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Meantime, a cup was called for, which, in the same hot weather, was pronounced vastly pleasant, and my friend declared was more refreshing to him than the purest air under heaven.
Dinner was soon after brought in, which consisted of a profusion of meat, ill drest, and served up in a slovenly stile. This, however, was a country-dinner, and people were not to be nice in the country. So we sat, enjoying the pleasures of the country, amidst the steams of greasy broth, rusty ham, and stinking mutton: our ears delighted with the jingle of bells, and the hallooing of guests in the staircase, which were very ineffectually answered by the bustle of an awkward waiter, and a fat hoyden of a chambermaid.
When the table-cloth was removed, our conductor, who said he found himself much the better for his dinner, called for the landlord, and desired him to send in a particular sort of wine, the flavour of which he highly commended. An old proverbial recipe was cited to him, by a red-faced gentleman at the bottom of the table, which signifies, that a man should drink a bottle to-day, as a cure for the effects of two or three drank yesterday. 'Twas a prescription very much suited to the inclination of my friend, who declared, after having drank a bottle of it, that he never was better in all his life. Nobody mentioned the evening being a proper time for walking ; so we sat till our carriages were at the door, and till we dispatched four last bottles after their arrival. The post boys, whose patience needed some cordial to maintain it, were busy in their way below; so that, when at last we got into the chaises, they were as drunk as drunk as we
The carriage in which another gentleman and I were placed was overturned about a mile from town; I esca
ped with a sprained ancle; but
friend had his collar-bone broke.
Now, Mr Mirror, I incline to think, that a man may find a bad dinner, and get drunk after it, just as well in town as in the country; and, in the first case, he will have the advantage of saving his bones, the chaise-hire, and the tax upon post-horses. I am, &c.
No. 61. TUESDAY, Dec. 7, 1779.
During the late intermission of my labours, I paid a visit of some weeks to my friend Mr Umphraville, whose benevolence and worth never fail to give me the highest pleasure; a pleasure not lessened, perhaps, by those little singularities of sentiment and manner, which, in some former papers, I have described that
gentleman as possessing. At his house in the country, these appear to the greatest advantage; there they have room to shoot out at will; and, like the old yew-trees in his garden, though they do look a little odd, and now and then tempt one to smile, yet the most eccentric of them all have something venerable about them.
Some of my friend's peculiarities may not only be discovered in his manner and his discourse, but may be traced in his house and furniture, his garden and grounds. In his house are large rooms lighted by small Gothic windows, and accessible only by dark narrow stair-cases; they are fitted up with old arras, and have ceilings loaded with the massy compartments of the last age, where the heads of bearded sages and laurelled emperors look grim and terrible through the cobwebs that surround them. In his grounds you find stiff, rectangular walks, and straight, narrow avenues. In his garden the
yews and hollies still retain their primeval figures; lions and unicorns guard the corners of his parterres, and a spread-eagle, of a remarkable growth, has his wings clipped, and his talons pared, the first Monday of every month during spring and summer.
The contempt in which, to a somewhat unreasonable degree, he holds modern re