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it, as I could easily do, for it was not above a foot in thickness. I thought it my part to obey; and, for fear of falling, laid myself at full length upon the handkerchief, with the remainder of which he lapped me up to the head for farther security, and in this manner carried me home to his house. There he called his wife, and showed me to her ; but she screamed and ran back, as women in England do at the sight of a toad or a spider. However, when she had awhile seen my behaviour, and how well I observed the signs her husband made, she was soon reconciled, and by degrees grew extremely tender of me.
It was about twelve at noon, and a servant brought in dinner. It was only one substantial dish of meat, fit for the plain condition of a husbandman, in a dish of about four-and-twenty feet diameter. The company were, the farmer and his wife, three children, and an old grandmother. When they were sat down, the farmer placed me at some distance from him on the table, which was thirty feet high from the floor. I was in a terrible fright, and kept as far as I could from the edge, for fear of falling. The wife minced a bit of meat, then crumbled some bread on a trencher, and placed it before me. I made her a low bow, took out my knife and fork, and fell to eat, which
them exceeding delight. The mistress sent her maid for a small dram-cup, which held about two gallons, and filled it with drink; I took up the vessel with much difficulty in both hands, and in a most respectful manner drank to her ladyship’s health, expressing the words as loud as I could in English, which made the company laugh so heartily, that I was almost deafened with the noise. This liquor tasted like a small cider, and was not unpleasant. Then the master made me a sign to come to his trencher side ; but as I walked on the table, being in great surprise all the time, as the indulgent reader will easily conceive and excuse, I happened to stumble against a crust, and fell flat on my face, but received no hurt. I got up immediately, and observing the good people to be in much concern, I took my hat, which I held under my arm out of good manners, and
waving it over my head, made three huzzas, to show I had got no mischief by my fall. But advancing forward towards my master, as I shall henceforth call him, his youngest son, who sat next to him, an arch boy of about ten years old, took me up by the legs, and held me so high in the air, that I trembled every limb: but his father snatched me from him, and at the same time gave him such a box on the left ear, as would have felled an European troop of horse to the earth, ordering him to be taken from the table. But, being afraid the boy might owe me a spite, and well remembering how mischievous all children among us naturally are to sparrows, rabbits, young kittens, and puppy-dogs, I fell on my knees, and, pointing to the boy, made my master to understand, as well as I could, that I desired his son might be pardoned. The father complied, and the lad took his seat again, whereupon I went to him, and kissed his hand, which my master took, and made him stroke me gently with it.
In the midst of dinner, my mistress's favourite cat leaped into her lap. I heard a noise behind me like that of a dozen stocking weavers at work; and turning my head I found it proceeded from the purring of that animal, who seemed to be three times larger than an ox, as I computed by the view of her head, and one of her paws, while her mistress was feeding and stroking her. The fierceness of this creature's countenance altogether discomposed me; though I stood at the farther end of the table, above fifty feet off; and although my mistress held her fast, for fear she might give a spring, and seize me in her talons. But it happened there was no danger; for the cat took not the least notice of me when my master placed me within three yards of her. And, as I have been always told, and found true by experience in my travels, that flying or discovering fear before a fierce animal, is a certain way to make it pursue or attack you, so I resolved, in this dangerous juncture, to show no manner of concern. I walked with intrepidity five or six times before the very head of the cat, and came within half a yard of her'; whereupon she drew herself back, as if she were more afraid of me. I had less apprehension concerning the dogs, whereof three or four came into the room, as it is usual in farmers' houses ; one of which was a mastiff, equal in bulk to four elephants, and a greyhound, somewhat taller than the mastiff, but not so large.
When dinner was almost done, the nurse came in with a child of a year old in her arms, who immediately spied me, and began a squall that you might have heard from London-Bridge to Chelsea, after the usual oratory of infants, to get me for a plaything. The mother, out of pure indulgence, took me up, and put me towards the child, who presently seized me by the middle, and got my head into his mouth, where I roared so loud that the urchin was frighted, and let me drop, and I should infallibly have broke my neck, if the mother had not held her apron under me.
TO LORD-TREASURER OXFORD,
ON THE DEATH OF HIS DAUGHTER, THE MARCHIONESS
November 21, 1713. MY LORD,—Your Lordship is the person in the world to whom every body ought to be silent upon such an occasion as this, which is only to be supported by the greatest wisdom and strength of mind : wherein, God knows, the wisest and best of us, who would presume to offer their thoughts, are far your
inferiors. It is true, indeed, that a great misfortune is apt to weaken the mind, and disturb the understanding. This, indeed, might be some pretence to us to administer our consolations, if we had been wholly strangers to the person gone. But, my lord, whoever had the honour to know her, wants a comforter as much as your lordship: because, though their loss is not so great, yet they have not the same firmness and prudence, to support the want of a friend, a patroness, a benefactor, as you have to support that of a daughter. My lord, both religion and reason forbid me to have the least concern for that lady's death, upon her own account; and he must be an ill Christian, or a perfect stranger to her virtues, who would not wish himself, with all submission to God Almighty's will, in her condition. But your lordship, who has lost such a daughter, and we, who have lost such a friend, and the world, which has lost such an example, have, in our several degrees, greater cause to lament, than, perhaps, was ever given by any private person before: for, my lord, I have sat down to think of every amiable quality that could enter into the composition of a lady, and could not single out one, which she did not possess in as high a perfection as human nature is capable of. But as to your lordship's own particular, as it is an unconceivable misfortune to have lost such a daughter, so it is a possession which few can boast of, to have had such a daughter. I have often said to your lordship, “That I never knew any one by many degrees so happy in their domestics as you :” and I affirm you are so still, though not by so many degrees: from whence it is very obvious, that your lordship should reflect upon what you have left,
have lost. To say the truth, my lord, you began to be too happy for a mortal; much more happy than is usual with the dispensations of Providence long to continue. You had been the great instrument of preserving your country from foreign and domestic ruin : you have had the felicity of establishing your family in the greatest lustre, without any obligation to the bounty of your prince, or any industry of your own : triumphed over the violence and treachery of your enemies, by your courage and abilities : and by the steadiness of your temper, over the inconstancy and caprice of your friends. Perhaps your lordship has felt too much complacency within yourself, upon this universal success : and God Almighty, who would not disappoint your endeavours for the public, thought fit to punish you with a domestic loss, where he knew your heart was most exposed; and at the same time, has fulfilled his own wise purposes, by rewarding in a better life, that excellent creature he has taken from you.
and not upon
I know not, my lord, why I write this to you, nor hardly what I am writing. I am sure, it is not from any compliance with form; it is not from thinking that I can give your lordship any ease.
I think it was an impulse upon me that I should say something : and whether I shall send you what I have written, I am yet in doubt.
BISHOP OF CLOYNE,
Born 1684_Died 1753.
THE MINUTE PHILOSOPHER.
I flattered myself, Theages, that before this time I might have been able to have sent you an agreeable account of the success of the affair which brought me into this remote corner of the country. But instead of this, I should now give you the detail of its miscarriage, if I did not rather choose to entertain you with some amusing incidents, which have helped to make me easy under a circumstance I could neither obviate nor foresee. Events are not in our power ; but it always is, to make a good use even of the very worst. And I must needs own, the course and event of this affair gave opportunity for reflections that make me some amends for a great loss of time, pains, and expense. A life of action, which takes its issue from the counsels, passions, and views, of other men, if it doth not draw a man to imitate, will at least teach him to observe. And a mind at liberty to reflect on its own observations, if it produce nothing useful to the world, seldom fails of entertainment to itself. For several months past I have enjoyed such liberty and leisure in this distant retreat, far beyond the verge of that great whirlpool of business, faction, and pleasure, which is called the world. And a retreat in itself agreeable, after a long scene of trouble and disquiet,