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I had no
I had almost weaned myself from this, she came in shift-sleeves, and dressed at the window. way left but to let down my curtains, which I submitted to, though it considerably darkened my room, and was pleased to think that I had at last got the better of her ; but was surprised the next morning to hear her talking out of her window quite across the street, with another woman that lodges over me. I am since informed that she made her a visit, and got acquainted with her within three hours after the fall of my window-curtains.
Sir, I am plagued every moment in the day, one way or other, in my own chambers; and the Jezebel has the satisfaction to know, that though I am not looking at her, I am listening to her impertinent dialogues, that pass over my head. I would immediately change my lodgings, but that I think it might look like a plain confession that I am conquered ; and besides this, I am told that most quarters of the town are infested with these creatures. If they are so, I am sure it is such an abuse, as a lover of learning and silence ought to take notice of.
'I am, Sir, yours, &c.' I am afraid, by some lines in this letter, that my young student is touched with a distemper which he hardly seems to dream of, and is too far gone in it to receive advice. However, I shall animadvert in due time on the abuse which he mentions, having myself observed a nest of Jezebels near the Temple, who make it their diversion to draw up the eyes of young Templars, that at the same time they may see them stumble in an unluckly gutter which runs under the window.
• I Have lately read the conclusion of your forty-seventh speculation upon butts with great pleasure, and have ever since been thoroughly persuaded that one of these gentlemen is extremely necessary to 'enliven conversation. I had an entertainment last week
upon the water for a lady to whom I make my addresses, with several of our friends of both
To divert the company in general, and to shew my mistress in particular my genius for raillery, I took one of the most celebrated butts in town along with me. It is with the utmost shame and confusion that I must acquaint you with the sequel of my adventure. As soon as we were got into the boat, I played a sentence or two at my butt which I thought very smart, when my ill genius, who I verily believe inspired him purely for my destruction, suggested to him such a reply, as got all the laughter on his side. I was dashed at so unexpected a turn; which the butt perceiving, resolved not to let me recover myself, and pursuing
his victory, rallied and tossed me in a most unmerciful and barbarous manner until we came to Chelsea. I had some small success while we were eating cheesecakes; but coming home, he renewed his attacks with his former good fortune, and equal diversion to the whole company. In short, sir, I must ingenuously own that I never was so handled in all my life; and to complete my misfortune, I am since told that the butt, flushed with his late victory, has made a visit or two to the dear object of my wishes, so that I am at once in danger of losing all
my pretensions to wit, and my mistress into the bargain. This, sir, is a true account of my present troubles, which you are the more obliged to assist me in, as you were
yourself in a great measure the cause of them, by recommending to us an instrument, and not instructing us at the same time how to play upon it.
* I have been thinking whether it might not be highly convenient, that all butts should wear an inscription affixed to some part of their bodies, shewing on which side they are to be come at, and that if any of them are persons of unequal tempers, there should be some method taken to inform the world at what time it is safe to attack them, and when you had best let them alone.
But, submitting these matters to your more serious consideration,
· I am, Sir, yours, &c.'
I have, indeed, seen and heard of several young gentlemen under the same misfortune with my present correspondent. The best rule I can lay down for them to avoid the like calamities for the future, is thoroughly to consider, not only whether their companions are weak, but whether themselves are wits.
The following letter comes to me from Exeter, and being credibly informed that what it contains is matter of fact, I shall give it my reader as it was sent to me :
• Exeter, Sept. 7. You were pleased in a late speculation to take notice the inconvenience we lie under in the country, in not being able to keep pace with the fashions. But there is another misfortune which we are subject to, and is no less grievous than the former, which has hitherto escaped your observation. I mean, the having things palmed upon us for London fashions, which were never once heard of there.
A lady of this place had some time since a box of the newest ribbands sent down by the coach. Whether it was her own malicious invention, or the wantonness of a London milliner, I am not able to inform you; but, among the rest, there was one cherry-coloured ribband, consisting of about half a dozen yards, made up in the figure of a small headdress. The aforesaid lady had the assurance to affirm amidst a circle of female inquisitors, who were present at the opening of the box, that this was the newest fashion worn at court. Accordingly the next Sunday, we had several females, who came to church with their heads dressed wholly in ribbands, and looked like so many victims ready to be sacrificed. This is still a reigning mode among us. At the same time we have a set of gentlemen who take the liberty to appear in all public places without any buttons to their coats, which they supply with several little silver hasps, though our freshest advices from London make no mention of any such fashion; and we are something shy of affording matter to the buttonmakers for a second petition.
• What I would humbly propose to the public is, that there may be a society erected in London, to consist of the most skilful persons of both sexes,
for the inspection of modes and fashions; and that hereafter no person or persons shall presume to appear singularly habited in any part of the country, without a testimonial from the aforesaid society, that their dress is answerable to the mode at London. By this means, sir, we shall know a little whereabout
If you could bring this matter to bear, you
would very much oblige great numbers of your country friends: among the rest,
humble servant, JACK MODISII.'
N° 176. FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 1711.
Parvula, pumilio, xágítwy pia, tota merum sal.
. LUCR. iv, 1155. A little pretty, witty, charming she !
THERE are in the following letter matters, which I, a bachelor, cannot be supposed to be acquainted with: therefore shall not pretend to explain upon it until farther consideration, but leave the author of the epistle to express his condition his own way.
"I do not deny but you appear in many of your papers to understand human life pretty well ; but there are very many things which you cannot possibly have a true notion of, in a single life; these are such as respect the married state; otherwise I cannot account for your having overlooked a very good sort of people, which are commonly called in scorn “ the Hen-peckt.” You are to understand that I am one of those innocent mortals who suffer derision under that word, for being governed by the best of wives. It would be worth your consideration to enter into the nature of affection itself, and tell us, according to your philosophy, why it is that our dears shall do as they will with us, shall be froward, ill-natured, assuming, sometimes whine, at others rail, then swoon away, then come to life, have the use of speech to the greatest fluency imaginable, and then sink away again, and all because they fear