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refreshment; I am fatigued without labor. I am scarcely risen when I wish the day was done, and when night comes I long for morning. I eat without appetite, drink without exhilaration; exercise affords no spirits, conversation no amusement, reading no entertainment, and diversion no pleasure. It is not from affectation, but an acquired insensibility, that I see Falstaff without a smile, and the Orphan without emotion. I endeavor to kill the time by shifting continually the scene of dissipation; but I am close pursued by disgust: all is disappointment, insipid, nauseous, or shocking. My temper is grown so fretful and peevish, that I quarrel by turns with my servants and myself; even she that was once the delight of my eyes and the joy of my heart, is now become the subject of perpetual disquiet. I harbor wishes which I dare not approve; my heart palpitates with passions which I am ashamed to avow. I am tormented by a thousand petty grievances, which rise liks angry pimples from the the ebullitions of a soured disposition, and incidents that would move the mirth of other men, are to me productive of choler and anxiety. Two days ago I ordered my servants to horsewhip a cobbler, who refused to leave off whistling in his stall as he sat at work, opposite to my chamber-window; and if I had then met with your maimed soldier, in all probability I should have chastised him for presuming to be more happy than his betters.
Gentlemen, if you have any recipe for the cure of my disorder, it will be charity to publish it for the benefit of many thousands that labor under the same malady which now afflicts your humble servant, PICHROMACHUS.
The distemper of our correspondent is endemial among the great, and may be termed a scurvy of the spirits. Exercise is as necessary to the mind as to the body, and mental exercise consists
in study and reflection: this being long disused, the powers of rea son lose their tone; and a relaxation of the nerves from idleness and surfeit, co-operating with this languor, the whole machine is, as it were, unstrung; all the faculties being thus untwisted and out of tune, the mind jars on every string, and nothing can be produced but discord and disquiet. If Pichromachus and his lady are really determined, if possible, to obtain a radical cure, and retrieve their good-humor, let them make over to the next heirs the great estates which devolved to them so unexpectedly, and return to the farm with the same necessities which their own industry had before so happily supplied. Should this be an effort of self-denial beyond the pitch of their resolution, we would advise them to renounce their fashionable connections, and endeavor to contract friendships with a few rational creatures; to dismiss their superfluous servants, including the French cook, and every gaudy appurtenance of ostentation; to retire from London, and engage in the avocations of husbandry; to use the cold bath every morning, ride twenty miles every day before dinner, eat moderately of plain English food, go to bed by eleven, rise before eight, and fast one day in the week, until their appetites are perfectly restored.
ADVENTURES OF A STROLLING PLAYER.
I am fond of amusement in whatever company it is to be found; and wit, though dressed in rags, is ever pleasing to me. I went some days ago to take a walk in St. James's Park, about the hour in which company leave it go to dinner. There were but few in the walks, and those who stayed seemed by their looks rather more willing to forget that they had an appetite than gain
one. I sat down on one of the benches, at the other end of which was seated a man in very shabby clothes.
We continued to groan, to hem, and to cough, as usual upon such occasions, and at last ventured upon conversation. "I beg pardon, sir," cried I, "but I think I have seen you before; your face is familiar to me." "Yes, sir," replied he, "I have a good familiar face, as my friends tell me. I am as well known in every town in England as the dromedary or live crocodile. You must understand, sir, that I have been these sixteen years Merry Andrew to a puppet-show: last Bartholomew Fair my master and I quarrelled, beat each other, and parted; he to sell his puppets to the pincushion-makers in Rosemary-lane, and I to starve in St. James's Park."
"I am sorry, sir," said I, "that a person of your appearance should labor under any difficulties." "O sir," returned he, "my appearance is very much at your service; but though I cannot boast of eating much, yet there are few that are merrier: if I had twenty thousand a year I should be very merry; and, thank the fates! though not worth a groat, I am very merry still. If I have threepence in my pocket, I never refuse to be my three halfpence; and if I have no money, I never scorn to be treated by any that are kind enough to pay my reckoning. What think you, of a steak and a tankard? You shall treat me now, and I will treat you again, when I find you in the Park in love with eating, and without money to pay for a dinner."
As I never refuse a small expense for the sake of a merry companion, we instantly adjourned to a neighboring alehouse, and in a few moments had a frothing tankard, and a smoking steak spread on the table before us. It is impossible to express how much the sight of such good cheer improved my companion's vivacity. "I like this dinner, sir," says he, "for three reasons; first, because I am naturally fond of beef; secondly, because I
am hungry; and thirdly and lastly, because I get it for nothing: no meat eats so sweet as that for which we do not pay."
He therefore now fell to, and his appetite seemed to correspond with his inclination. After dinner was over, he observed that the steak was tough; "and yet, sir," returns he, "bad as it was, it seemed a rump-steak to me. O, the delights of poverty and a good appetite! We beggars are the very fondlings of nature; the rich she treats like an arrant step-mother; they are pleased with nothing; cut a steak from what part you will, and it is insupportably tough; dress it up with pickles, and even pickles cannot procure them an appetite. But the whole creation is filled with good things for the beggar; Calvert's butt outtastes Champagne, and Sedgeley's home-brewed excels Tokay. Joy, joy, my blood! though our estates lie nowhere, we have fortunes wherever we go. If an inundation sweeps away half the grounds of Cornwall, I am content; I have no lands there: if the stocks sink, that gives me no uneasiness; I am no Jew.” The fellow's vivacity, joined to his poverty, I own raised my curiosity to know something of his life and circumstances, and I entreated that he would indulge my desire. "That I will, sir," said he, "and welcome; only let us drink to prevent our sleeping; let us have another tankard while we are awake; let us have another tankard; for, ah, how charming a tankard looks when full!
"You must know then, that I am very well descended: my ancestors have made some noise in the world; for my mother cried oysters, and my father beat a drum: I am told we have even had some trumpeters in our family. Many a nobleman cannot show so respectful a genealogy; but that is neither here nor there as I was their only child, my father designed to breed me up to his own employment, which was that of a drummer to a puppet-show. Thus the whole employment of my younger years
was that of interpreter to Punch and King Solomon in all his glory. But though my father was very fond of instructing me in beating all the marches and points of war, I made no very great progress, because I naturally had no ear for music; so, at the age of fifteen, I went and listed for a soldier. As I had ever hated beating a drum, so I soon found that I disliked carrying a musket also: neither the one trade nor the other were to my taste, for I was by nature fond of being a gentleman: besides, I was obliged to obey my captain; he has his will, I have mine, and you have yours: now I very reasonably concluded, that it was much more comfortable for a man to obey his own will than another's.
"The life of a soldier soon, therefore, gave me the spleen: I asked leave to quit the service; but as I was tall and strong, my captain thanked me for my kind intention, and said, because he had a regard for me, we should not part. I wrote to my father a very dismal, penitent letter, and desired that he would raise money to pay for my discharge; but the good man was as fond of drinking as I was (Sir, my service to you), and those who are fond of drinking never pay for other people's discharges: in short, he never answered my letter. What could be done? If I have not money, said I to myself, to pay for my discharge, I must find an equivalent some other way; and that must be by running away. I deserted; and that answered my purpose every bit as well as if I had bought my discharge.
"Well! I was now fairly rid of my military employment; I sold my soldier's clothes, bought worse, and in order not to be overtaken, took the most unfrequented roads possible. One evening as I was entering a village, I perceived a man, whom I afterwards found to be the curate of the parish, thrown from his horse in a miry road, and almost smothered in the mud. He desired my assistance; I gave it, and drew him out with some difficulty.