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opinion of them, when he spied the statue of King Charles the Second standing up in the middle of the crowd, and most of the kings in Baker's Chronicle ranged in order over their heads; from whence he very justly concluded, that an antimonarchical assembly could never choose such a place to meet in once a day.
To continue this good disposition in my friend, after a short stay at Stocks-market, we drove away directly for the Meuse, where he was not a little edified with the sight of those fine sets of horses which have been brought over from Hanover, and with the care that is taken of them. He made many good remarks upon this occasion, and was so pleased with his company, that I had much ado to get him out of the stable.
In our progress to St. James's-park (for that was the end of our journey) he took notice, with great satisfaction, that, contrary to his intelligence in the country, the shops were all open and full of business; that the soldiers walked civilly in the streets; that clergymen, instead of being affronted, had generally the wall given them; and that he had heard the bells ring to prayers from morning to night, in some part of the town or another.
As he was full of these honest reflections, it happened very luckily for us, that one of the
king's coaches passed by with the three young princesses in it, whom by an accidental stop we had an opportunity of surveying for some time : my friend was ravished with the beauty, innocence, and sweetness that appeared in all their faces. He declared several times that they were the finest children he had ever seen in all his life : and assured me that, before this sight, if any one had told him it had been possible for three such pretty children to have been born out of England, he should never have believed them.
We were now walking together in the Park, and, as it is usual for men who are naturally warm and heady, to be transported with the greatest flush of good-nature when they are once sweetened, he owned to me very frankly, he had been much imposed upon by those false accounts of things he had heard in the country ; and that he would make it his business, upon his return thither, to set his neighbours right, and give them a more just notion of the present state of affairs.
What confirmed my friend in this excellent temper of mind, and gave him an inexpressible satisfaction, was a message he received, as we were walking together, from the prisoner for whom he had given his testimony in his late trial. This person, having been condemned for his part in the late rebellion, sent him word that his majesty had been graciously pleased to reprieve him, with several of his friends, in order, as it was thought, to give them their lives; and that he hoped, before he went out of town, they should have a cheerful meeting, and drink health and prosperity to King George.
The character of the Tory Fox-hunter is, it must be confessed, in every respect less amiable and respectable than that of Sir Roger de Coverley; we neither love nor esteem him ; for, instead of the sweet and benevolent temper of the knight, we are here presented with a vulgar, rough and totally uneducated squire, whose credulity and absurd prejudices are not softened down or relieved by those mild and tender feelings which so greatly endear to us almost every incident in the life of Sir Roger. The humour, nevertheless, is irresistible, and the ridicule so broad and keen, as fully to evince the powers of Addison in the province of severe satire. The suavity of his disposition, however, and the goodness of his heart, were such, that he seldom found a provocation sufficient to authorize, in his opinion, the use of weapons so formidable. But when the Freeholder appeared, the iniquity of rebellion, and the folly of opposing a mild and constitutional government, were so flagrant, that he thought himself warranted in the adoption of a more bold and poignant style. He refused at all times, however, to wield the tomahawk of Swift; and his political satire, though occasionally pungent, is mildness itself when compared with the virulent composition of the Dean.
These master-pieces of comic painting, the characters of Sir Roger de Coverley and the Tory Fox-hunter, exhibit the humour and the wit of Addison in all their perfection; the sly, the playful, the insinuating and severe, severe, at least, as far as the moral virtue of Addison would allow, by turns delight and fascinate the reader, who at the same time perceives the costume and keep
of each piece preserved with a strict and inviolable integrity.
Had our author produced no other specimens of humorous delineation than what these sketches afford, he would have been entitled, from their great merit, to rank foremost among those who have displayed the most intimate knowledge of the human heart and character; the versatility and fecundity of his genius in this department, however, is almost unbounded; and scarce a foible of private or public life, of domestic or fashionable manners, but what has received from his pencil the ludicrous colouring best adapted to reform, without wounding the feelings of, the individual.
ON THE FABLE, IMAGERY, AND ALLEGORY OF
Having considered, at some length, the merits and inventive powers of Addison in the delineation of humorous character, we shall now proceed to elucidate another striking feature in his writings, his love of fable, allegory, and oriental imagery.
No portions of the periodical compositions of our author have been more generally relished and admired than those which aim to instruct through the medium of narrative and fiction; and of these by far the greater part may be classed under the heads of Oriental Tales, Allegories, and Visions. To these Addison appears to have been greatly attached : “I have been always wonderfully delighted,” he observes," with fables, allegories, and the like inventions, which the politest and the best instructors of mankind