Page images
PDF
EPUB

inpossible to speak it but the 6 and 'inust be loat, so it inight as well be blotted out. Bavius snatched his play out of their hands, said they were both blockheads, and went off ; repeating a couplet, because he would not make his exit irregular. A witty man of these days compared this true and feigned poet to the contending mothers before Solomon ; the true one was easily discovered from the pretender, by refusing to see his offspring dissected.

STEELE.

ON DUELS. No. 93.

I HAD several hints and advertisements from unknown hands, that some, who are enemies to my labours, design to demand the fashionable way of satisfaction for the disturbance my Lucubrations have given them. I confess, as things now stand, I do not know how to deny such inviters, and am preparing myself accordingly. I have bought pumps and files,, and am every morning practising in my chainber. My neighbour the dancing-master has demanded of me why I take this liberty, since I would not allow it him? But I answered, his was an act of an indifferent nature, and mine of necessity. My late treatises against duels have so far disobliged the fraternity of the noble science of defence, that I can get none of them to show me so much as one pass. I am therefore obliged to learn by book; and have accordingly several volumes, wherein all the postures are exactly delineated. I must confess, I am shy of letting people see me at this exercise, because of my fannel waistcoat, and my

spectacles,

spectacles, which I am forced to fix on the better to observe the posture of the enemy.

I have upon my chamber walls drawn at full length the figures of all sorts of men, from eight feet to three feet two inches. Within this height I take it that all the fighting men of Great Britain are comprehended. But as I push, I make allowances for my being of a lank and spare body, and have chalked out in every figure my own dimensions; for I scorn to rob any man of his life by taking advantage of his breadth : therefore I press purely in a line down from his nose, and take no more of him to assault than he has of me: for, to speak impartially, if a lean fellow wounds a fat one in any part to the right or left, whether it be in cart or in terse, beyond the dimensions of the said lean fellow's own breadth, I take it to be murder, and such à murder as is below a gentleman to commit. As I am spare, I am Also very tall, and behave myself with relation to that advantage with the same punctilio; and I ain ready to stoop or stand, according to the stature of my adversary. I must confess I have had great success this morning, and have hit every figure round the room in a mortal part, without receiving the least hurt, except a little scratch by falling on my face, in pushing at one at the lower end of my chamber; but I recovered so quick, and jumped so nimbly into my guard, that if he had been alive he could not have hurt me. It is confessed, I have writ against duels with some warmth; but in all my discourses I have not ever said that I knew how a gentleman could avoid a duel if he were provoked to it; and since that custom is now become'a law, I know nothing but the legislative power, with new animadversions upon it, can put us in a capacity of denying challenges, though we were afterVOL. I.

:D

.. wards wards hanged for it. But no more of this at present. As things stand, I shall put up no more affronts; and I shall be so far from taking ill words, that I will not take ill looks. I therefore warn all hot young fellows not to look. hereafter more terrible then their neighbours; for, if they stare at me with their hats cocked higher than other people, fwill not bear it. Nay, 1

give warning to all people in general to look kindly at me; for I will bear no frowns, even from ladies; and if any woman pretends to look scornfully at me, I shall demand satisfaction of the next of kin of the masculine gender.

ADDISON AND STERLE.

LADY BURNT IN THE PLAYHOUSE AT COPEN

HAGEN. No. 94.

CLARINDA and Chloe, two very fine women, were bred up as sisters in the family of Romeo, who was the fatherof Chloe, and the guardian of Clarinda. Philander, & young gentleman of a good person, and charming conversation, being a friend of old Romeo's, frequented his house, and by that means was much in conversation with the young ladies, though still in the presence of the father and the guardian. The ladies both entertained à secret passion for him, and could see well enough, notwithstanding the delight which he really took in Romeo's conversations, that there was something more in his heart which made him so assiduous a visitant. Each of them thought herself the happy woman; but the person beloved' was Chloe. It happened that both of them were at a play in a carnival evening, when it is the fashion there, as well as in most countries of Europe, both for men and women to appear in masks

and

and disguises. It was on that memorable night in the year 1679, when the playhouse by sume unhappy accident was set on fire. Philander, in the first hurry of the disaster, immediately ran where his treasure wasi burst open the door of the box, snatched the lady up in his arms, and with unspeakable resolution and good fortune carried lier off safe. He was no sooner out of the crowd, but he set her down ; aud grasping her in his arms, with all the raptures of a deserving lover, How happy am I, says he, in an opportunity to tell you I love you more than all things, and of showing you the sincerity of my passion at the very first declaration of it! My dear, dear Philander, says the lady, pulling off her mask, this is not a time for art; you are much dearer to me than the life you have preserved; and the joy of my present deliverance does not transport me so much as the passion which occasioned it. Who can tell the grief, the astonishment, the terror, that appeared in the face of Philander, when he saw the person he spoke to was Clarinda ? After a short pause, Madam, says he, with the looks of a dead man, we are both mistaken; and immediately flew away, without hearing the distressed Clarinda, who had just strength enough to cry out, Cruel Philander! why did you not leave me in the theatre? Crowds of people immediately gathered about her, and, after having brought her to herself, conveyed her to the house of the good old unhappy Romeo. Philander was now pressing against a whole tide of people at the doors of the theatre, and striving to enter with more earnesiness than any there endeavoured to get out. He did it at last, and with much difficulty forced his way to the box where his beloved Chloe stood, expecting her fate amidst this scene of terror and distraction. She revived at the sight of

D 2

Philander, Philander, who fell about her neck with a tenderness not to be expressed; and amidst a thousand sobs and sighs told her his love, and his dreadful mistake. The stage was now in flames, and the whole house full of smoke: the entrance was quite barred up with heaps of people, who had fallen upon one another as they endeavoured to get out: swords were drawn, shrieks heard on all sides; and, in short, no possibility of an escape for Philander himself, had he been capable of making it without his Chloe. But his mind was above such a thought, and wholly employed in weeping, condoling, and comforting. He catches her in his arms. The fire surrounds them, while I cannot go on

Were I an infidel, misfortunes like this would convince me that there must be an hereafter: for who can believe that so much virtue could meet with so great distress without a following reward *?

STEET

DOMESTIC HAPPINESS.

There are several persons who have many pleasures and entertainments in their possession which they do not enjoy. It is therefore a kind and good office to acquaint them with their own happiness, and turn their attention to such instances of their good fortune which they are apt to overlook. Persons in the married state osten want such a monitor; and pine away their days, by looking upon the same condition in anguish and murmur, which carries with it in the opinion of others

* This catastrophe is said to have really happened in Dennark.

« PreviousContinue »