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conscientious witticisms, and give them a leaf in my commonplace book to themselves.

"I have the pleasure to tell you, that my collection is now become not only considerable in bulk, but, that I may speak humbly of its merit, I will also say, that it is to the full as good, and far more creditable to any gentleman's character, than the books which have been published about a certain great wit lately deceased, whose memory has been so completely dissected by the operators in Stationers' Hall.

"Though I have as much respect for posterity as any man can entertain for persons he is not acquainted with, still, I cannot understand how a postobit of this sort can profit me in my life, unless I could make it over to some purchaser upon beneficial conditions. Now, as there are people in the world who have done many famous actions, without having once uttered a real good thing, as it is called, I should think my collection might be an acceptable purchase to a gentleman of this description, and such an one should have it a bargain, as I would be very glad to give a finishing to his character, which I can best compare to a coat of Adam's plaster on a well-built house.

"For my own part, being neither more nor less than a haberdasher of small wares, and having scarcely rambled beyond the boundaries of the bills of mortality, since I was out of my apprenticeship, I have not the presumption to think the anecdotes of my own life important enough for posthumous publication; neither do I suppose my writings, though pretty numerous, as my books will testify, and many great names standing amongst them, which it is probable I shall never cross out, will be thought so interesting to the public, as to come into competition with the lively memoirs of a Bellamy and a Baddeley, who furnish so many agreeable records of many noble families, and are

the solace of more than half the toilets in town and country.

"But to come more closely to the chief purport of this letter. It was about a fortnight ago, that I crossed upon you in the Poultry near the shop-door of your worthy bookseller; I could not help giving a glance at your looks, and methought there was a morbid sallowness in your complexion, and a sickly languor in your eye, that indicated speedy dissolution. I watched you for some time, and, as you turned into the shop, remarked the total want of energy in your step. I know whom I am saying this to, and, therefore, am not afraid of startling you by my observations; but if you actually perceive those threatening symptoms, which I took notice of, it may probably be your wish to lay in some store for a journey you are soon to take. You have always been a friend and customer to me, and there is nobody I shall more readily serve than yourself. I have long noticed, with regret, the very little favour you receive from your contemporaries, and shall gladly contribute to your kinder reception from posterity; now I flatter myself, if you adopt my collection, you will at least be celebrated for your sayings, whatever may become of your writings.

"As for your private history, if I may guess from certain events which have been reported to me, you may, with a little allowable embellishment, make up a decent life of it. It was with great pleasure I heard t'other day, that you was stabbed by a monk in Portugal, broke your limbs in Spain, and was poisoned with a sallad at Paris; these, with your adventures at sea, your sufferings at Bayonne, and the treatment you received from your employers on your return, will be amusing anecdotes, and as it is generally supposed you have not amassed any very great

fortune by the plunder of the public, your narrative will be read without raising any envy in the reader, which will be so much in your favour. Still, your chief dependence must rest upon the collection I shall supply you with; and when the world comes to understand how many excellent things you said, and how much more wit you had than any of your contemporaries gave you credit for, they will begin to think you had not fair play whilst you was alive, and who knows but they may take it in mind to raise a monument to you by subscription amongst other merry fellows of your day? I am yours,

"H. B."

I desire my correspondent will accept this short but serious answer. If I am so near the end of life, as he supposes, it will behoove me to wind it up in another manner from what he suggests. I therefore shall not treat with my friend, the haberdasher, for his small wares.


̓Αληθόμυθον χρὴ εἶναι, οὐ πολύλογον.


Remember only that your words be true,
No matter then how many or how few.


"I HAVE a habit of dealing in the marvellous, which I cannot overcome. Some people, who seem to take a pleasure in magnifying the little flaws to be found

in all characters, call this by a name which no gentleman ought to use, or likes to hear. The fact is, I have so much tender consideration for Truth in her state of nakedness, that, till I have put her into decent clothing, I cannot think of bringing her into company; and if her appearance is sometimes so much altered by dress, that her best friends cannot find her out, am I to blame for that?

"There is a matter of fact man of my acquaintance, who haunts me in all places, and is the very torment of my life; he sticks to me as the thresher * does to the whale, and is the perfect nightmare of my imagination. This fellow never lets one of my stories pass without docking it like an attorney's bill before a master in chancery. He cut forty miles out of a journey of one hundred, which, but for him, I had performed in one day upon the same horse; in which, I confess, I had stretched a point for the pleasure of out-riding a fat fellow in company, who, by the malicious veracity of my aforesaid Damper, threw me at least ten miles distance behind him.

"This provoking animal cut up my success in so many intrigues and adventures, that I was determined to lay my plan out of his reach, in a spot which I had provided for an evil day, and accordingly I led him a dance into Corsica, where I was sure he could not follow me. Here I had certainly been, and knew my ground well enough to prance over it at a very handsome rate. I noticed a kind of sly leer in some of the company, which was pointed towards a gentleman present, who was a stranger to me, and so far from joining in the titter, was very politely attentive to what I was relating. I was at this moment warm in the cause of freedom, and had performed such

*A fish of that name.

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prodigies of valour in its defence, that, before my story was well ended, I had got upon such close terms with General Paoli, that, had my hearers been but half as credulous as they ought to have been, they might have set us down for sworn friends and inseparables. But here again, as ill luck would have it, my evil genius tapt me on the shoulder, and remarking that I principally addressed myself to the gentleman, whose politeness and attention were so flattering, said to me with a smile, that had the malice of the devil in it, 'Give me leave to introduce you to General Paoli, here present.' Death and confusion, what I felt a stroke of lightning would have been charity, compared to this. My persecutor had not done with me. 'I am afraid you have forgot your old friend and familiar, who no doubt will be overjoyed at recognizing a brother warrior, who has performed such noble services jointly with himself in the glorious struggle for the liberties of his beloved country.' Can I paint the shame I suffered at this moment? It is impossible; I can only say there is a generosity in true valour, which scorns to triumph over the fallen. 'There were so many brave men,' said that gallant person, in a tone I shall never lose the impression of, of whose services I shall ever preserve a grateful memory, but whose persons have slipt from my recollection, that I have only to entreat your pardon for a forgetfulness, which I desire you to believe is not my fault, but my infirmity.'—If a bottle had been volleyed at my head, I could not have been more in need of a surgeon, than I was at this instant; I could never have suspected Truth of playing me such a jade's trick. I always considered her as a good-natured simple creature, without gall or bitterness, and was in the habit of treating her accordingly; but this was such a specimen of her

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