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the person whom he diverts himself with ; on the contrary, if he coughs, or betrays any infirmity of old age, it is easy for a standerby to observe a secret concern in the looks of all his servants.
My worthy friend has put me under the particular care of his butler, who is a very prudent man, and, as well as the rest of his fellow-servants, wonderfully desirous of pleasing me, because they have often heard their master talk of me as of his particular friend.
My chief companion, when Sir Roger is diverting himself in the woods or the fields, is a very venerable man, who is ever with Sir Roger, and has lived at his house in the nature of a chaplain above thirty years. This gentleman is a person of good sense and some learning, of a very regular life and obliging conversation. He heartily loves Sir Roger, and knows that he is very much in the old knight's esteem, so that he lives in the family rather as a relation than a dependent.
I have observed in several of my papers, that my friend Sir Roger, amidst all his good qualities, is something of a humourist ; and that his virtues, as well as his imperfections, are as it were tinged by a certain extravagance, which makes them particularly his, and distinguishes them from those of other men. This cast of mind, as it is generally very innocent in itself, so it renders his conversation highly agreeable, and more delightful than the same degree of sense and virtue would appear in their common and ordinary colours. As I was walking with him last night, he asked me how I liked the good man, whom I have just now mentioned ? and without staying for my answer, told me that he was afraid of being insulted with Latin and Greek at his own table ; for which reason he desired a particular friend of his at the university to find him out a clergyman rather of plain sense than much learning, of a good aspect, a clear voice, a sociable temper, and, if possible, a man that understood a little of backgammon. “My friend,” says Sir Roger, “found me out this gentleman, who, besides the endowments required of him, is, they tell me, a good scholar, though he does not show it. I have given him the parsonage of the parish ; and because I know his value, have settled upon him a good annuity for life. If he outlives me, he shall find he was higher in my esteem than perhaps he thinks he is. He has now been with me thirty years; and though he does not know I have taken notice of it, has never in all that time asked any
thing of me for himself ; though he has every day solicited me for something in behalf of one or other of my tenants his parishioners. There has not been a lawsuit in the parish since he has lived among them ; if any dispute arises, they apply themselves to him for his decision ; if they do not acquiesce in his judgment, which I think never happened above once or twice at most, they appeal to me. At his first settling with me, I made him a present of all the good sermons which have been printed in English, and only begged of him, that every Sunday he would pronounce one of them in the pulpit. Accordingly he has digested them into such a series, that they follow one another naturally, and make a continued system of practical divinity.”
As Sir Roger was going on with his story, the gentleman we were talking of came up to us ; and upon the knight's asking him who preached to-morrow (for it was Saturday night) told us, the Bishop of St. Asaph in the morning, and Dr. South in the afternoon. He then showed us his list of preachers for the whole year, where I saw with a great deal of pleasure Archbishop Tillotson, Bishop Saunderson, Dr. Barrow, Dr. Calamy, with several living authors, who have published discourses of practical divinity. I no sooner saw this venerable man in the pulpit, but I very much approved of my friend's insisting upon the qualifications of a good aspect and a clear voice ; for I was so charmed with the gracefulness of his figure and delivery, as well as with the discourses he pronounced, that I think I never passed any time more to my satisfaction. A sermon repeated after this manner is like the composition of a poet in the mouth of a graceful actor.
I could heartily wish that more of our country clergy would follow this example, and instead of wasting their spirits in laborious compositions of their own, would endeavour after a handsome elocution, and all those other talents that are proper to enforce what has been penned by greater masters. This would not only be more easy to themselves, but more edifying to the people.
At a little distance from Sir Roger's house, among the ruins of an old abbey, there is a long walk of aged elms, which are shot up so very high, that when one passes under them, the rooks and crows that rest upon the top of them seem to be cawing in another region. I am very much delighted with this sort of noise, which I consider as a kind of natural prayer to that Being who supplies the wants of the whole creation, and who, in the beautiful language of the psalms, feedeth the young ravens that call upon Him. I like this retirement the better, because of an ill report it lies under of being haunted ; for which reason (as I have been told in the family) no living creature ever walks in it besides the chaplain. I was taking a walk in this place last night between the hours of nine and ten, and could not but fancy it one of the most proper scenes in the world for a ghost to appear in. The ruins of the abbey are scattered up and down on every side, and half covered with ivy, elder bushes, and the harbours of several solitary birds, which seldom make their appearance till the dusk of the evening. The place was formerly a churchyard, and has still several marks in it of graves and burying-places. There is such an echo among the old ruins and vaults, that if you stamp but a little louder than ordinary, you hear the sound repeated. At the same time, the walks of elms, with the croaking of the ravens, which from time to time are heard from the tops of them, look exceedingly solemn and venerable. These objects naturally raise seriousness and attention; and when night heightens the awfulness of the place, and pours out her supernumerary horrors upon everything in it, I do not at all wonder that weak minds fill it with spectres and apparitions.
My friend Sir Roger has often told me, with a great deal of mirth, that at his first coming to his estate, he found three parts of his house altogether useless ; that the best room in it had the reputation of being haunted, and by that means was locked up; that noises had been heard in the long gallery, so that he could not get a servant to enter it after eight o'clock at night ; that the door of one of his chambers was nailed up, because there went a story in the family that a butler had formerly hanged himself in it; and that his mother, who lived to a great age, had shut up half the rooms in the house, in which either her husband, a son, or daughter had died. The knight seeing his habitation reduced to so small a compass, and himself in a manner shut out of his own house, upon the death of his mother ordered all the apartments to be flung open, and exorcised by his chaplain, who lay in every room one after another, and by that means dissipated the fears which had so long reigned in the family.
I should not have been thus particular upon these ridiculous horrors, did not I find them so very much prevail in all parts of the country. Upon my return home, I fell into a profound con
templation on the evils that attend the superstitious follies of mankind; how they subject us to imaginary afflictions and additional troubles that do not properly come within our lot. As if the natural calamities of life were not sufficient for it, we turn the most indifferent circumstances into misfortunes, and suffer as much from trifling accidents as from real evils. I have known a screechowl at midnight alarm a family more than a band of robbers ; nay, the voice of a cricket hath sometimes struck more terror than the roaring of a lion. There is nothing so inconsiderable that may not appear dreadful to an imagination that is filled with omens and prognostics. A rusty nail, or a crooked pin, shoot up into prodigies.
I know a maiden aunt of a great family, who is one of those antiquated sybils that forbode and prophesy from one end of the year to the other. She is always seeing apparitions and hearing death-watches ; and was the other day almost frightened out of her wits by the great house-dog, that howled in the stable at a time when she lay ill of the tooth-ache. Such an extravagant cast of mind engages multitudes of people, not only in impertinent terrors, but in supernumerary duties of life, and arises from that fear and ignorance which are natural to the soul of man.
I know but one way of fortifying my soul against these gloomy terrors, and that is, by securing to myself the friendship and protection of that Being who disposes of events and governs futurity. When I lay me down to sleep, I recommend myself to his care ; when I awake, I give myself up to his direction. Amidst all the evils that threaten me, I will look up to him for help, and question not but He will either avert them, or turn them to my advantage. Though I know neither the time nor the manner of the death I am to die, I am not at all solicitous about it; because I am sure that He knows them both, and that He will not fail to comfort and support me under them.
CRUSOE'S CONTRIVANCES TO PROCURE BREAD.
DANIEL DEFOE, 1661–1731. I was now, in the months of November and December, expecting my crop of barley and rice. The ground I had manured or dug up for them was not great : for my seed of each was not above the quantity of half a peck, as I had lost one whole crop by sowing in the dry season ; but now my crop promised very well, when on a sudden I found I was in danger of losing it all again by enemies of several sorts, which it was scarce possible to keep from it; as first, the goats, and wild creatures which I called hares, which, tasting the sweetness of the blade, lay in it night and day, as soon as it caine up, and ate it so close that it could get no time to shoot up into stalks.
This I saw no remedy for, but by making an enclosure about it with a hedge, which I did with a great deal of toil ; and the more, because it required a great deal of speed, the creatures daily spoiling my corn. However, as my arable land was but small, suited to my crop, I got it totally well fenced in about three weeks' time, and shooting some of the creatures in the daytime, I set my dog to guard it in the night, tying him up to a stake at the gate, where he would stand and bark all night long ; so in a little time the enemies forsook the place, and the corn grew very strong and well, and began to ripen apace.
But as the beasts ruined me before, while the corn was in the blade, so the birds were as likely to ruin me now, when it was in the ear; for, going along by the place to see how it throve, I saw my little crop surrounded with fowls of I know not how many sorts, which stood, as it were, watching till I should be gone. I immediately let fly among them, (for I always had my gun with me). I had no sooner shot, but there arose up a little cloud of fowls, which I had not seen at all, from among the corn itself.
This touched me sensibly; for I foresaw that, in a few days, they would devour all my hopes : that I should be starved, and never be able to raise a crop at all—and what to do I could not tell ; however, I resolved not to lose my corn, if possible, though I should watch it night and day. In the first place, I went among it to see what damage was already done, and found they had spoiled a good deal of it ; but that, as it was yet too green for