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great success in the world; though I may justly assure him, that I have related much the smallest number; my design having been only to single out such as will be of most benefit for public imitation, or whichr best served to give some idea of the reach and wit of the inventor. And therefore it need not be wondered at, if, by this time, Lord Peter was become exceeding rich: but, alas ! he had kept his brain so long and so violently upon the rack, that at last it shook itself, and began to turn round for a little ease. In short, what with pride, projects andknavery, poor Peter was grown distracted, and conceived the strangest imaginations in the world. In the height of his fits, as it is usual with those who run mad out of pride, he would call himself God Almighty, * and sometimes monarch of the universe. I have seen him (says my author) take three old high-crowned hats, † and clap them all on his head three story high, with a huge bunch of keys at his girdle, I and an angling-rod in his hand. In which guise, whoever went to take him by the hand in the way of salutation, Peter with much grace, like a welleducated spaniel, would present them with his
* The pope is not only allowed to be the vicar of Christ, but by several divines is called God upon earth, and other blasphemous titles are given him.
* Esposes his titles. Bentley.
I The keys of the church. The church is here taken for the gate of Heaven; for the keys of Heaven are assumed by the pope in consequence of what our Lord said to Peter. “I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of Heaven.”
Ibid. The pope's universal monarchy, and his triple crown and fisher's ring. W. Wotton. VOL. XI.
foot; * and if they refused his civility, then he would raise it as high as their chaps, and give them a damned kick on the mouth, which has ever since been called a salute. Whoever walked by without paying him their compliments, having a wonderful strong breath, he would blow their hats off into the dirt. Mean time his affairs at home went upside down, and his two brothers had a wretched time; where his first boutade was, to kick both their wives one morning out of doors, and his own too; and in their stead, gave orders to pick up the first three strollers that could be met with in the streets. § A while after he nailed up the cellar-door; and would not allow his brothers a drop of drink to their victuals. || Dining one day at an alderman's in the city, Peter observed him expatiating, after the manner of his brethren, in the praises of his sirloin of beef. Beef, said the sage magistrate, is the king of meat; beef comprehends in it the quintessence of partridge, and quail, and venison, and pheasant, and plumb-pudding, and custard. When Peter came home, he would needs take the fancy of cooking up this doctrine into use, and apply the precept, in default of a sirloin, to his brown loaf: Bread, says he, dear brothers, is the staff of life; in which bread is contained, inclusive, the quintessence of beef, mutton, veal, venison, partridge, plumb-pudding, and custard : and, to render all complete, there is intermingled a due quantity of water, whose crudities are also corrected by yeast or barm ; through which means it becomes a wholesome fermented liquor, diffused through the mass of the bread. Upon the strength of these conclusions, next day at dinner, was the brown loaf served up in all the formality of a city feast. Come, brothers, said Peter, fail to, and spare not; here is excellent good mutton ; * or hold, now my hand is in, I will help you.
* Neither does his arrogant way of requiring men to kiss his slipper escape reflection. W. Wotton.
+ This word properly signifies a sudden jerk, or lash of a horse, when you do not expect it.
§ Divorced the married priests, and allowed concubines. BENTLEY.
|| The pope's refusing the cup to the laity, persuading them that the blood is contained in the bread, and that the bread is the real and entire body of Christ.
At which word, in much ceremony, with fork and knife, he carves out two good slices of a loaf, and presents each on a plate to his brothers. The elder of the two, not suddenly entering into Lord Peter's conceit, began with very civil language to examine the mystery. My lord, said he, I doubt, with great submission, there may be some mistake. What, says Peter, you are pleasant; come then, let us hear this jest your head is so big with. None in the world, my lord ; but, unless I am very much deceived, your lordship was pleased a while ago to let fall a word about mutton, and I would be glad to see it with all my heart. How, said Peter, appearing in great surprise, I do not comprehend this at all. --- Upon which, the younger interposing to set the business aright; My lord, said he, my brother I suppose is hungry, and longs for the mutton your lordship has promised us to dinner. Pray, said Peter, take me along with you ; either you are both mad, or disposed to be merrier than I approve of; if you there do not like your piece, I will carve you another ; though I should take that to be the choice bit of the whole shoulder. What then, my lord, replied the first, it seems this is a shoulder of mutton all this while. Pray, sir, says Peter, eat your victuals, and leave off your impertinence, if you please, for I am not disposed to relish it at present: but the other could not forbear, being overprovoked at the affected seriousness of Peter's countenance : By G-, my lord, said he, I can only say, that to my eyes, and fingers, and teeth, and nose, it seems to be nothing but a crust of bread. Upon which the second put in his word: I never saw a piece of mutton in my life so nearly resembling a slice from a twelve-penny loaf. Look ye, gentlemen, cries Peter in a rage, to convince you what a couple of blind, positive, ignorant, wilful puppies you are, I will use but this plain argument; by GM, it is true, good, natural mutton as any in Leadenhall market; and G-confound you both eternally, if you offer to believe otherwise. Such a thundering proof as this left no farther room for objection; the two unbelievers began to gather and pocket up their mistake as hastily as they could. Why, truly, said the first, upon more mature consideration.-Ay, says the other, interrupting him, now I have thought better on the thing, your lordship seems to have a great deal of reason. Very well
* Transubstantiation. Peter turns his bread into mutton, and according to the popish doctrine of concomitants, his wine too, which in his way he calls palming his damned crusts upon the brothers for multon, W. Wotron.
Ibid. This page and the two following contain a representation of the absurdities of transubstantiation, which the pope will not sufder to be disputed. BENTLEY.
, said Peter; here, boy, fill me a beer-glass of claret; here's to you both with all my heart. The two brethren, much delighted to see him so readily appeased, return
ed their most humble thanks, and said they would be glad to pledge his lordship. That you shall, said Peter; I am not a person to refuse you any thing that is reasonable : wine, moderately taken, is a cordial; here is a glass a piece for you; it is true natural juice from the grape, none of your damned vintners' brewings. Having spoke thus, he presented to each of them another large dry crust, bidding them drink it off, and not be bashful, for it would do them no hurt. The two brothers, after having performed the usual office in such delicate conjunctures, of staring a sufficient period at Lord Peter and each other, and finding how matters were likely to go, resolved not to enter on a new dispute, but let him carry the point as he pleased : for he was now got into one of his mad fits, and to argue or expostulate farther, would only serve to render him a hundred times more untractable.
I have chosen to relate this worthy matter in all its circumstances, because it gave a principal occasion to that great and famous rupture, * which happened about the same time among these brethren, and was never afterwards made up. But of that I shall treat at large in another section.
However it is certain, that Lord Peter, even in his lucid intervals, was very lewdly given in his common conversation, extreme wilful and positive, and would at any time rather argue to the death, than allow hiinself once to be in an error. Besides, he had an abominable faculty of telling huge palpable lies upon all occasions; and not
* By this rupture is meant the Reformation,
The Reformation. BENTLEY.