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in our blood, the divisions, beats, and animosities, that reign among us; and, in particular, asserted most of the modern enthusiasms and agitations to be nothing else but the effects of adulterated Port.
The counsel for the Brewers had a face so ex. ti2m2?Â2Ò2ÂÂ§Â§Â§\ăm2/22/2Ầ ūti§Â2Ò2ÂòÂ2\/\22\2?Â2Ò2Â2Ò2Â that I did not wonder to see him an advocate for these sophistications. His rhetoric was likewise such as I should have expected from the common draught, which I found he often drank to a great excess. Indeed, I was so surprised at his figure and parts, that I ordered him to give me a taste of his usual liquor; which I had no sooner drunk, but I found a pimple rising in my forehead; and felt such a sensible decay in my understanding, that I would not proceed in the trial until the fume of it was entirely dissipated.
This notable advocate had little to say in the defence of his clients, but that they were under a necessity of making claret, if they would keep open their doors; it being the nature of mankind to love every thing that is prohibited. He further pretended to reason, that it might be as profitable to the nation, to make French wine as French hats; and concluded, with the great advantage that this practice had already brought to part of the kingdom. Upon which he informed the court, that the lands in Hereford. shire were raised two years purchase since the beginning of the war.
When I had sent out my summons to these people, I gave, at the same time, orders to each of them to bring the several ingredients he made use of in, distinct phials, which they had done accordingly, and ranged them into two rows on each side of the court. The workmen were drawn up in ranks be- : hind them. The merchant informed me, “ That in one row of phials were the several colours they dealt
in, and in the other, the tastes.” He then showed me, on the right-hand, one who went by the name of Tom Tintoret, who, as he told me, “ was the greatest master in his colouring of any vintner in London.” To give me a proof of his art, he took a glass of fair water; and, by the infusion of three drops out of one of his phials, converted it into a most beautiful pale Burgundy. Two more of the same kind heightened it into a perfect Languedoc: from thence it passed into a florid Hermitage: and after having gone through two or three other changes, by the addition of a single drop, ended in a very deep Pontac. This ingenious virtuoso, seeing me very much surprised at his art, told me, that he had not an opportunity of showing it in perfection, having only made use of water for the ground-work of his colouring: but that, if I were to see an operation upon liquors of stronger bodies, the art would appear to a much greater advantage. He added, that he doubted not but it would please my curiosity to see the cyder of one apple take only a vermilion, when another, with a less quantity of the same infusion, would rise into a dark purple, according to the different texture of parts in the liquor. He informed me also, that he could hit the different shades and degrees of red, as they appear in the pink and the rose, the clove and the carnation, as he had Rhenish or Moselle, Perry or White Port, to work in.
I was so satisfied with the ingenuity of this virtuoso, that, after having advised him to quit so dishonest a profession, I promised him, in consideration of his great genius, to recommend him as a partner to a friend of mine, who has heaped up great riches, and is a scarlet-dyer.
The artists on my other hand were ordered, in the second place, to make some experiments of their
skill before me: upon which the famous Harry Sippet stepped out, and asked me, “ what I would be pleased to drink?” At the same time he filled out three or four wbite liquors in a glass, and told me, “ That it should be what I pleased to call for;" adding very learnedly, “ That the liquor before him was as the naked substance, or first matter of his compound, to which he and his friend, who stood over-against him, could give what accidents or form they pleased.” Finding him so great a philosopher, I desired he would convey into it the qualities and essence of right Bourdeaux. “Coming, coming, Sir,” said he, with the air of a drawer; and, after having cast his eye on the several tastes and flavours that stood before him, he took up a little cruet, that was filled with a kind of inky juice, and pouring some of it out into the glass of white wine, presented it to me; and told me, “ This was the wine over which most of the business of the last Term had been dispatched.” I must confess, I looked upon that sooty drug, which he held up in his cruet, as the quintessence of English Bourdeaux; and therefore desired him to give me a glass of it by itself, which he did with great unwillingness. My cat at that time sat by me upon the elbow of my chair; and as I did not care for making the experiment upon myself, I reached it to her to sip of it, which had like to have cost her her life; for, notwithstanding it flung her at first into freakish tricks, quite contrary to her usual gravity, in less than a quarter of an hour she fell into convulsions; and, had it not been a creature more tenacious of life than any other, would certainly have died under the operation.
I was so incensed by the tortures of my innocent domestic, and the unworthy dealings of these men, that I told them, if each of them had as many lives as the injured creature before them, they deserved to forfeit them for the pernicious arts which they used for their profit. I therefore bid them look upon themselves as no better than as a kind of assassins and murderers within the law. However, since they had dealt so clearly with me, and laid before me. their whole practice, I dismissed them for that time; with a particular request, that they would not poison any of my friends and acquaintance, and take to some honest livelihood without loss of time.
For my own part, I have resolved hereafter to be very careful in my liquors; and have agreed with a friend of mine in the army, upon their next march, to secure me two hogsheads of the best stomach-wine in the cellars of Versailles, for the good of my Lucubrations, and the comfort of my old age.
N. 132. SATURDAY, FEB. 11, 1709-10.
Habeo senectuti magnamn gratiam, que mihi sermonis aviditatem auxit, potionis et cibi sustulit.
TULL. de Sen.
I am much beholden to old age, which has increased my eagerness
for conversation, in proportion as it has lessened my appetites of hunger and thirst.
Sheer-lane, February 10. After having applied my mind with more than ordinary attention to my studies, it is my usual custom to relax and unbend it in the conversation of such, as are rather easy than shining companions. This I find particularly necessary for me before I retire to rest, in order to draw my slumbers upon me by degrees, and fall asleep insensibly. This is the particular use I make of a set of heavy honest men, with whom I have passed many hours with much indolence, though not with great pleasure. Their conversation is a kind of preparative for sleep; it takes the mind down from its abstractions, leads it into the familiar traces of thought, and lulls it into that state of tranquillity, which is the condition of a thinking man, when he is but half awake. After this, my reader will not be surprised to hear the account, which I am about to give of a club of my own contemporaries, among whom I pass two or three hours every evening. This I look upon as taking my first nap before I go to bed. The truth of it is, I should think myself unjust to posterity, as well as to the society at the Trumpet *, of which I am a member, did not I in some part of my writings give an account of the persons among whom I have passed almost a sixth part of my time for these last forty years. Our club consisted originally of fifteen ; but, partly by the severity of the law in arbitrary times, and partly by the natural effects of old age, we are at present reduced to a third part of that number: in which, however, we have this consolation, that the best company is said to consist of five persons. I must confess, besides the aforementioned benefit which I meet with in the conversation of this select society, I am not the less pleased with the company, in that I find myself the greatest wit among them, and am heard as their oracle in all points of learning and difficulty.