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could not hear him ; for I had several times given him the strappado on that account, as I did not fail to repeat it for these his pious soliloquies when I got him on shipboard.
“I must not omit the names of several beauties in Wapping, which were heard every now and then, in the midst of a long sigh that accompanied them; as, dear Kate! Pretty Mrs. Peggy! When shall I see my Sue again? This betrayed several amours which had been concealed till that time, and furnished us with a great deal of mirth in our return to England.
10 “ When this confusion of voices was pretty well over, though I was afraid to offer at speaking, as fearing I should not be heard, I proposed a visit to the Dutch cabin, which lay about a mile further up into the country. My crew were extremely rejoiced to find they had again recovered their hearing, though every man uttered his voice with the same apprehensions that I had done :
-Et timide verba intermissa retentat. " At about half a mile's distance from our cabin, we heard the groanings of a bear, which at first startled us ; but upon 20 inquiry we were informed by some of our company that he was dead, and now lay in salt, having been killed upon
that very spot about a fortnight before in the time of the frost. Not far from the same place we were likewise entertained with some posthumous snarls and barkings of a fox.
“We at length arrived at the little Dutch settlement, and upon entering the room, found it filled with sighs that smelt of brandy, and several other unsavoury sounds that were altogether inarticulate. My valet, who was an Irishman, fell into so great a rage at what he heard, that he drew his 30 sword; but not knowing where to lay the blame, he put it up again. We were stunned with these confused noises, but did not hear a single word till about half an hour after ; which I ascribed to the harsh and obdurate sounds of that language, which wanted more time than ours to melt and become audible.
“ After having here met with a very hearty welcome, we went to the French cabin, who, to make amends for their three weeks' silence, were talking and disputing with greater rapidity and confusion than ever I heard in an assembly even of that nation. Their language, as I found, upon the first giving of the weather, fell asunder and dissolved. I was here convinced of an error into which I had before fallen ; for I fancied, that for the freezing of the sound, it was necessary
for it to be wrapped up, and, as it were, preserved in breath ; 10 but I found my mistake, when I heard the sound of a kit
playing a minuet over our heads. I asked the occasion of it; upon which one of the company told me, that it would play there above a week longer if the thaw continued ; ‘For, (says he,) finding ourselves bereft of speech we prevailed upon one of the company, who had this musical instrument about him, to play to us from morning to night ; all which time we employed in dancing, in order to dissipate our chagrin, et tuer le temps.'”
Here Sir John gives very good philosophical reasons, why 20 the kit could be heard during the frost; but as they are
something prolix, I pass over them in silence, and shall only observe, that the honourable author seems, by his quotations, to have been well versed in the ancient poets, which perhaps raised his fancy above the ordinary pitch of historians, and very much contributed to the embellishment of his writings.
VI. THE SPECTATOR'S ACCOUNT OF HIMSELF.
And pours his specious miracles to sight.--FRANCIS. I HAVE observed, that a reader seldom peruses a book with pleasure, till he knows whether the writer of it be a black or a fair man, of a mild or choleric disposition, married or a bachelor, with other particulars of the like nature, that con- 10 duce very much to the right understanding of an author. To gratify this curiosity, which is so natural to a reader, I design this
and my next as prefatory discourses to my following writings, and shall give some account in them of the several persons that are engaged in this work. As the chief trouble of compiling, digesting, and correcting will fall to my share, I must do myself the justice to open the work with my own history.
I was born to a small hereditary estate, which, according to the tradition of the village where it lies, was bounded by 20 the same hedges and ditches in William the Conqueror's time that it is at present, and has been delivered down from father to son whole and entire, without the loss or acquisition of a single field or meadow, during the
of six hundred years. There runs a story in the family, that when my mother was gone with child of me about three months she dreamt that she was brought to bed of a judge : whether this might proceed froni a law-suit which was then depending in the family, or my father's being a justice of the peace, I cannot determine ; for I am not so vain as to think it presaged any dig- 30 nity that I should arrive at in my future life, though that was the interpretation which the neighbourhood put upon it.
The gravity of my behaviour at my very first appearance in the world, and all the time that I sucked, seemed to favour my mother's dream: for, as she has often told me, I threw away my rattle before I was two months old, and would not make use of my coral till they had taken away the bells from it.
As for the rest of my infancy, there being nothing in it remarkable, I shall pass it over in silence. I find, that during
my non-age, I had the reputation of a very sullen youth, but 10 was always a favourite of my school-master, who used to say,
that my parts were solid, and would wear well. I had not been long at the university, before I distinguished myself by a most profound silence; for during the space of eight years, excepting in the public exercises of the college, I scarce uttered the quantity of an hundred words; and indeed do not remember that I ever spoke three sentences together in my whole life. Whilst I was in this learned body, I applied myself with so much diligence to my studies, that there are
very few celebrated books, either in the learned or modern 20 tongues, which I am not acquainted with.
Upon the death of my father, I was resolved to travel into foreign countries, and therefore left the university with the character of an odd, unaccountable fellow, that had a great deal of learning, if I would but show it. An insatiable thirst after knowledge carried me into all the countries of Europe in which there was anything new or strange to be seen: nay, to such a degree was my curiosity raised, that having read the controversies of some great men concerning the antiqui
ties of Egypt, I made a voyage to Grand Cairo, on purpose to 30 take the measure of a pyramid ; and as soon as I had set
myself right in that particular, returned to my native country with great satisfaction.
I have passed my latter years in this city, where I am frequently seen in most public places, though there are not above half a dozen of my select friends that know me; of whom my next paper shall give a more particular account. There is no place of general resort, wherein I do not often make my appearance; sometimes I am seen thrusting my head into a round of politicians at Will's, and listening with great attention to the narratives that are made in those little circular audiences. Sometimes I smoke a pipe at Child's, and whilst I seem attentive to nothing but the Postman, overhear the conversation of every table in the room. I appear on Sunday nights at St. James's Coffee-house, and sometimes join the little committee of politics in the inner room, as one who comes there to hear and improve. My face 10 is likewise very well known at the Grecian, the Cocoa-Tree, and in the theatres both of Drury Lane and the Haymarket. I have been taken for a merchant upon the Exchange for above these ten years, and sometimes pass for a Jew in the assembly of stock-jobbers at Jonathan's: in short, wherever I see a cluster of people, I always mix with them, though I never open my lips but in my own club.
Thus I live in the world rather as a Spectator of mankind than as one of the species ; by which means I have made myself a speculative statesman, soldier, merchant, and artisan, 20 without ever meddling with any practical part in life. I am very well versed in the theory of a husband or a father, and can discern the errors in the economy, business, and diversion of others, better than those who are engaged in them; as standers-by discover plots, which are apt to escape those who are in the game. I never espoused any part with violence, and am resolved to observe an exact neutrality between the Whigs and Tories, unless I shall be forced to declare myself by the hostilities of either side. In short I have acted in all the parts of my life as a looker-on, which is 30 the character I intend to preserve in this paper.
I have given the reader just so much of my history and character, as to let him see I am not altogether unqualified for the business I have undertaken. As for other particulars in my life and adventures, I shall insert them in following papers, as I shall see occasion. In the mean time, when I