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The fair understanding between Sir Roger and his chaplain, and their mutual concurrence in doing good, is the more remarkable, because the very next village is famous for the differences and contentions that rise between the parson and the squire, who live in a perpetual state of war. The parson is always preaching at the squire, and the squire, to be revenged on the parson, never comes to church. The squire has made all his tenants atheists and tithe-stealers ; while the parson instructs them every Sunday in the dignity of his order, and insinuates to them, in almost every sermon, that he is a better man than his patron. In short, matters are come to such an extremity, that the squire has not said his prayers either in public or private this half-year; and that the parson threatens him, if he does not mend his man
for him in the face of the whole congregation. Feuds of this nature, though too frequent in the country, are very fatal to the ordinary people; who are so used to be dazzled with riches, that they pay as much deference to the understanding of man of an estate, as of a man of learning; and are very hardly brought to regard any truth, how important soever it may be, that is preached to them, when they know there are several men of five hundred a-year who do not believe it.
SIR ROGER AND THE GIPSIES.
S I was yesterday riding out in the fields with my friend
Sir Roger, we saw at a little distance from us a troop of gipsies. Upon the first discovery of them, my friend was in some doubt whether he should not exert the justice of the peace upon such a band of lawless vagrants, but not having his clerk with him, who is a necessary counsellor on these oc
“ If a
casions, and fearing that his poultry might fare the worse for it, he let the thought drop; but, at the same time, gave me a particular account of the mischief they do in the country, in stealing people's goods and spoiling their servants. stray piece of linen hangs on the hedge," says Sir Roger, “ they are sure to have it; if the hog loses his way in the field, it is ten to one but he becomes their prey; our geese cannot live in peace for them; if a man prosecutes them with severity, his hen-roost is sure to pay for it: they generally straggle into these parts about this time of the year ;
and set the heads of our servant-maids so agog for husbands, that we do not expect to have any business done as it should be whilst they are in the country. I have an honest dairy-maid who crosses their hands with a piece of silver every summer, and never fails being promised the handsomest young fellow in the parish for her pains. Your friend the butler has been fool enough to be seduced by them, and although he is sure to lose a knife, a fork, or a spoon every time his fortune is told him, generally shuts himself up in the pantry with an old gipsy for about half an hour once in a twelvemonth. Sweethearts are the things they live upon, which they bestow very plentifully upon all those that apply themselves to them. You see now and then some handsome jades am
amongst them; the sluts have very often white teeth and black eyes."
Sir Roger observing that I listened with great attention to his account of a people who were so entirely new to me, told
me, that if I would, they should tell us our fortunes. As I was very well pleased with the knight's proposal, we rid up and communicated our hands to them. A Cassandra of the crew, after having examined my lines very diligently, told me, that I loved a pretty maid in a corner, that I was a good woman's man, with some other particulars, which I do not think proper to relate. My friend Sir Roger alight
ed from his horse, and exposed his palm to two or three that stood by him; they crumpled it into all shapes, and diligently scanned every wrinkle that could be made in it; when one of them, who was older and more sun-burnt than the rest, told him, that he had a widow in his line of life : upon which the knight cried, “Go, go, you are an idle baggage;" and at the same time smiled upon me.
The gipsy, finding he was not displeased in his heart, told him, after a farther inquiry into his hand, that his true-love was constant, and that she should dream of him to-night; my old friend cried pish, and bid her go on. The gipsy told him that he was a bachelor, but would not be so long; and that he was dearer to somebody than he thought : the knight still repeated “she was an idle baggage," and bid her go on. “Ah, master,” says the gipsy, “ that roguish leer of yours makes a pretty woman's heart ache; you han't that simper about the mouth for nothing." The uncouth gibberish with which all this was uttered, like the darkness of an oracle, made us more attentive to it. To be short, the knight left the money
with her that he had crossed her hand with, and got up again on his horse.
As we were riding away, Sir Roger told me, that he knew several sensible people who believed these gipsies now and then foretold very strange things; and for half an hour together appeared more jocund than ordinary. In the height of his good-humor, meeting a common beggar on the road who was no conjurer, as he went to relieve him he found his pocket was picked; that being a kind of Palmistry at which this race of vermin are very dexterous.
I might here entertain my reader with historical remarks on this idle profligate people, who infest all the countries of Europe, and live in the midst of governments in a kind of Commonwealth by themselves. But instead of entering into observations of this nature, I shall fill the remaining part of my paper with a story which is still fresh in Holland, and was printed in one of our monthly accounts, about twenty years ago. “As the Trekschuyt or Hackney-boat which carries passengers from Leyden to Amsterdam, was putting off, a boy running along the side of the canal desired to be taken in, which the master refused, because the lad had not quite money enough to pay his fare. An eminent merchant, being pleased with the looks of the boy, and secretly touched with compassion towards him, paid the money for him, and ordered him to be taken on board. Upon talking with him afterwards, he found that he could speak readily in three or four languages, and learned upon further examination that he had been stolen away when he was a child by a gipsy, and had rambled ever since with a gang of those strollers up and down several parts of Europe. It happened that the merchant, whose heart seems to have inclined towards the boy by a secret kind of instinct, had himself lost a child some years before. The parents, after a long search for him, gave him for drowned in one of the canals with which that country abounds; and the mother was so afflicted at the loss of a fine boy, who was her only son, that she died for grief of it. Upon laying together all particulars, and examining the several moles and marks by which the mother used to describe the child when he was first missing, the boy proved to be the son of the merchant whose heart had so unaccountably melted at the sight of him. The lad was very well pleased to find a father who was so rich, and likely to leave him a good estate; the father, on the other hand, was not a little delighted to see a son return to him, whom he had given for lost, with such a strength of constitution, sharpness of understanding, and skill in languages." Here the printed story leaves off; but if I may give credit to reports, our linguist, having received such extraordinary rudiments towards a good education, was afterwards trained up in everything that becomes a gentleman ; wearing off, by little and little, all the vicious habits and practices that he had been used to in the course of his peregrinations : nay, it is said, that he has since been employed in foreign courts upon national business, with great reputation to himself and honor to those who sent him, and that he has visited several countries as a public minister, in which he formerly wandered as a gipsy.
SIR ROGER'S VISIT TO THE TOMBS IN
My friend Sir Roger de Coverley told me t'other night,
that he had been reading my paper upon Westminster Abbey, in which, says he, there are a great many ingenious fancies. He told me, at the same time, that he observed I had promised another paper upon the tombs, and that he should be glad to go and see them with me, not having visited them since he had read history. I could not imagine how this came into the knight's head, till I recollected he had been very busy all last summer upon Baker's Chronicle, which he has quoted several times in his disputes with Sir Andrew Freeport, since his last coming to town. Accordingly, I promised to call upon him the next morning, that we might go together to the abbey.
I found the knight under his butler's hands, who always shaves him. He was no sooner dressed, than he called for a glass of the Widow Truby's Water, which he told me he always
drank before he went abroad. He recommended me to à dram of it at the same time, with so much heartiness, that I could not forbear drinking it. As soon as I had got it