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I have taken a resolution hereafter, on any want of intelligence, to carry my familiar abroad with me, who has promised to give me very proper and just notices of persons and things, to make up the history of the passing day. He is wonderfully skilful in the knowledge of men and manners, which has made me more than ordinary curious to know how he came to that perfection, and I communicated to him that doubt.
« Mr. Pacolet,” said I, “I am mightily surprised to see you so good a judge of our nature and circumstances, since you are a mere spirit, and have no knowledge of the bodily part of us.”
He answered, smiling, "you are mistaken ; I have been one of you, and lived a month amongst you, which gives me an exact sense of your condition. You are to know, that all who enter into human life, have a certain date or stamen given to their being, which they only who die of age may be said to have arrived at; but it is ordered sometimes by fate, that such as die infants, are after death to attend mankind to the end of that stamen of being in themselves, which was broke off by fickness or any other disaster. These are proper guardians to men, as being sensible of the infirmity of their state. You are philosopher enough to know, that the difference of men's understanding proceeds only from the various dispositions of their organs, so that he who dies at a month old, is in the next life as knowing (though morè innocent) as they who live to fifty, and after death they have as perfect a memory and judgment of all that passed in their lifetime, as I have of all the revolutions in that uneasy, turbulent condition of yours ; and you would say I had enough of it in a month, were I to tell you my
misfortunes.” " A life of a month cannot have, one would think, much variety; but pray;” said I, “let us have your story.”
Then he proceeds in the following manner =
" It was one of the most wealthy families in Great Britain into which I was born, and it was a very great happiness to me that it so happened, otherwise I had still in all probability been living ; but I shall recount to you all the occurrences of my short and miserable existence, just as by examining into the traces made in my brain, they appeared to me at that time.
The first thing that ever struck at my senses, was a noise over my head of one shrieking; after which methought I took a full jump, and found myself in the hands of a sorceress, who seemed as if she had been long waking, and employed in some incantation. I was thoroughly frightened, and cried out ; but she immediately seemed to go on in some magical operation, and anointed me from head to foot. What they meant, I could not imagine, for there gathered a great crowd about me, crying, ' An heir, an heir !' upon which I grew a little still, and believed this was a ceremony to be used only to great persons, and such as made them, what they called, heirs. I lay very quiet; but the witch, for no manner of reason or provocation in the world, takes me and binds my head as hard as possibly she could, then ties up both my legs and makes me swallow down a horrid mixture. I thought it a harsh entrance into life, to begin with taking physick; but I was forced to it, or else must have taken down a great instrument in which she gave it me. When I was thus dressed, I was carried to a bed-side where a fine young lady (my mother, I wot) had like to have hugged me to death. From her, they faced me about, and there
was a thing with quite another look from the rest of the room, to whom they talked about my nose. He seemed wonderfully pleased to see me ...
. . That (family) into which I was born, is one of the most numerous amongst you; therefore crowds of relations came every day to congratulate my arrival; amongst others, my cousin Betty, the greatest romp in nature. She whisks me such a height over her head, that I cried out for fear of falling. She pinched me and called me fquealing chit, and threw me into a girl's arms that was taken in to tend me. The girl was very proud of the womanly employment of a nurse, and took upon her to strip and dress me anew, because I made a noise, to see what ailed me. She did so, and stuck a pin in every joint about me. I still cried, upon which she lays me on my face in her lap, and to quiet me, fell a nailing in all the pins, by clapping me on the back and screaming a lullaby. But my pain made me exalt my voice above hers, which brought up the nurse, the witch I first saw, and my grandmother. The girl is turned down, stairs and I stripped again, as well to find what ailed me as to satisfy my granam's further curiosity. This good old woman's visit was the cause of all my troubles. You are to understand that I was hitherto bred by hand, and anybody that stood next gave me pap if I did but open my lips, insomuch that I was grown so cunning as to pretend myself asleep when I was not, to prevent my being crammed. But my grandmother began a loud lecture upon the idleness of the wives of this age, who, for fear of their shapes, forbear suckling their own offspring; and ten nurses were immediately sent for—one was whispered to have a wanton eye another was in a confumption; the third had an ill voice, and would frighten me instead of lulling me to sleep. Such exceptions were made against all but one country milch-wench, to whom I was committed, and put to the breast. This careless jade was eternally romping with the footman, and downright starved me, insomuch that I daily pined away, and should never have been relieved had it not been that on the thirtieth day of my life, a Fellow of the Royal Society, who had writ upon Cold Baths, came to visit me, and folemnly protested I was utterly lost for want of that method : upon which he foused me head and ears into a pail of water, where I had the good fortune to be drowned, and so escaped being lashed into a linguist till sixteen and being married to an ill-natured wife till fixty, which had certainly been my fate had not the enchantment between body and foul been broke by this philosopher. Thus, till the age I should have otherwise lived, I am obliged to watch the steps of men; and, if you please, shall accompany you in your present walks, and get you intelligence, from the ærial lacquey who is in waiting, what are the thoughts and purposes of any whom you inquire for." I accepted his kind offer, and immediately took him with me in a hack to White's chocolate-house.
We got in hither, and my companion threw a powder round us that made me as invisible as himself, so that we could see and hear all other, ourselves unseen and unheard.
The first thing we took notice of was a nobleman of a goodly and frank aspect, with his generous birth and temper visible in it, playing at cards with a creature of a black and
horrid countenance, wherein were plainly delineated the arts of his mind, cozenage and falsehood. They were marking their game with counters, on which we could see inscriptions, imperceptible to any but us. My lord had scored with pieces of ivory on which were written good fame, glory, riches, honour, and posterity. The spectre over against him had on his counters the inscriptions of dishonour, impudence, poverty, ignorance, and want of shame. “ Bless me!” said I, “ sure my lord does not see what he plays for ?” “ As well as I do,” says Pacolet. “ He despises that fellow he plays with, and scorns himself for making him his companion." At the very instant he was speaking, I saw the fellow who played with my lord hide two cards in the roll of his stocking. Pacolet immediately stole them from thence, upon which the nobleman soon after won the game. The little triumph he appeared in when he got such a trifling stock of ready money, though he had ventured so great sums with indifference, increased my admiration. But Pacolet began to talk to me. « Mr. Isaac, this to you looks wonderful, but not at all to us higher beings. That noble has as many good qualities as any man of his order, and seems to have no fault but what, as I may fay, are excrescences from virtues. He is generous to a prodigality, more affable than is consistent with his quality, and courageous to a rashness. Yet, after all this, the source of his whole conduct is (though he would hate himself if he knew it) mere avarice. The ready cash laid before the gamester's counters makes him venture, as you see, and lay distinction against infamy, abundance against want; in a word, all that is desirable against all that is to be avoided.” “However," said I, “ be sure you disappoint the sharpers to-night, and steal from them all the cards they hide.” Pacolet obeyed me, and my lord went home with their whole bank in his pocket.
.PACOLET CONTINUED-DUELLISTS AND THE PURGATORY OF
LETTER from a young lady, written in the most passionate terms, wherein the laments the misfortune of a gentleman, her lover, who was lately wounded in a duel, has turned my thoughts to
that subject, and inclined me to examine into the causes which precipitate men into fo fatal a folly. And as it has been proposed to treat of subjects of gallantry in the article from hence, and no one point in nature is more proper to be considered by the company who frequent this place (White's) than that of duels, it is worth our consideration to examine into this chimerical groundless humour, and to lay every other thought aside, till we have stripped it of all its false pretences to credit and reputation amongst men.
But I must confess, when I consider what I am going about, and run over in my imagination all the endless crowd of men of honour who will be offended at such a discourse, I am undertaking, methinks, a work worthy an invulnerable hero in romance, rather than a private gentlemen with a single rapier ; but as I am pretty well acquainted by great opportunities with the nature of man, and know of a truth that all men fight against their will, the danger vanishes, and resolution rises upon this subject. For this reason, I shall talk very freely on a custom which all men with exploded, though no man has courage enough to resist it.
But there is one unintelligible word which I fear will ex