« ForrigeFortsett »
- laid before us, we should find nothing in such ' a character which might not set him on a le"vel with men of the highest stations. The
following extract, out of the private papers of an honest country-gentleman, will set this matter in a clear light. Your reader will perhaps
conceive a greater idea of him from these acstions done in secret, and without a witness, • than of those which have drawn upon them 6 the admiration of multitudes.'
M E M O IR S.
“In my twenty-second year I found a violent " affection for my cousin Charles's wife grow.
ing upon me, wherein I was in danger of
private meeting with my uncle Francis, I re“ fused the offer of his estate, and prevailed upon
him not to disinherit his son Ned. 6. Mem. Never to tell this to Ned, left he “ should think hardly of his deceased father ; “ though he continues to speak ill of me for " this very reason. 56 Prevented a scandalous law-fuit betwixt
my nephew Harry and his mother, by allowing “ her under-hand, out of my own pocket, so “ much money yearly as the dispute was about.
- Procured a benefice for a young divine, " who is sister's son to the good man who was my tutor, and hath been dead twenty years.
- Gave ten pounds to poor Mrs., my “ friend H-'s widow.
6. Mem. To retrench one dish at my table, 66 until I have fetched it up again.
“ Mem. To repair my house and finish my “ gardens in order to employ poor people after 66 harvest-time.
“ Ordered John to let out goodman D-'s sheep that were pounded by night; but not to let his fellow servants know it.
“ Prevailed upon M. T. Esq. not to take the “ law of the farmer's son for thooting a par
tridge, and to give him his gun again.
“ Made the minister of the parish and a whig justice of one mind, by putting them to explain their notions to one another.
1. Mem. To turn off Peter, for shooting a “ doe while she was eating acorns out of his 66 hand.
“ When my neighbour John, who hath often injured me, comes to make his request tomorrow: “ Mem. I have forgiven him.
“ Laid up my chariot, and sold my horses, “ to relieve the poor in a scarcity of corn.
“ In the same year remitted to my tenants a fifth part of their rents.
“ As I was airing to-day I fell into a thought " that warmed my heart, and shall, I hope, be 6 the better for it as long as I live. 5
“ Mem. To charge my fon in private to " erect no monument for me; but not to put “ this in my last will."
N° 623. Monday, November 22, 1714.
Sed mihi vel tellus optem prius ima dehiscat,
Virg. Æn. iv, 24.
But first let yawning earth a passage rend, • And let me thro' the dark abyss descend; • First let avenging Jove, with flames from high,
Drive down this body to the nether sky, • Condemn’d with ghosts in endless night to lie; • Before I break the plighted faith I gave :
No; he who had my vows shall ever have; • For whom I lov'd on earth I worship in the grave.'
AM obliged to my friend, the love-casuist*,
for the following curious piece of antiquity, which I shall communicate to the public in his own words.
* See Spect. N° 591, N° 602, No 605, No 614, and
« Mr. SPECTATOR,
OU may remember that I lately trans
mitted to you an account of an ancient 6 custom in the manors of East and West-En! borne, in the county of Berks, and elsewhere*, " If a customary tenant die, the widow shall " have what the law calls her Freebench, in all “ his copyhold lands, dum fola & casta fuerit; ☆ that is, while she lives single and chaste; “ but if the commits incontinency she forfeits “ her estate; yet if she will come into the 66 court riding backward upon a black ram, with 56 his tail in her hand, and say the words fol
lowing, the steward is bound by the custom $6 to re-admit her to her freebench'
Here I am, “ Riding upon a black ram, " Like a whore as I am ; $And for my crincum crancum, “ Have lost my bincum bancum ; " And for my tail's game, “ Have done this worldly shame ; “ Therefore I pray you, Mr. Steward, let
“ me have my land again *.'
• After having informed you
Lord Coke “ observes, that this is the most frail and slip
pery tenure of any in England, I shall tell you, ? since the writing of that letter, I have, according to my promise, been at great pains in Seç SPECT. N° 614, and Note ibidem.
searching out the records of the black ram; • and have at last met with the proceedings of • the court-baron, held in that behalf, for the
space of a whole day. The record faith, that a strict inquisition having been made into the right of the tenants to their several estates, by
the crafty old steward, he found that many ' of the lands of the manor were, by default of • the several widows, forfeited to the lord, and • accordingly would have entered on the pre' mises : upon which the good women demand
ed the “ benefit of the ram.” The steward, • after having perused their several pleas, adjourned the court to Barnaby-bright,* that they might have day enough before them.
• The court being fet, and filled with a great • concourse of people, who came from all parts ' to see the folemnity; the first who entered
was the widow Frontley, who had made her appearance in the last year's cavalcade. The re
gister observes that finding it an easy pad-ram, ' and foreseeing the might have further occasion ' for it, she purchased it of the steward. • Mrs. Sarah Dainty, relict of Mr. John Dain
who was the greatest prude of the parish, came next in the procession. She at first made • some difficulty of taking the tail in her hand;
and was observed, in pronouncing the form of
penance, to soften the two most emphatical • words into clincum clancum: but the steward • took care to make her speak plain Englith before - he would let her have her land again.
* Then the eleventh, now the twenty-second of June, being the longeft day in the year.