No. 132. Wednesday, August 1, 1711. Steele.

... Qui aut Tempus quid postulet non videt, aut plura loquitur,
aut se ostentat, aut eorum quibuscum est rationem non habet, is
ineptus esse dicitur.'

Having notified to my good Friend Sir ROGER that I should set out for London the next Day, his Horses were ready at the appointed Hour in the Evening; and attended by one of his Grooms, I arrived at the County-Town at twilight, in order to be ready for the Stage-Coach the Day following. As soon as we arrived at the Inn, the Servant who waited upon me, inquir'd of the Chamberlain in my Hearing what Company he had for the Coach? The Fellow answered, Mrs. Betty Arable, the great Fortune, and the Widow her Mother; a recruiting Officer (who took a Place because they were to go;) young Squire Quickset her Cousin (that her Mother wished her to be married to;) Ephraim the Quaker [1] her Guardian; and a Gentleman that had studied himself dumb from Sir ROGER DE COVERLEY'S. I observed by what he said of my self, that according to his Office he dealt much in Intelligence; and doubted not but there was some Foundation for his Reports of the rest of the Company, as well as for the whimsical Account he gave of me. The next Morning at Day-break we were all called; and I, who know my own natural Shyness, and endeavour to be as little liable to be disputed with as possible, dressed immediately, that I might make no one wait. The first Preparation for our Setting-out was, that the Captain's Half-Pike was placed near the Coach-man, and a Drum behind the Coach. In the mean Time the Drummer, the Captain's Equipage, was very loud, that none of the Captain's things should be placed so as to be spoiled; upon which his Cloake-bag was fixed in the Seat of the Coach: And the Captain himself, according to a frequent, tho' invidious Behaviour of Military Men, ordered his Man to look sharp, that none but one of the Ladies should have the Place he had taken fronting to the Coach-box.

We were in some little Time fixed in our Seats, and sat with that Dislike which People not too good-natured usually conceive of each other at first Sight. The Coach jumbled us insensibly into some sort of Familiarity: and we had not moved above two Miles, when the Widow asked the Captain what Success he had in his Recruiting? The Officer, with a Frankness he believed very graceful, told her,

'That indeed he had but very little Luck, and had suffered much by Desertion, therefore should be glad to end his Warfare in the Service of her or her fair Daughter. In a Word, continued he, I am a Soldier, and to be plain is my Character: You see me, Madam, young, sound, and impudent; take me your self, Widow, or give me to her, I will be wholly at your Disposal. I am a Soldier of Fortune, ha!'

This was followed by a vain Laugh of his own, and a deep Silence of all the rest of the Company. I had nothing left for it but to fall fast asleep, which I did with all Speed.

'Come, said he, resolve upon it, we will make a Wedding at the next Town: We will wake this pleasant Companion who is fallen asleep, to be [the] Brideman, and' (giving the Quaker a Clap on the Knee) he concluded, 'This sly Saint, who, I'll warrant, understands what's what as well as you or I, Widow, shall give the Bride as Father.'

The Quaker, who happened to be a Man of Smartness, answered,

'Friend, I take it in good Part that thou hast given me the Authority of a Father over this comely and virtuous Child; and I must assure thee, that if I have the giving her, I shall not bestow her on thee. Thy Mirth, Friend, savoureth of Folly: Thou art a Person of a light Mind; thy Drum is a Type of thee, it soundeth because it is empty. Verily, it is not from thy Fullness, but thy Emptiness that thou hast spoken this Day. Friend, Friend, we have hired this Coach in Partnership with thee, to carry us to the great City; we cannot go any other Way. This worthy Mother must hear thee if thou wilt needs utter thy Follies; we cannot help it, Friend, I say: if thou wilt we must hear thee: But if thou wert a Man of Understanding, thou wouldst not take Advantage of thy courageous Countenance to abash us Children of Peace. Thou art, thou sayest, a Soldier; give Quarter to us, who cannot resist thee. Why didst thou fleer at our Friend, who feigned himself asleep? he [said [2]] nothing: but how dost thou know what he containeth? If thou speakest improper things in the hearing of this virtuous young Virgin, consider it is an Outrage against a distressed Person that cannot get from thee: To speak indiscreetly what we are obliged to hear, by being hasped up with thee in this publick Vehicle, is in some Degree assaulting on the high Road.'

Here Ephraim paused, and the Captain with an happy and uncommon Impudence (which can be convicted and support it self at the same time) cries,

'Faith, Friend, I thank thee; I should have been a little impertinent if thou hadst not reprimanded me. Come, thou art, I see, a smoaky old Fellow, and I'll be very orderly the ensuing Part of the Journey. I was [going [3]] to give my self Airs, but, Ladies, I beg Pardon.'

The Captain was so little out of Humour, and our Company was so far from being sowered by this little Ruffle, that Ephraim and he took a particular Delight in being agreeable to each other for the future; and assumed their different Provinces in the Conduct of the Company. Our Reckonings, Apartments, and Accommodation, fell under Ephraim: and the Captain looked to all Disputes on the Road, as the good Behaviour of our Coachman, and the Right we had of taking Place as going to London of all Vehicles coming from thence. The Occurrences we met with were ordinary, and very little happened which could entertain by the Relation of them: But when I consider'd the Company we were in, I took it for no small good Fortune that the whole Journey was not spent in Impertinences, which to one Part of us might be an Entertainment, to the other a Suffering.

What therefore Ephraim said when we were almost arriv'd at London, had to me an Air not only of good Understanding but good Breeding. Upon the young Lady's expressing her Satisfaction in the Journey, and declaring how delightful it had been to her, Ephraim declared himself as follows:

'There is no ordinary Part of humane Life which expresseth so much a good Mind, and a right inward Man, as his Behaviour upon meeting with Strangers, especially such as may seem the most unsuitable Companions to him: Such a Man, when he falleth in the way with Persons of Simplicity and Innocence, however knowing he may be in the Ways of Men, will not vaunt himself thereof; but will the rather hide his Superiority to them, that he may not be painful unto them.

My good Friend, (continued he, turning to the Officer) thee and I are to part by and by, and peradventure we may never meet again: But be advised by a plain Man; Modes and Apparel are but Trifles to the real Man, therefore do not think such a Man as thy self terrible for thy Garb, nor such a one as me contemptible for mine.

When two such as thee and I meet, with Affections as we ought to have towards each other, thou should'st rejoice to see my peaceable Demeanour, and I should be glad to see thy Strength and Ability to protect me in it.'

[Footnote 1: The man who would not fight received the name of Ephraim from the 9th verse of Psalm lxxviii, which says:

'The children of Ephraim, being armed and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle.']

[Footnote 2: sayeth]

[Footnote 3: a going]

Translation of motto:
'That man may be called impertinent, who considers not the
circumstances of time, or engrosses the conversation, or makes himself
the subject of his discourse, or pays no regard to the company he is