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who was well skilled in criticisms, had found in a certain author, which he said should be nameless, that the same word, which in the will is called fringe, does also signify a broom-stick*; and doubtless ought to have the same interpretation in this paragraph. This another of the brothers disliked, because of that epithet silver ; which could not, he humbly conceived, in propriety of speech, be reasonably applied to a broom-stick. But it was replied upon him, that this epithet was understood in a mythological and allegorical sense. Howdver, he objected again, why their father should forbid them to wear a broom-stick on their coats; a caution that seemed unnatural and impertinent. Upon which he was taken up short, as one that spoke irreverently of a mystery; which doubtless was very useful and significant, but ought not to be over-curiously pried into, or nicely reasoned upon. And, in short, their father's authority being now considerably sunk, this expedient was allowed to serve as a lawful dispensation for wearing their full proportion of silverfringe.
A while after, was revived an old fashion, long antiquated, of embroidery with Indian figures of
* The next subject of our author's wit, is the glosses and interpretations of scripture, very many absurd ones of which are allowed in the most authentic books of the church of Rome, W. Wotton.
men, women, and children *. Here they remembered but too well, how their father had always abhorred this fashion; that he made several paragraphs on purpose, importing his utter detestation of it, and bestowing his everlasting curse to his sons, whenever they should wear it. For all this, in a few days, they appeared higher in the fashion than any body else in the town. But they solved the matter, by saying that these figures were not at all the same with those that were formerly worn, and were meant in the will. Besides, they did not wear them in the sense as forbidden by their father; but as they were a commendable custom, and of great use to the public. That these rigorous clauses in the will did therefore require some allowance, and a favourable interpretation, and ought to be understood cum grano salis.
But fashions perpetually altering in that age, the scholastic brother grew weary of searching farther evasions, and sclving everlasting contradictions. Resolved therefore, at all hazards, to comply with the modes of the world, they concerted matters together, and agreed unanimously,
• The images of saints, the blessed virgin, and our Saviour an infant.
Ibid. Images in the church of Rome, give him but too fair a handle, The brothers remembered, &c. The allegory, here is direct. W. Wotton.
to lock up their father's will in a strong box*, ma brought out of Greece or Italy, I have forgotten 2 which; and trouble themselves no farther to examine it, but only refer to its authority whenever they thought fit. In consequence whereof, a r while after, it grew a general mode to wear an in- i finite number of points, most of them tagged with 6 silver. Upon which, the scholar pronounced ex cathedrut, that points were absolutely jure paterno, as they might very well remember. It is true, indeed, the fashion prescribed somewhat more than were directly named in the will : However, that they, as heirs-general of their father, had power to make and add certain clauses for public emolument, though not deducible, totidem verbis, from the letter of the will; or else multa absurda
* The rapists formerly forbade the people the use of :cripture in a vulgar tongue: Peter therefore locks up his father's will in a strong bór, brought out of Greece or Italy. These countries are named, because the New Testament is written in Greek; and the vulgar Latin, which is the authentic edition of the Bible in the church of Rome, is the langnage of old Italy. W. Wotton.
+ The Popes, in their decretals and bulls, have given their sanction to very many gainful doctrines, which are now received in the chucrh of Rome, that are not mentioned in scripture, and are unknown to the primitive church. Peter accordingly pronounces ex cathedra, that points tagged with silver were absolutely jure paterno; and so they wore then in great numbers. W. Wotton.
sequerentur. This was understood for canonical; and therefore, on the following Sunday, they came to church all covered with points.
The learned brother, so often mentioned, was reckoned the best scholar, in all that, or the next street to it; insomuch, as having run something behind-hand in the world, he obtained the favour of a certain lord*, to receive him into his house, and to teach his children. A while after, the lord died; and he, by long practice of his father's will, found the way of contriving a deed of conteyance of that house to himself and his heirs. Upon which he took possession, turned the young ’squires out, and received his brothers in their stead t.
• This was Constantine the Great, from whom the Popes pretend a donation of St Peter's patrimony, which they have been never able to produce.'
+ Ibid. The bishops of Rome enjoyed their privileges in Rome, at first by the favour of the emperors, whom at last they shut out of their own capital city, and then forged a donation from Constuntine the Great, the better to justify what they did. In imitation of this, Peter, having run something behind-hand in the world, obtained leave of a certain lord, &c. W. Wotton.
A DIGRESSION CONCERNING CRITICS*.
ALTHOUGH I have been hitherto as cautious as I could, upon all occasions, most nicely to follow the rules and methods of writing laid down by the example of our illustrious moderns; yet has the unhappy shortness of my memory led me into an error, from which I must extricate myself, before I can decently pursue my principal subject. I confess with shame, it was an unpardonable omission to proceed so far as I have already done, before I had performed the due discourses, expostulatory, supplicatory, or deprecatory, with my good lords the critics. Towards some atonement for this grievous neglect, I do here make humbly bold to present them
* The several digressions are written in ridicule of bad critics, dull commentators, and the whole fraternity of Grub-street philosophers. Orrery.