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fully satisfied, and I never offered to go in, though often invited by the urging and attending orator, with his last moving and standing piece of rhetoric: Sir, upon my word, we are just going to begin. Such is exactly the fate, at this time of prefaces, epistles, advertisements, introductions, prolegomenas, apparatuses, to the readers. This expedient was admirable at first; our great Dryden has long carried it as far as it would go, and with incredible success. He has often said to me in confidence, that the world would have never suspected him to be so great a poet, if he had not assured them so frequently in his prefaces, that it was impossible they could either doubt or forget it. Perhaps it may be so; however, I much fear, his instructions have edified out of their place, and taught men to grow wiser in certain points, where he never intended they should; for it is lamentable to behold, with what a lazy scorn many of the yawning readers of our age, do now-a-days twirl over forty or fifty pages of preface and dedication, (which is the usual modern stint,) as if it were so much Latin. Though it must be also allowed on. the other hand, that a very considerable number is known to proceed critics and wits, by reading nothing else. Into which two factions, I think, all present readers may justly be divided. Now, for myself, I profess to be of the former sort; and therefore, having the modern inclination, to expatiate upon the beauty of my own productions, and display the bright parts of my discourse, I thought best to do it in the body of the work; where, as it now lies, it makes a very considerable addition to the bulk of the volume; a circumstance by no means to be neglected by a skilful writer.
Having thus paid my due deference and acknow
*To the Reader's.-Ed. 1.
ledgment to an established custom of our newest authors, by a long digression unsought for, and a universal censure unprovoked; by forcing into the light, with much pains and dexterity, my own excellencies, and other men's defaults, with great justice to myself, and candour to them, I now happily resume my subject, to the infinite satisfaction both of the reader and the author.
A TALE OF A TUB.
WE left Lord Peter in open rupture with his two brethren; both for ever discarded from his house, and resigned to the wide world, with little or nothing to trust to. Which are circumstances that render them proper subjects for the charity of a writer's pen to work on; scenes of misery ever affording the fairest harvest for great adventures. And in this, the world may perceive the difference between the integrity of a generous author and that of a common friend. The latter is observed to adhere close in prosperity, but on the decline of fortune, to drop
uddenly off. Whereas the generous author, just on the contrary, finds his hero on the dunghill, from thence by gradual steps raises him to a throne, and then immediately withdraws, expecting not so much as thanks for his pains; in imitation of which example, I have placed Lord Peter in a noble house, given him a title to wear, and money to spend. There I shall leave him for some time; returning where common charity directs me, to the assistance
of his two brothers, at their lowest ebb. However, I shall by no means forget my character of an historian to follow the truth step by step, whatever happens, or wherever it may lead me.
The two exiles, so nearly united in fortune and interest, took a lodging together;* where, at their first leisure, they began to reflect on the numberless misfortunes and vexations of their life past, and could not tell on the sudden, to what failure in their conduct they ought to impute them; when, after some recollection, they called to mind the copy of their father's will, which they had so happily recovered. This was immediately produced, and a firm resolution taken between them, to alter whatever was already amiss, and reduce all their future measures to the strictest obedience prescribed therein. The main body of the will (as the reader cannot easily have forgot) consisted in certain admirable rules about the wearing of their coats; in the perusal whereof, the two brothers, at every period, duly comparing the doctrine with the practice, there was never seen a wider difference between two things; horrible downright transgressions of every point. Upon which they both resolved, without farther delay, to fall immediately upon reducing the whole, exactly after their father's model.
But, here it is good to stop the hasty reader, ever impatient to see the end of an adventure, before we writers can duly prepare him for it. I am to record, that these two brothers began to be distinguished at this time by certain names. One of them desired to be called MARTIN, and the other took the appellation of JACK. These two had lived in much friendship and agreement, under the tyranny
* The reformers agreed one with another at first.—BENTLEY. † Martin Luther. John Calvin.
of their brother Peter, as it is the talent of fellowsufferers to do; men in misfortune, being like men in the dark, to whom all colours are the same: but when they came forward into the world, and began to display themselves to each other, and to the light, their complexions appeared extremely different; which the present posture of their affairs gave them sudden opportunity to discover.
But, here the severe reader may justly tax me as a writer of short memory, a deficiency to which a true modern cannot but, of necessity, be a little subject. Because, memory being an employment of the mind upon things past, is a faculty for which the learned in our illustrious age have no manner of occasion, who deal entirely with invention, and strike all things out of themselves, or at least by collision from each other; upon which account, we think it highly reasonable to produce our great forgetfulness, as an argument unanswerable for our great wit. I ought in method to have informed the reader, about fifty pages ago, of a fancy Lord Peter took, and infused into his brothers, to wear on their coats whatever trimmings came up in fashion;* never pulling off any, as they went out of the mode, but keeping on all together, which amounted in time to a medley the most antic you can possibly conceive; and this to a degree, that upon the time of their falling out, there was hardly a thread of the original coat to be seen but an infinite quantity of lace and ribbons, and fringe, and embroidery, and points; I mean only those tagged with silver, for the rest fell off.
The Romish,ceremonies multiplied so fast, that there was little of religion left besides the form.-BENTLEY.
† Points tagged with silver are those doctrines that promote the greatness and wealth of the church, which have been therefore woven deepest into the body of popery.-H.
Now this material circumstance having been forgot in due place, as good fortune has ordered, comes in very properly here, when the two brothers were just going to reform their vestures into the primitive state, prescribed by their father's will.
They both unanimously entered upon this great work, looking sometimes on their coats, and sometimes on the will. Martin laid the first hand; at one twitch brought off a large handful of points; and, with a second pull, stripped away ten dozen yards of fringe. But when he had gone thus far, he demurred a while: he knew very well there yet remained a great deal more to be done; however, the first heat being over, his violence began to cool, and he resolved to proceed more moderately in the rest of the work; having already narrowly escaped a swinging rent, in pulling off the points, which, being tagged with silver (as we have observed before) the judicious workman had, with much sagacity, double sewn, to preserve them from fallingt. Resolving therefore to rid his coat of a great quantity of goldlace, he picked up the stitches with much caution, and diligently gleaned out all the loose threads as he went, which proved to be a work of time. Then he fell about the embroidered Indian figures of men, women, and children; against which, as you have heard in its due place, their father's testament was extremely exact and severe : these, with much dexterity and application, were, after a while, quite eradicated, or utterly defaced. For the rest, where he observed the embroidery to be worked so close,
*Alluding to the commencement of the Reformation in England, by seizing on the abbey lands.
The dissolution of the monasteries occasioned several insurrections, and much convulsion, during the reign of Edward VI. The abolition of the worship of saints was the second grand step in English reformation.