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they ought to retire from all the luscious baits of temptation, and deny their appetites the gratitications that are most pleasing to them į or, at least, to signify that we ought to stint ourselves in our most lawful satisfactions, and not make our pleasure, but our support, the end of eating. But most certainly, if such a lesson of temperance had been necessary at a table, our clergy would have recommended it to all the lay-masters of families, and not have disturbed other men's tables with such unseasonable examples of abstinence.
The original, therefore, of this barbarous custom, I take to have been merely accidental. The chaplain retired, out of pure complaisance, to make room for the removal of the dishes, or possibly for the ranging of the desert. This by degrees grew into a duty, until at length, as the fashiori improved, the good man found himself cut off from the third part of the entertainment; and, if the arrogance of the patron goes on, it is not impossible but, in the next generation, he may see himself reduced to the tythe, or tenth dish of the table; a sufficient caution not to part with any privilege we are once possessed of. It was usual for the priest in old times to feast upon the sacrifice, nay the honey-cake, while the hungry laity looked upon him with great devotion; or, as the late lord Rochester describes it, in a very lively manner,
And while the priest did eat, the people star’d. At present the custom is inverted; the laity feast, while the priest stands by as an humble spectator. This necessarily puts a good man upon making great ravages on all the dishes that stand near him; and distinguishing himself by voraciousness of appetite, as knowing that his time is shurt. I would fain ask these stiff-necked patrons, wx.cther they would not take it ill of a chaplain, that in his grace after meat should return thanks for the whole entertainment with au exception to the desert? And yet I cannot but think that, in such a proceeding, he would but deal with them as they deserved. What would a Roman catholic priest think, who is always helped first, and placed next the ladies, should he see a clergyman giving his company the slip at the first appearance
of the tarts or sweet-meats? Would not he believe that he had the same antipathy to a candied orange, or a piece of puff-paste, as some have to a Cheshire cheese, or a breast of mutton? Yet, to so ridiculous a height is this foolish custom grown, that even the Christmas pye, which in its very nature is a kind of consecrated cake, and a badge of distinction, is often forbidden to the Druid of the family. Strange! that a surloin of beef, whether boiled or roasted, when entire, is exposed to his utmost depredations and incisions; but, if minced into small pieces, and tossed up with plums and sugar, changes its property, and, forsooth, is meat for his master.
In this case I know not which to censure, the pas tron, or the chaplain, the insolence of power, or the abjectness of dependence. For my own part, I have often blushed to see a gentleman, whonI knew to have much more wit and learning than myself, and who was bred up with me at the university upon the same foot of a liberal education, treated in such an ignominious manner, and sunk beneath those of his own rank, by reason of that character which ought to bring him honour. This deters men of generous minds from placing themselves in such a station of life, and by that means frequently excludes persons of quality from the improving and agreeable convers sation of a learned and obsequious friend.
Mr. Oldham* lets us know, that he was affrighted from the thought of such an employment, by the scandalous sort of treatment which often accompanies it :
Some think themselves exalted to the sky,
I rate my freedom higher. This author's raillery is the raillery of a friend, and does not turn the sacred order into ridicule; but is a just censure on such persons as take advantage, from the necessities of a man of merit, to impose on him hardships that are by no means suitable to the dig, nity of his profession.
* In "A Satire, addressed to a Friend that is about to leave the University," &c.
N° 256. TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 1710.
Nostrum est fantas componere lites.
VIRG. Ecl. iii. 108.
'Tis ours such warm contentions to decide.
The Proceedings of the Court of Honour, held in
Sheer-lane on Monday the twentieth of Noveniber, 1710, before Isaac BICKERSTAFF, Esquire, Cen
sor of Great-Britain. Peter PLUMB, of London, merchant, was indicted by the honourable Mr. Thomas Gules, of Gule-hall in the country of Salop, for that the said Peter Plumb did, in Lombard-street, London, between the hours of two and three in the afternoon, meet the said Mr. Thomas Gules, and, after a short salutation, put on his hat, value five-pence, while the ho. nourable Mr. Gules stood bare-headed for the space of two seconds. It was further urged against the criminal, that, during his discourse with the prosecutor, he feloniously stole the wall of hin, having clapped his back against it in such a manner, that it was impossible for Mr. Gules to recover it again at his taking leave of him. The prosecutor alleged, that he was the cadet of a very ancient family; and that, according to the principles of all the younger brothers of the said fainily, he had never sullied himself with business, but had chosen rather to starve, like a man of honour, than do any thing be
neath his quality. He prcduced several witnesses, that he had never employed himself beyond the twisting of a whip, or the making of a pair of nut-crackers, in which he only worked for his diversion, in order to make a present now and then to his friends. The prisoner being asked, "what he could say for himself,” cast several reflections upon the honourable Mr. Gules; as, “that he was not worth a groat; that nobody in the city would trust hin for a halfpenny; that he owed binı money, which he had promised to pay him several times, but never kept his word; and, in short, that he was an idle beggarly fellow, and of no use to the public.” This sort of language was very severely reprimanded by the Censor, who told the criminal, “that he spoke in contempt of the court, and that he should be proceeded against for contumacy, if he did not change his style. The prisoner, therefore, desired to be heard by his counsel, who urged in his defence, “ that he put on his hat through ignorance, and took the wall by accident." They likewise produced several witnesses, that he made several motions with his hat in his hand, which are generally understood as an invitation to the person we talk with to be covered ; and that, the gentleman not taking the hint, he was forced to put on his hat, as being troubled with a cold. There was likewise an Irishman, who deposed, “ that he had heard him cough three-andtwenty times that morning.” And as for the wall, it was alledged, that he had taken it inadvertently, to save himself from a shower of rain which was then falling. The Censor, having consulted the men of honour who sat at his right-hand on the bench, found they were all of opinion, that the defence made by the prisoner's counsel did rather aggravate than extenuate his crime; that the motions and intimations of the hat were a token of superiority in