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life so nearly resembling a slice from a twelve-penny loaf. Look ye, gentlemen, cries Peter in a rage, to convince you what a couple of blind, positive, ignorant, wilful puppies you are, I will use but this plain argument; by G-, it is true, good, natural mutton as any in Leadenhall market; and Gconfound you both eternally, if you offer to believe otherwise. Such a thundering proof as this left no farther room for objection; the two unbelievers began to gather and pocket up their mistake as hastily as they could. Why, truly, said the first, upon more mature consideration-Ay, says the other, interrupting him, now I have thought better on the thing, your lordship seems to have a great deal of reason. Very well, said Peter; here, boy, fill me a beer-glass of claret; here's to you both, with all my heart. The two brethren, much delighted to see him so readily appeased, returned their most humble thanks, and said they would be glad to pledge his lordship. That you shall, said Peter; I am not a person to refuse you anything that is reasonable : wine, moderately taken, is a cordial; here is a glass a-piece for you; it is true natural juice from the grape, none of your damned vintner's brewings. Having spoke thus, he presented to each of them another large dry crust, bidding them drink it off, and not be bashful, for it would do them no hurt. The two brothers, after having performed the usual office in such delicate conjunctures, of staring a sufficient period at Lord Peter and each other, and finding how matters were likely to go, resolved not to enter on a new dispute, but let him carry the point as he pleased: for he was now got into one of his mad fits, and to argue or expostulate farther, would only serve to render him a hundred times more untractable.
I have chosen to relate this worthy matter in all
its circumstances, because it gave a principal occasion to that great and famous rupture, which happened about the same time among these brethren, and was never afterwards made up. But of that I shall treat at large in another section.
However, it is certain, that Lord Peter, even in his lucid intervals, was very lewdly given in his common conversation, extreme wilful and positive, and would at any time rather argue to the death, than allow himself once to be in an error. Besides, he had an abominable faculty of telling huge palpable lies upon all occasions; and not only swearing to the truth, but cursing the whole company to hell, if they pretended to make the least scruple of believing him. One time he swore he had a cow † at t home, which gave as much milk at a meal, as would fill three thousand churches; and what was yet more extraordinary, would never turn sour. Another time he was telling of an old sign-post, that belonged to his father, with nails and timber enough in it to build sixteen large men-of-war. Talking one day of Chinese waggons, which were made so light as to sail over mountains, Z- -ds, said Peter, where's the wonder of that? by G-, I saw a large house of lime and stone § travel over sea
* i.e., The Reformation.-BENTLEY.
†The ridiculous multiplying of the Virgin Mary's milk, among the papists, under the allegory of a cow which gave as much milk at a meal as would fill three thousand churches.-W. WOTTON.
Ibid. This page alludes to the positiveness and impostures of the Romish church.
By the sign-post is meant the cross of our Blessed Saviour; and if all the wood that is shewn for parts of it, was collected, the quantity would sufficiently justify this sarcasm.
§ The chapel of Loretto. He falls here only upon the ridiculous inventions of popery: the church of Rome intended by these things to gull silly, superstitious people, and rook them of their money; the world had been too long in slavery, our ances
and land, (granting that it stopped sometimes to bait,) above two thousand German leagues. And that which was the good of it, he would swear desperately all the while, that he never told a lie in his life; and at every word; by G-, gentlemen, I tell you nothing but the truth: and the D-1 broil them eternally, that will not believe me.
In short, Peter grew so scandalous, that all the neighbourhood began in plain words to say, he was no better than a knave. And his two brothers, long weary of his ill usage, resolved at last to leave him; but first, they humbly desired a copy of their father's will, which had now lain by neglected time out of mind. Instead of granting this request, he called them damned sons of whores, rogues, traitors, and the rest of the vile names he could muster up. However, while he was abroad one day upon his projects, the two youngsters watched their opportunity, made a shift to come at the will,* and took a copia vera, by which they presently saw how grossly they had been abused; their father having left them equal heirs, and strictly commanded, that whatever they got, should lie in common among them all. Pursuant to which, their next enterprise was, to break open the cellar-door, and get a little good drink,t to spirit and comfort their hearts. In copying the will, they had met another precept against whoring, divorce, and separate maintenance; upon which their next work was to discard their
tors gloriously redeemed us from that yoke. The church of Rome therefore ought to be exposed, and he deserves well of mankind that does expose it.-W. WOTTON.
Ibid. The chapel of Loretto, which travelled from the Holy Land to Italy.-H.
*Translated the scriptures into the vulgar tongues.-H. † Administered the cup to the laity at the communion.-H. Allowed the marriages of priests.-H.
concubines, and send for their wives. While all this was in agitation, there enters a solicitor from Newgate, desiring Lord Peter would please procure a pardon for a thief that was to be hanged to-morrow. But the two brothers told him, he was a coxcomb to seek pardons from a fellow who deserved to be hanged much better than his client; and discovered all the method of that imposture, in the same form I delivered it a while ago, advising the solicitor to put his friend upon obtaining a pardon from the king. In the midst of all this clutter and revolution, in comes Peter with a file of dragoons at his heels, and gathering from all hands what was in the wind, he and his gang, after several millions of scurrilities and curses, not very important here to repeat, by main force very fairly kicked them both out of doors,§ and would never let them come under his roof from that day to this.
A DIGRESSION IN THE MODERN KIND.
WE, whom the world is pleased to honour with the title of modern authors, should never have been able
*The beginning of the Reformation.—BENTLEY.
† Directed penitents not to trust to pardons and absolutions procured for money, but sent them to implore the mercy of God, from whence alone remission is to be obtained.-H.
By Peter's dragoons is meant the civil power, which those princes who were bigotted to the Romish superstition, employed against the reformers-H.
§ The Pope shuts all who dissent from him out of the church.-H. Ibid. Excommunicates all the Protestants.-BENTLEY.
to compass our great design of an everlasting remembrance, and never-dying fame, if our endeavours had not been so highly serviceable to the general good of mankind. This, O universe! is the adventurous attempt of me thy secretary;
Quemvis perferre laborem
Suadet, et inducit noctes vigilare serenas.
To this end, I have some time since, with a world of pains and art, dissected the carcase of human nature, and read many useful lectures upon the several parts, both containing and contained; till at last it smelt so strong, I could preserve it no longer. Upon which, I have been at a great expense to fit up all the bones with exact contexture, and in due symmetry; so that I am ready to shew a complete anatomy thereof, to all curious gentlemen and others. But not to digress farther in the midst of a digression, as I have known some authors enclose digressions in one another, like a nest of boxes; I do affirm, that having carefully cut up human nature, I have found a very strange, new, and important discovery, that the public good of mankind is performed by two ways, instruction and diversion. And I have farther proved, in my said several readings, (which perhaps the world may one day see, if I can prevail on any friend to steal a copy, or on certain gentlemen of my admirers to be very importunate,) that as mankind is now disposed, he receives much greater advantage by being diverted than instructed; his epidemical diseases being fastidiosity, amorphy, and oscitation; whereas, in the present universal empire of wit and learning, there seems but little matter left for instruction. However, in compliance with a lesson of great age and authority, I have attempted carrying the point in all its heights; and,