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IN the reign of Queen Anne, (which, notwith
standing those * happy times which succeeded, every Englishman may remember,) thou may'st possibly, gentle reader, have seen a certain venerable person who frequented the outside of the palace of St. James's, and who, by the gravity of his deportment and habit, was generally taken for a decayed gentleman of Spain. His stature was tall, his visage long, his complexion olive, his brows were black and even, his eyes hollow yet piercing, his nose inclined to aquiline, his beard neglected and mixed with grey : All this contributed to spread a solemn melancholy over his countenance. Pythagoras was not more silent, Pyrrho more motionless, nor Zeno more austere. His wig was black and smooth as the plumes of a raven, and hung as straight as the hair of a river god rising from the water. His cloak so completely covered his whole person, that whether or no he had any other clothes (much less any linen) under it, I shall not say ; but his sword appeared a full yard behind him, and his manner of wearing it was so stiff, that it seemed grown to his thigh. His whole figure was so utterly unlike any thing of this world, that it was not natural for any man to ask him a question without blessing himself first. Those who never saw a Jesuit, took him for one, and others believed him some High Priest of the Jews. .
But under this macerated form was concealed a mind replete with science, burning with a zeal of benefiting his fellow-creatures, and filled with an honest conscious pride, mixed with a scorn of doing or suffering the least thing beneath the dignity of a philosopher. Accordingly he had a soul that would not let him accept of any offers of charity, at the same time that his body seemed but too much to require it. His lodging was in a small chamber up four pair of stairs, where he regularly paid for what he had when he eat or drank ; and he was often observed wholly to abstain from both. He declined speaking to any one, except the Queen, or her first minister, to whom he attempted to make some appli. cations ; but his real business or intentions were utterly unknown to all men. Thus much is certain, that he was obnoxious to the Queen's ministry ; who, either out of jealousy or envy, had him spirited away, and carried abroad as a dangerous person without any regard to the known laws of the kingdom. . One day, as this gentleman was walking about dinner-time alone in the Mall, it happened that a manuscript dropt from under his cloak, which my servant picked up, and brought to me. It was written in the Latin tongue, and contained many most profound secrets, in an unusual turn of reasoning and style. The first leaf was inscribed with these words, Codicillus, seu Liber Memorialis, Martini Scribleri. The book was of so wonderful a nature, that it is incredible what a desire I conceived that moment to be acquainted with the author, who I clearly perceived was some great philosopher in disguise. I several times endeavoured to speak to him, which he as often industriously avoided. At length I found an opportunity (as he stood under the piazza by the dancing-room in St. James's) to acquaint him in the Latin tongue, that his manuscript was fallen into my hands; and saying this, I presented it to him, with great encomiums on the learned author. Hereupon he took me aside, surveyed me over with a fixed attention, and opening the clasps of the parchment cover, spoke (to my great surprize) in English, as follows :