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leaping out, was, of “two evils, choosing the least :" this we instantly did in as careful a manner as possible; we first alighted on our feet, and next complimented the ground with our noses, without receiving much injury. Our female companion indeed, by being rather too precipitate, alighted in a manner which on any other occasion would not haye appeared strictly decent, of which she, poor lady! was so sensible, that she immediately “hoped as how we were both married gentlemen;" which was quickly replied to by both in the affirmative; and thus we saved our fair one the trouble of exerting herself in another scream, and ourselves the punishment of hearing it.
Being no longer parties concerned in the danger, it afforded us some entertainment to observe the progress of our vehicle now considerably lightened by our escape from it, and becoming every moment still lighter by the exclusion of small trunks, boxes, parcels, great coats, &c.; they, in imitation of our example, making leaps, some from the inside of the carriage, and others from the boot; whether occasioned by the repulsion of the carriage and its appendages, or the attraction of the earth, I am not sufficiently versed in philosophy to decide. . Posterity, when they peruse my labours, no doubt will determine this weighty point, and transmit it to the remotest period of time, properly dignified by F.R.S. in Phil. Trans.
The horses finding themselves Jess incumbered, and urged on by the noise of the doors continually flapping, increased their speed : happily however the carriage was stopped before it entered the city, and no damage was sustained either by the horses or the carriage. Before we left the inn, our careful son of the whip arrived, not in the least injured, but rather benefited by his disaster, suddenly transformed into a state of perfect sobriety ; after him followed two countrymen laden with the several articles which had been so vio. lently ejected. As I reflected that this unguarded man might not always be equally successful, either to himself or his passengers, as in the present instance, I obtained a promise from the innkeeper never to permit him to drive any carriage in future, in the management of which he had any concern. But I have since learned that the innkeeper did not keep his word, as he soon permitted him to drive the same di. ligence; and a few months after, being drunk as usual, he fell from the box, and was killed on the spot.
It is astonishing what a number of fatal accidents continually happen from carelessness and the want of sobriety in this thoughtless race of beings. I was informed that, only two days previous to my arrival at Durham, a coachman quitting his box to step into an adjacent house, in his absence the horses began to move gently, and a lady in the carriage giving a loud scream, the noise occasioned the horses to set off at full gallop, in consequence of which a lady of Durham, happening unfortunately at that instant to be crossing the way, was thrown down, and the wheels passing over her, she died on the spot-one of the many melancholy effects resulting from the ridiculous practice of screaming. But I crave pardon of the ladies : when I begin passing censure on them, it is high time to close my epistle (which if not. very long will perhaps be deemed sufficiently impertinent) with,
I am, dear friend, yours.
“O that the too censorious world would learn
Haywood's D. of Brunswick.
Dear Friend, It is reported of a very eminent author that he never blotted a line of what he had once written ; on which it has been remarked, that it was a pity he had not blotted a thousand. Now, though my extreme modesty will not permit me to put myself on a level with that great man as an author, whatever the impartial world may think of our comparative merits, I must confess I do not like to blot what I have once written, fearful lest when I begin (another proof of my modesty) I should deface the major part of my manuscripts, and thus deprive the public of the great advantages which may result from them. What I allude to, is an unfortunate slip of the pen in my
last : however, as “ confession of a fault makes some amends, and I immediately checked myself, craved pardon, abruptly closed my letter, and threw the offending pen from me with some degree of anger, I hope those lovely fair ones, who might think I meant to affront them, will with their accustomed benignity forgive, and indulge me with a smile on my future la. bours; and as a convincing proof how sensible I am of their kind condescension, I here engage never more to express my dislike of their screaming, except they should omit purchasing books of me, which I am sure every candid fair (and what fair one is not candid?) will think sufficiently provoking.
But, in order to remind them that every great man does not always conduct himself with equal politeness towards the ladies, I beg permission to introduce a very great man to them; no less a personage than doctor Johnson: of whom indeed so much hath already been sung and said, that the subject may be supposed to be nearly exhausted; which is, however so far from being the case, that notwithstanding two quarto volumes of his life by Mr Boswell are just published, we are taught to expect another life by a different hand. Indeed until some other great man makes his exit (myself out of the question), we are likely to be entertained with fresh anecdotes of him; but when that period once arrives, then farewell Johnson.
The doctor, whose extreme fondness for that agree. able beverage tea is well known, was once in company with a number of ladies assembled to partake with him of the same refreshment. The lady of the house happened to be one of those particularly attentive to punctilio, and had exhibited her finest set of china for the entertainment of her guests; the doctor who drank large quantities and with considerable expedition, could not always wait with becoming patience ceremoniously to ask for and receive in due form the addition of a lump of sugar when necessary ; he therefore without perinission put his finger and thumb into the sugar-dish, tumbling the contents over till he met with a piece of the proper size; the lady kept her eye fixed on him the whole time, and deeming his conduct a great breach of decorum, resolved to make him sensible of it, by immediately ordering the servant to
change the sugar-dish. The doctor, though apparently attentive to his tea, noticed it, and as soon as he had emptied the cup, put it together with the saucer under the fire-place, with due care, however, not to break them. This was too severe a trial for the poor lady, who, apprehensive for the fate of her dear china, after a decent scream, with warmth demanded the reason of his treating her in so rude a
“Why, my dear madam, (replied he) I was alarmed with the idea that whatever I touched was thereby contaminated, and impressed with anxious desire to contribute towards your felicity, I removed the object so. defiled from your presence with all possible expedition.” This reply, though it extorted a smile from all the company present, did not satisfy the lady to whom it was addressed, who, notwithstanding she exerted herself to appear in good humour, was too much offended to forget the affront. This anecdote has been related to me with some addenda which heighten the story, though more to the disadvantage of the doctor; but I believe as here related, it may be depended on as the real fact.
During my continuance in Scotland, which was about three weeks the first time, and about a month the last, I often reflected with pain on the illiberal not to say brutal treatment the inhabitants received from the doctor. At Edinburgh I heard various anecdotes related of him, which were perfectly novel to me, and in all probability will be so to you. I shall therefore give you a specimen.
Being one day at a gentleman's house in Edinburgh, several ladies and gentlemen came in to pay their respects to him, and among others the then lord provost went
up to the doctor, bowing repeatedly, and expressing the highest respect for him, to all which the doctor paid not the least attention. Exceedingly hurt at so flagrant a mark of disrespect, he turned round, and put a shilling into the hand of the gentleman of the house : on being asked what the shilling