The Tatler, Volume 1, 1899 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 475 pages of information about The Tatler, Volume 1, 1899.
chief justice (as we call it amongst us) in Faelicia.[196] He was a man of profound knowledge of the laws of his country, and as just an observer of them in his own person.  He considered justice as a cardinal virtue, not as a trade for maintenance.  Wherever he was judge, he never forgot that he was also counsel.  The criminal before him was always sure he stood before his country, and, in a sort, a parent of it.  The prisoner knew, that though his spirit was broken with guilt, and incapable of language to defend itself, all would be gathered from him which could conduce to his safety; and that his judge would wrest no law to destroy him, nor conceal any that could save him.  In his time, there were a nest of pretenders to justice, who happened to be employed to put things in a method for being examined before him at his usual sessions:  these animals were to Verus, as monkeys are to men, so like, that you can hardly disown them; but so base, that you are ashamed of their fraternity.  It grew a phrase, “Who would do justice on the justices?” That certainly would Verus.  I have seen an old trial where he sat judge on two of them; one was called Trick-Track, the other Tearshift;[197] one was a learned judge of sharpers, the other the quickest of all men at finding out a wench.  Trick-Track never spared a pickpocket, but was a companion to cheats:  Tearshift would make compliments to wenches of quality, but certainly commit poor ones.  If a poor rogue wanted a lodging, Trick-Track sent him to gaol for a thief:  if a poor whore went only with one thin petticoat, Tearshift would imprison her for being loose in her dress.  These patriots infested the days of Verus, while they alternately committed and released each other’s prisoners.  But Verus regarded them as criminals, and always looked upon men as they stood in the eye of justice, without respecting whether they sat on the bench, or stood at the bar.

Will’s Coffee-house, May 11

Yesterday we were entertained with the tragedy of “The Earl of Essex,"[198] in which there is not one good line, and yet a play which was never seen without drawing tears from some part of the audience:  a remarkable instance, that the soul is not to be moved by words, but things; for the incidents in this drama are laid together so happily, that the spectator makes the play for himself, by the force which the circumstance has upon his imagination.  Thus, in spite of the most dry discourses, and expressions almost ridiculous with respect to propriety, it is impossible for one unprejudiced to see it untouched with pity.  I must confess, this effect is not wrought on such as examine why they are pleased; but it never fails to appear on those who are not too learned in nature, to be moved by her first suggestions.  It is certain, the person and behaviour of Mr. Wilks[199] has no small share in conducing to the popularity of the play; and when a handsome fellow is going to a more coarse exit than beheading, his shape and countenance make every tender one reprieve him with all her heart, without waiting till she hears his dying words.

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The Tatler, Volume 1, 1899 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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