« ElőzőTovább »
make them out tertio modo, or totidem literis. This discovery was also highly commended : Upon which they fell once more to the scrutiny, and picked out S, H, O, U, L, D, E, R, when the same planet, enemy to their repose, had wonderfully contrived that a K was not to be found. Here was a weighty difficulty! But the distinguishing brother, for whom we shall hereafter find a name, now his hand was in, proved, by a very good argument, that K was a modern illegitimate letter, unknown to the learned ages, nor any where to be found in ancient manuscripts. “ 'Tis true” (said he) “ the word Calendæ hath “ in Q. V. C. * been sometimes written with a “K, but erroneously; for in the best copies it “ has been ever spelt with a C. And, by conse“ quence, it was a gross mistake in our language “ to spell knot with a K; but that from hence“ forward he would take care it should be writ“ ten with a C.” Upon this all farther difficulty vanished; shoulder-knots were made clearly out to be jure paterno; and our three gentlemen swaggered with as large and as flaunting ones as the best.
But as human happiness is of a very short duration, so in those days were human fashions,
* Quibusdam veteribus codicibus : Some antient manuscripts.
upon which it entirely depends. Shoulder-knots had their time; and we must now imagine them in their decline: For a certain lord came just from Paris, with fifty yards of gold-lace upon his coat, exactly trimmed after the court-fashion of that month. In two days, all mankind appeared closed up in bars of gold-lace*. Whoever durst peep abroad without his complement of gold-lace, was as scandalous as a ----, and as ill received among the women. What should our three knights do in this momentous affair? They had sufficiently strained a point already, in the affair of shoulderknots. Upon recourse to the will, nothing appeared there but altum silentium. That of the shoulder-knots was a loose, flying, circumstantial point; but this of gold-lace seemed too considerable an alteration without better warrant: It did aliquo modo essentiæ udhærere, and therefore required a positive precept. But about this time it fell out, that the learned brother aforesaid had read Aristotelis dialectica; and especially that wonderful piece, de interpretatione, which has the faculty of teaching its readers to find out a meaning in every thing but itself; like commentators on the Revelations, who proceed prophets without
* I cannot tell, whether the author means any new innoration by this word, or whether it be only to introduce the new inethods of furcing and perverting scripture.
understanding a syllable of the text. Brothers, said he, you are to be informed, that of wills duo sunt genera, nuncupatory * and scriplory. That in the scriptory will here before us, there is no precept or mention about gold-lace, conceditur : but, si idem affirmetur de nuncupatoria, negatur. For brothers, if you remember, we heard a fellow suy, when we were boys, that he heard my father's man say, that he heard my father say, that he would advisé his sons to get gold-lace on their coats, as soon as ever they could procure money to buy it. By G-, that is very true, cries the other ; I remember it perfectly well, said the third. And so, without more ado, they got the largest gold-lace in the parish, and walked about as fine as lords.
A while after, there came up, all in fashion, a pretty sort of flame-coloured sattin + for linings;
* By this is meant tradition, allowed to have equal authority with the scripture, or rather greater. .
+ This is purgatory, whereof he speaks more particularly hereafter, but here, only to shew how scripture was perverted to prove it; which was done, by giving e- • qual authority, with the canon, to Apocryphu, called bere a codocil annexed.
It is likely the author, in every one of these changes in the brothers dresses, refers to some particular error in the church of Rome; though it is not easy, I think, to apply them all. But by this of flame-coloured sattin, is manifestly intended purgatory; by gold-lace may perhaps be un
and the mercer brought a pattern of it immediately to our three gentlemen : An' please your worships, said he, my Lord C-, and Sir J. W. had linings out of this very piece last night. It takes wonderfully; and I shall not have a remnant left, enough to make my wife a pin-cushion, by to-morrow morning at ten a clock. Upon this they fell again to rummage the will, because the present case also required a positive precept, the lining being held by orthodox writers to be of the essence of the coat. After long search, they could fix upon nothing to the matter in hand, except a short advice of their father in the will, to take care of fire, and put out their candles before they went to sleep *. This, though a good deal for the purpose, and helping very far towards self-conviction, yet not seeming wholly of force to establish a command; (being resolved to avoid farther scruple, as well as future occasion for scandal), says he that was the scholar; I remember to have read in wills, of a codicibannexed; which is indeed a part
derstood, the lofty ornaments and plate in the churches. The shoulder-knots and silver fringe are not so obvious, at least to me. But the indian figures of men, women, and children, plainly relate to the pictures in the Romish churches, of God like an old man, of the virgin Mary, and our Saviour as a child. .
* That is, to take care of hell; and in order to do that, to subdue and extinguish their lasts.
of the will;"und what it contains hath equal authority with the rest. Now, I have been considering of this same will here before us; and I cannot reckon it to be complete for want of such a codicil. I will therefore fasten one in its proper place very dextrously. I have hud it by me some time. It was written by a dog-keeper of my grundfather's *; and talks a great deal, as good luck would have it, of this rery flame-coloured satlin. The project was immediately approved by the other two; an old parchment scroll was tagged on according to art, in the form of a codicil annexed, and the sa tin bought and worn.
Next winter, a player, hired for the purpose by the corporation of fringe-makers, acted his part in a new comedy, all covered with silverfringet; and, according to the laudable custom, gave rise to that fashion. Upon which, the brothers consulting their father's will, to their great astonishment found these words : Item, I charge and command my said three sons, to wear no sort of silver-fringe upon or about their said coats,&c. with a penalty, in case of disobedience, too long here to insert. However, after some pause, the brother so often mentioned for his erudition,
* I believe this refers to that part of the Apocrypha, where mention is made of Tobit and his dog.
† This is certainly the farther introducing the pomps of habit and ornament.