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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
The True Characters of John Bull, Nic. Frog, and Hocus
By John Arbuthnot (1667–1735)
 
From ‘The History of John Bull,’ Part I

FOR the better understanding the following history, the reader ought to know that Bull, in the main, was an honest, plain-dealing fellow, choleric, bold, and of a very unconstant temper; he dreaded not old Lewis either at backsword, single falchion, or cudgel play; but then he was very apt to quarrel with his best friends, especially if they pretended to govern him. If you flattered him, you might lead him like a child. John’s temper depended very much upon the air; his spirits rose and fell with the weather-glass. John was quick and understood his business very well; but no man alive was more careless in looking into his accounts, or more cheated by partners, apprentices, and servants. This was occasioned by his being a boon companion, loving his bottle and his diversion; for, to say truth, no man kept a better house than John, nor spent his money more generously. By plain and fair dealing John had acquired some plums, and might have kept them, had it not been for his unhappy lawsuit.  1
  Nic. Frog was a cunning, sly fellow, quite the reverse of John in many particulars; covetous, frugal, minded domestic affairs, would pinch his belly to save his pocket, never lost a farthing by careless servants or bad debtors. He did not care much for any sort of diversion, except tricks of High German artists and legerdemain. No man exceeded Nic. in these; yet it must be owned that Nic. was a fair dealer, and in that way acquired immense riches.  2
  Hocus was an old, cunning attorney; and though this was the first considerable suit that ever he was engaged in, he showed himself superior in address to most of his profession. He kept always good clerks, he loved money, was smooth-tongued, gave good words, and seldom lost his temper. He was not worse than an infidel, for he provided plentifully for his family, but he loved himself better than them all. The neighbors reported that he was henpecked, which was impossible, by such a mild-spirited woman as his wife was.  3
 
 
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