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No. 329 [Sir Roger At Westminster Abbey — from The Spectator]
by [?]

No. 329
Tuesday, March 18, 1712. Addison.

Ire tamen restat, Numa quo devenit et Ancus.


My friend Sir ROGER DE COVERLEY told me tother Night, that he had been reading my Paper upon Westminster Abby, in which, says he, there are a great many ingenious Fancies. He told me at the same time, that he observed I had promised another Paper upon the Tombs, and that he should be glad to go and see them with me, not having visited them since he had read History. I could not at first imagine how this came into the Knights Head, till I recollected that he had been very busy all last Summer upon Bakers Chronicle, which he has quoted several times in his Disputes with Sir ANDREW FREEPORT since his last coming to Town. Accordingly I promised to call upon him the next Morning, that we might go together to the Abby.

I found the Knight under his Butlers Hands, who always shaves him. He was no sooner Dressed, than he called for a Glass of the Widow Trueby’s Water, which he told me he always drank before he went abroad. He recommended me to a Dram of it at the same time, with so much Heartiness, that I could not forbear drinking it. As soon as I had got it down, I found it very unpalatable; upon which the Knight observing that I [had] made several wry Faces, told me that he knew I should not like it at first, but that it was the best thing in the World against the Stone or Gravel.

I could have wished indeed that he had acquainted me with the Virtues of it sooner; but it was too late to complain, and I knew what he had done was out of Good-will. Sir ROGER told me further, that he looked upon it to be very good for a Man whilst he staid in Town, to keep off Infection, and that he got together a Quantity of it upon the first News of the Sickness being at Dautzick: When of a sudden turning short to one of his Servants, who stood behind him, he bid him call [a [1]] Hackney Coach, and take care it was an elderly Man that drove it.

He then resumed his Discourse upon Mrs. Trueby’s Water, telling me that the Widow Trueby was one who did more good than all the Doctors and Apothecaries in the County: That she distilled every Poppy that grew within five Miles of her; that she distributed her Water gratis among all Sorts of People; to which the Knight added, that she had a very great Jointure, and that the whole Country would fain have it a Match between him and her; and truly, says Sir ROGER, if I had not been engaged, perhaps I could not have done better.

His Discourse was broken off by his Man’s telling him he had called a Coach. Upon our going to it, after having cast his Eye upon the Wheels, he asked the Coachman if his Axeltree was good; upon the Fellows telling him he would warrant it, the Knight turned to me, told me he looked like an honest Man, and went in without further Ceremony.

We had not gone far, when Sir ROGER popping out his Head, called the Coach-man down from his Box, and upon his presenting himself at the Window, asked him if he smoaked; as I was considering what this would end in, he bid him stop by the way at any good Tobacconists, and take in a Roll of their best Virginia. Nothing material happened in the remaining part of our Journey, till we were set down at the Westend of the Abby.

As we went up the Body of the Church, the Knight pointed at the Trophies upon one of the new Monuments, and cry’d out, A brave Man, I warrant him! Passing afterwards by Sir Cloudsly Shovel, he flung his Hand that way, and cry’d Sir Cloudsly Shovel! a very gallant Man! As we stood before Busby’s Tomb, the Knight utter’d himself again after the same Manner, Dr. Busby, a great Man! he whipp’d my Grandfather; a very great Man! I should have gone to him myself, if I had not been a Blockhead; a very great Man!