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“I thus rambled from pocket to pocket till the beginning of the civil wars, when, to my shame be it spoken, I was employed in raising soldiers against the king : for being of a very tempting breadth, a sergeant made use of me to inveigle country fellows, and list them in the service of the parliament.
“As soon as he had made one man sure, his way was to oblige him to take a shilling of a more homely figure, and
then practise the same trick upon another. Thus I con10 tinued doing great mischief to the crown, till my officer,
chancing one morning to walk abroad earlier than ordinary, sacrificed me to his pleasures, and made use of me to bestow me on a milk-maid. This wench bent me, and gave me to her sweetheart, applying more properly than she intended the usual form of, ‘To my love and from my love.' This ungenerous gallant marrying her within a few days after, pawned me for a dram of brandy, and drinking me out nexí day, I was beaten flat with a hammer, and again set a
running 20 “ After many adventures, which it would be tedious to re
late, I was sent to a young spendthrift, in company with the will of his deceased father. The young fellow, who I found was very extravagant, gave great demonstrations of joy at the receiving of the will: but opening it, he found himself disinherited and cut off from the possession of a fair estate, by virtue of my being made a present to him. This put him into such a passion, that after having taken me in his hand, and cursed me, he squirred me away from him as far as he
could fling me. I chanced to light in an unfrequented place 30 under a dead wall, where I lay undiscovered and useless, during the usurpation of Oliver Cromwell.
“About a year after the king's return, a poor cavalier that was walking there about dinner-time, fortunately cast his eye upon me, and, to the great joy of us both, carried me to a cook's shop, where he dined upon me, and drank the king's health. When I came again into the world, I found that I
had been happier in my retirement than I thought, having probably, by that means, escaped wearing a monstrous pair of breeches.
Being now of great credit and antiquity, I was rather looked upon as a medal than an ordinary coin ; for which reason a gamester laid hold of me, and converted me to a counter, having got together some dozens of us for that use. We led a melancholy life in his possession, being busy at those hours wherein current coin is at rest, and partaking the fate of our master, being in a few moments valued at a 10 crown, a pound, or a sixpence, according to the situation in which the fortune of the cards placed us. I had at length the good luck to see my master break, by which means I was again sent abroad under my primitive denomination of a shilling
“I shall pass over many other accidents of less moment, and hasten to that fatal catastrophe, when I fell into the hands of an artist, who conveyed me under ground, and with an unmerciful pair of shears, cut off my titles, clipped my brims, retrenched my shape, rubbed me to my inmost ring, 20 and, in short, so spoiled and pillaged me, that he did not leave me worth a groat. You may think what a confusion I was in, to see myself thus curtailed and disfigured. I should have been ashamed to have shown my head, had not all my old acquaintance been reduced to the same shameful figure, excepting some few that were punched through the belly. In the midst of this general calamity, when everybody thought our misfortune irretrievable, and our case desperate, we were thrown into the furnace together, and (as it often happens with cities rising out of a fire) appeared 30 with greater beauty and lustre than we could ever boast of before. What has happened to me since this change of sex which you now see, I shall take some other opportunity to relate. In the mean time, I shall only repeat two adventures, as being very extraordinary, and neither of them having ever happened to me above once in my life. The first
was, my being in a poet's pocket, who was so taken with the brightness and novelty of my appearance, that it gave occasion to the finest burlesque poem in the British language, entitled from me, 'The Splendid Shilling. The second adventure, which I must not omit, happened to me in the year 1703, when I was given away in charity to a blind man; but indeed this was by a mistake, the person who gave me having heedlessly thrown me into the hat among a pennyworth of farthings."
From my own Apartment, November 22. THERE are no books which I more delight in than in travels, especially those that describe remote countries, and give the writer an opportunity of showing his parts without incurring any danger of being examined or contradicted. Among all the authors of this kind, our renowned countryman Sir John Mandeville has distinguished himself by the copiousness of his invention and greatness of his genius. The
second to Sir John I take to have been Ferdinand Mendez 20 Pinto, a person of infinite adventure and unbounded imagi
nation. One reads the voyages of these two great wits with as much astonishment as the travels of Ulysses in Homer, or of the Red-Cross Knight in Spencer. All is enchanted ground and fairy land.
I have got into my hands, by great chance, several manuscripts of these two eminent authors, which are filled with greater wonders than any of those they have communicated to the public; and indeed, were they not so well attested, would appear altogether improbable. I am apt to think, the ingenious authors did not publish them with the rest of their works, lest they should pass for fictions and fables : a caution not unnecessary, when the reputation of their veracity was not yet established in the world. But as this reason has now no further weight, I shall make the public a present of these curious pieces at such times as I shall find myself unprovided with other subjects.
The present paper I intend to fill with an extract of Sir John's journal, in which that learned and worthy knight gives an account of the freezing and thawing of several short 10 speeches which he made in the territories of Nova Zembla. I need not inform my reader, that the author of Hudibras alludes to this strange quality in that cold climate, when, speaking of abstracted notions clothed in a visible shape, he adds that apt simile,
Like words congealed in northern air.
Not to keep my reader any longer in suspense, the relation put into modern language is as follows :
“We were separated by a storm in the latitude of 73, insomuch that only the ship which I was in, with a Dutch and 20 a French vessel, got safe into a creek of Nova Zembla. We landed, in order to refit our vessels, and store ourselves with provisions. The crew of each vessel made themselves a cabin of turf and wood, at some distance from each other, to fence themselves against the inclemencies of the weather, which was severe beyond imagination. We soon observed, that in talking to one another we lost several of our words, and could not hear one another at above two yards' distance, and that too when we sat very near the fire. After much perplexity, I found that our words froze in the air before they 30 could reach the ears of the person to whom they were spoken. I was soon confirmed in this conjecture, when, upon the increase of the cold, the whole company grew dumb, or rather deaf; for every man was sensible, as we afterwards found, that he spoke as well as ever ; but the sounds no
sooner took air, than they were condensed and lost. It was now a miserable spectacle to see us nodding and gaping at one another, every man talking, and no man heard. One might observe a seaman, that could hail a ship at a league distance, beckoning with his hands, straining his lungs, and tearing his throat, but all in vain.
-Nec vox, nec verba, sequuntur.
“We continued here three weeks in this dismal plight. At length, upon a turn of wind, the air about us began to 10 thaw. Our cabin was immediately filled with a dry clatter
ing sound, which I afterwards found to be the crackling of consonants that broke above our heads, and were often mixed with a gentle hissing, which I imputed to the letter S, that occurs so frequently in the English tongue. I soon after felt a breeze of whispers rushing by my ear; for those being of a soft and gentle substance, immediately liquefied in the warm wind that blew across our cabin. These were soon followed by syllables and short words, and at length by
entire sentences, that melted sooner or later, as they were 20 more or less congealed; so that we now heard everything
that had been spoken during the whole three weeks that we had been silent, if I may use that expression. It was now very early in the morning, and yet, to my surprise, I heard somebody say, “Sir John, it is midnight, and time for the ship’s crew to go to bed. This I knew to be the pilot's voice, and upon recollecting myself, I concluded that he had spoken these words to me some days before, though I could not hear them before the present thaw. My reader will
easily imagine how the whole crew was amazed to hear every 30 man talking, and see no man opening his mouth. In the
midst of this great surprise we were all in, we heard a volley of oaths and curses, lasting for a long while, and uttered in a very hoarse voice, which I knew belonged to the boatswain, who was a very choleric fellow, and had taken his opportunity of cursing and swearing at me when he thought I