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Upon a great adventure he was bond,
Spenser. THE POLITICAL UPHOLSTERER.
person, an upholsterer, who seemed a man of more than ordinary application to business. He was a very early riser, and was often abroad two or three hours before any of his neighbours. He had a particular carefulness in the knitting of his brows, and a kind of impatience in all his motions, that plainly discovered he was always intent on matters of importance. Upon my inquiry into his life and conversation, I found him to be the greatest newsmonger in our quarter ; that he rose before day to read the Postman, and that he would take two or three turns to the other end of the town before his neighbours were up, to see if there were any Dutch mails come in. He had a wife and several children, but was much more inquisitive to know what passed in Poland than in his own family, and was in greater pain and anxiety of mind for king Augustus's welfare than that of his nearest relations. He looked extremely thin in a deartha of news, and never enjoyed himself in a westerly wind. This indefatigable kind of life was the ruin of his shop; for about the time that his favourite prince left the crown of Poland, he broke and disappeared.
This man and his affairs had been long out of my mind, till, about three days ago, as I was walking in St James's Park, I heard somebody at a distance hemming after me; and who should it be but my old neighbour the upholsterer ? I saw he was reduced to extreme poverty by certain shabby superfluities in his dress; for, notwithstanding that it was a very sultry day for the time of the year, he wore a loose greatcoat and a muff, with a long campaign wig out of curl, to which he had added the ornament of a pair of black garters, buckled under the knee. Upon his coming up to me, I was going to inquire into his present circumstances, but was prevented by his asking me, with a whisper, whether the last letters brought any accounts that one might rely upon from Bender. I told him none that I heard of, and asked him whether he had yet married his eldest daughter. He told me no. But pray, says he, tell me sincerely what are your thoughts of the king of Sweden ? For though his wife and children were starving, I found his chief concern at present was for this great monarch. I told him that I looked upon him as one of the first heroes of
But pray, says he, do you think there is anything in the story of his wound? And finding me surprised at the question, --Nay, says he, I only propose it to you. I answered that I thought there was no reason to doubt of it. But why in the heel, says he, more than in any of the body? Because, said I, the bullet chanced to light there.
This extraordinary dialogue was no sooner ended but he began to launch out into a long dissertation upon the affairs of the north ; and after having spent some time on them, he told me. he was in a great perplexity how to reconcile the Supplement with the English Post, and had been just now examining what the other papers say upon the same subject. The Daily Courant, says he, has these words :—We have advices from very good hands that a certain prince has some matters of great importance under consideration. This is very mysterious ; but the Postboy leaves us more in the dark, for he tells us that there are private intimations of measures taken by a certain prince, which time will bring to light. Now, the Postman, says he, who uses to be very clear, refers to the same news in these words :-The late conduct of a certain prince affords great matters of speculation. This certain prince, says the upholsterer, whom they are all so cautious of naming, I take to be — Upon which, though there was nobody near us, he whispered something in my ear, which I did not hear or think worthy my while to make him repeat.
We were now got to the upper end of the Mall, where were three or four very odd fellows sitting together upon the bench. These, I found, were all of them politicians, who used to sun themselves in that place every day about dinner-time. Observing them to be curiosities in their kind, and my friend's acquaintance, I sat down among them. The chief politician of the bench was a great asserter of paradoxes. He told us, with a seeming concern, that by some news he had lately read from Muscovy, it appeared to him that there was a storm gathering in the Black Sea, which might in time do hurt to the naval forces of this nation. To this he added, that, for his part, he could not wish to see the Turk driven out of Europe, which he believed could not but be prejudicial to our woollen manufacture. He then told us, that he looked upon those extraordinary revolutions which had lately happened in those parts of the world, to have risen from two persons
who were not much talked of; and those, says he, are Prince Menzikoff and the Duchess of Mirandola. He backed his assertions with so
many broken hints, and such a show of depth and wisdom, that we gave ourselves up to his opinions. . .
When we had fully discussed this point, my friend the upholsterer began to exert himself upon the present negotiations of peace, in which he deposed princes, settled the bounds of kingdoms, and balanced the power of Europe with great justice and impartiality.
I at length took my leave of the company, and was going away ; but had not gone thirty yards before the upholsterer hemmed again after me. Upon his advancing towards me, with a whisper, I expected to hear some secret piece of news which he had not thought fit to communicate on the bench; but instead of that, he desired me in my ear to lend im half-acrown. In compassion to so needy a statesman, and to dissipate the confusion I found he was in, I told him, if he pleased, I would give him five shillings, to receive five pounds of him when the great Turk was driven out of Constantinople ; which he very readily accepted, but not before he had laid down to me the impossibility of such an event, as the affairs of Europe now stand.
Y conscience is my crown; MY
Contented thoughts my rest; My heart is happy in itself;
My bliss is in my breast.
Enough, I reckon wealth;
A mean, the surest lot ; That lies too high for base contempt,
Too low for envy's shot.
My wishes are but few,
All easy to fulfil:
The bounds unto my will.
I have no hopes but one,
Which is of heavenly reign: Effects attain'd, or not desired,
All lower hopes refrain.
I feel no care of coin ;
Well-doing is my wealth : My mind to me an empire is,
While Grace affordeth health.
I wrestle not with
rage, While fury's flame doth burn; It is in vain to stop the stream,
Until the tide doth turn.
But when the flame is out,
And ebbing wrath doth end, I turn a late enraged foe
Into a quiet friend ;