My cold and pain in my head increasing, and the palate of my mouth falling, I was in great pain all night. My wife also was not well, so that a mayd was fain to sit up by her all night. Lay long in the morning, at last up, and amongst others comes Mr. Fuller, that was the wit of Cambridge, and Praevaricator1 in my time, and staid all the morning with me discoursing, and his business to get a man discharged, which I did do for him. Dined with little heart at noon, in the afternoon against my will to the office, where Sir G. Carteret and we met about an order of the Council for the hiring him a house, giving him 1000l. fine, and 70l. per annum for it. Here Sir J. Minnes took occasion, in the most childish and most unbeseeming manner, to reproach us all, but most himself, that he was not valued as Comptroller among us, nor did anything but only set his hand to paper, which is but too true; and every body had a palace, and he no house to lie in, and wished he had but as much to build him a house with, as we have laid out in carved worke. It was to no end to oppose, but all bore it, and after laughed at him for it. So home, and late reading “The Siege of Rhodes” to my wife, and then to bed, my head being in great pain and my palate still down.
- At the Commencement (Comitia Majora) in July, the Praevaricator, or Varier, held a similar position to the Tripos at the Comitia Minora. He was so named from varying the question which he proposed, either by a play upon the words or by the transposition of the terms in which it was expressed. Under the pretence of maintaining some philosophical question, he poured out a medley of absurd jokes and ‘personal ridicule, which gradually led to the abolition of the office. In Thoresby’s “Diary” we read, “Tuesday, July 6th. The Praevaricator’s speech was smart and ingenious, attended with vollies of hurras” (see Wordsworth’s “University Life in the Eighteenth Century “).—M. B.