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deserve your attention more than any thing I have yet said. I find that in the discourse which I spoke of at the beginning of my letter, you are against filling an English garden with evergreens; and indeed I am so far of your opinion, that I can by no means think the verdure of an ever-green comparable to that which shoots out naturally, and clothes our trees in the summerseason. But I have often wondered that those who are like myself, and love to live in gardens, have never thought of contriving a winter-garden, which would consist of such trees only as never cast the leaves. We have very often little snatches of sunshine and fair weather in the most uncomfortable parts of the year, and have frequently several days in November and January that are as agreeable as any in the finest months. At such times, there. fore, I think there could not be a greater pleasure, than to walk in such a winter-garden as I have proposed. In the summerseason the whole country blooms, and is a kind of garden, for which reason we are not so sensible of those beauties that at this time may be every where met with ; but when nature is in her desolation, and presents us with nothing but bleak and barren prospects, there is something unspeakably chearful in a spot of ground which is covered with trees that smile amidst all the rigours of winter, and give us a view of the most gay season in the midst of that which is the most dead and melancholy. I have so far indulged myself in this thought, that I have set apart a whole acre of ground for the executing of it. The walls are covered with ivy instead of vines. The laurel, the hornbeam, and the holly, with many other trees and plants of the same nature, grow so thick in it, that you cannot imagine a more lively scene. The glowing redness of the berries, with which they are hung at this time, vies with the verdure of their leaves, and are apt to inspire the heart of the beholder with that vernal delight which you have somewhere taken notice of in your former
papers. It is very pleasant, at the same time, to see the several kinds of birds retiring into this little green spot, and enjoying themselves among the branches and foliage, when my great garden, which I have before mentioned to you, does not afford a single leaf for their shelter.
“You must know, sir, that I look upon the pleasure which we take in a garden, as one of the most innocent delights in human life. A garden was the habitation of our first parents before the fall. It is naturally apt to fill the mind with calmness and tranquillity, and to lay all its turbulent passions at rest. It gives us a great insight into the contrivance and wisdom of Providence, and suggests innumerable subjects for meditation. I cannot but think the very complacency and satisfaction which a man takes in these works of nature, to be a laudable, if not a virtuous habit of mind. For all which reasons I hope you will pardon the length of my present letter."
“I am, sir," &c.
No. 481. THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 11.
Hop, 1 Sat. vil. 19.
It is sometimes pleasant enough to consider the different notions, which different persons have of the same thing. If men of
. We see, by this agreeable paper, that the author valued himself on the hint, before given, in No. 114, on the manner of laying out gardens. But the praise of having invented this species of gardening, is a poor thing, when compared with that elegant and virtuous habit of mind, which disposed and qualified him for the enjoyment of such simple pleasures.-H.
low condition very often set a value on things which are not prized by those who are in a higher station of life, there are many things these esteem which are in no value among persons of an inferior rank. Common people are, in particular, very much astonished, when they hear of those solemn contests and debates, which are made among the great upon the punctilios of a public ceremony; and wonder to hear that any business of consequence should be retarded by those little circumstances, which they represent to themselves as trifling and insignificant. I am mightily pleased with a porter's decision in one of Mr. Southern's plays, which is founded upon that fine distress of a virtuous woman's marrying a second husband, while her first was yet living. The first husband, who was supposed to have been dead, returning to his house after a long absence, raises a noble perplexity for the tragic part of the play. In the mean while, the nurse and the porter conferring upon the difficulties that would ensue in such a case, honest Sampson thinks the matter may be easily decided, and solves it very judiciously, by the old proverb, that if his first master be still living, ' The man must have his mare again. There is nothing in my time which has so much surprised and confounded the greatest part of my honest countrymen, as the present controversy between Count Rechteren and Monsieur Mesnager, which employs the wise heads of so many nations, and holds all the affairs of Europe in suspense.
Upon my going into a coffee-house yesterday, and lending an ear to the next table, which was encompassed with a circle of inferior politicians, one of them, after having read over the news very attentively, broke out into the following remarks. 'I am afraid (says he) this unhappy rupture between the footmen at Utrecht will retard the peace of Christendom. I wish the Pope may not be at the bottom of it. His holiness has a very good hand at fomenting a division, as the poor Swiss Cantons have
lately experienced to their cost. If Monsieur What-d'ye-callhim's domestics will not come to an accommodation, I do not know how the quarrel can be ended, but by a religious war.'
"Why truly,' says a wiseacre that sat by him,' were I as the king of France, I would scorn to take part with the footmen of either side: here's all the business of Europe stands still, because Monsieur Mesnager's man has had his head broke. If Count Rectrum had given them a pot of ale after it, all would have been well, without any of this bustle; but they say he is a warm man, and does not care to be made mouths at.'
Upon this, one, that had held his tongue hitherto, began to exert himself; declaring that he was very well pleased the plenipotentiaries of our Christian princes took this matter into their serious consideration; for that lacqueys were never so saucy and pragmatical, as they are now-a-days, and that he should be glad to see them taken down in the treaty of peace, if it might be done without prejudice to the public affairs.
One, who sat at the other end of the table, and seemed to be in the interest of the French king, told them, that they did not take the matter right, for that his most Christian Majesty did not resent this matter because it was an injury done to Monsieur Mesnager's footmen; 'for (says he) what are Monsieur Mesnager's footmen to him ? but because it was done to his subjects. Now (says he) let me tell you, it would look very odd for a subject of France to have a bloody nose, and his sovereign not to take notice of it. He is obliged in honour to defend his people against hostilities; and if the Dutch will be so insolent to a crowned head, as in any wise to cuff or kick those who are under his protection, I think he is in the right to call them to an account for it.'
This distinction set the controversy upon a new foot, and seemed to be very well approved by most that heard it, till a little warm fellow, who declared himself a friend to the house of Austria, fell most unmercifully upon his Gallic Majesty, as encourag. ing his subjects to make mouths at their betters, and afterwards skreening them from the punishment that was due to their insolence. To which he added that the French nation was so addicted to grimace, that if there was not a stop put to it at the gene. ral congress, there would be no walking the streets for them in a time of peace, especially if they continued masters of the West Indies. The little man proceeded with a great deal of warmth, declaring, that if the allies were of his mind, he would oblige the French king to burn his gallies, and tolerate the Protestant
religion in his dominions, before he would sheath his sword. He · concluded with calling Monsieur Mesnager an insignificant prig.
The dispute was now growing very warm, and one does not know where it would have ended, had not a young man of about one and twenty, who seems to have been brought up with an eye to the law, taken the debate into his hand, and given it as his opinion, that neither Count Rechteren nor Monsieur Mesnager had behaved themselves right in this affair. Count Rechteren, (says he) should have made affidavit that his servants had been affronted, and then Monsieur Mesnager would have done him justice, by taking away their liveries from them, or some other way that he might have thought the most proper; for let me tell you, if a man makes a mouth at me, I am not to knock the teeth out of it for his pains. Then again, as for Monsieur Mesnager, upon his servant's being beaten, why, he might have had his action of assault and battery. But as the case now stands, if you will have my opinion, I think they ought to bring it to referees.'
I heard a great deal more of this conference, but I must confess with little edification ; for all I could learn at last from these honest gentlemen, was that the matter in debate was of too high a nature for such heads as theirs, or mine, to comprehend.