of the most proper scenes in the world for a ghost to appear in. The ruins of the abbey are scattered up and down on every side, and half covered with ivy and elder bushes, the harbours of several solitary birds which seldom make their appearance till the dusk of the evening.
The place was formerly a churchyard, and has still several marks in it of graves and burying-places. There is such an echo among the old ruins and vaults, that if you stamp but a little louder than ordinary, you hear the sound repeated. These objects naturally raise seriousness and attention; and when night heightens the awfulness of the place, and pours out her supernumerary 75 horrors upon everything in it, I do not at all wonder that weak minds fill it with spectres and apparitions.
Locke, in his chapter of the Association of Ideas, has very curious 76 remarks to show how, by the prejudice of education 77 , one idea often introduces into the mind a whole set that bear no resemblance to one another in the nature of things. Among several examples of this kind, he produces the following instance.
Catalog Record: Sir Roger de Coverley; essays from the Spectator | HathiTrust Digital Library
As I was walking in this solitude, where the dusk of the evening conspired with so many other occasions of terror, I observed a cow grazing not far from me, which an imagination that was apt to startle might easily have construed into a black horse without an head: and I dare say the poor footman lost his wits upon some such trivial occasion.
The Knight seeing his habitation reduced to so small a compass, and himself in a manner shut out of his own house, upon the death of his mother ordered all the apartments to be flung open, and exorcised 79 by his chaplain, who lay in every room one after another, and by that means dissipated the fears which had so long reigned in the family.
I should not have been thus particular upon these ridiculous horrors, did not I find them so very much prevail in all parts of the country. I might here add, that not only the historians, to whom we may join the poets, but likewise the philosophers of antiquity have favoured this opinion. Lucretius 80 himself, though by the course of his philosophy he was obliged to maintain that the soul did not exist separate from the body, makes no doubt of the reality of apparitions, and that men have often appeared after their death. This I think very remarkable.