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N° 20. Thursday, May 26, 1709.
While's Cbrcolate-house, May 24. „
IT is not to be imagined how far prepossession will run away with people's understandings, in cases wherein they are under present uneasinesses. The following narration is a sufficient testimohy of the truth of this observation.
I had the honour the other day of a visit from a Gentlewoman (a stranger to me) who seemed to be about thirty. Her complexion is brown; but the air of her face has an agreeableness which surpasse: the beauties of the fairest women. There appeared in her look and aiien a sprightly health; and her eyes had too much vivacity to become the language of complaint, which ihe began te enter into. She seemed sensible of it; and therefore, with downcast looks, laid she, Mr. Bkkerftaff, you see before you the unhappiest of women; and therefore, as you are esteemed by all ihe world both a great civilian, as well as an astrologer, 1 must desire your advice and assistance, in putting me in a method of obtaining a Divorce from a marriage, which I know the law will pronounce void. Madam, faid I, your grievance is of such a nature, that you must be very ingenuous in representing the causes of your complaint, or I cannot give you the fatisfaction you desire. Sir, she answers, I believe there would be no need of half your skill in the art of divination, to guess why a woman would part from her husband. It is true, faid 1, but suspicions, or guesses at what you mean, nay certainty of it, except you plainly speak it, are no foundation for a formal suit. She clapped her fan before her face; my husband, faid Ihe, is no more an husband (here she bursts into tears) than one of the Italian singers.
Madam, faid I, the affliction you complain of is to be redressed by law; but, at the fame time, consider what mortisications you are to go through in bringing it into open Court; how will you be able to bear the impertinent whispers of the people present at the trial, the licentious reflections of the pleaders, and the interpretations that will in general be put upon your conduct by all the world? how little (will they fay) could that Lady command her passions! besides, consider, that curbing our desires is the greatest glory we can arrive at in this world, and will be most rewarded in the next. She answered, like a prudent matron, Sir, if you please to remember the office of matrimony, the first cause of its institution is that of having posterity: Therefore, as to the curbing desires, I am willing to undergo any abstinence, from food as you please to enjoin me; but I cannot, with any quiet of mind, live in the neglect of a . necessary duty, and an express commandment, Increase and Multiply. Observing me was learned, and knew so well the duties of lise, I turned my argument rather to dehort her from this public procedure by examples, than precepts. Do but consider, Madam, what crouds of beauteous women live in nunneries, secluded forever from the sight and converfation of men, with all the alacrity of spirit imaginable; they spend their time in heavenly raptures, in constant and. frequent devotions, and at proper hours in agreeable converfations. Sir, said she hastily, tell not me of Papists, or any of their idolatries. Well then, Madam, consider how many sine Ladies live innocently in the eye of the world, and this gay town, in the midst of temptation: There is the
.witty Mrs, W m is a Virgin of forty-four, Mrs.
T -s is thirty-nine, Mrs. L ' ce thirtythree; yet you see they laugh, and are gay, at the Park,, .at the Play-house, at Balls, and at Visits;- and sr> much ?t ease, that all this seems hardly a self-denial.. Mr. Bickerstaff, faid she, with some emotion, you are an excellent Casuist; but the last word destroyed your-whole argument; if it is not self-denial, it is no virtue. I presented you with an half-guinea, in hopes not only to nave my Conscience eased, but my Fortune told. Yei n-Well, Madam, faid I, pray of what age is your huf
1 '.I' band? band? he is, replied my injured client, sifty; and I have been his wise sifteen years. How happened it you never communicated your distress, in all this time, to your friends and relations? she answered, he has been' thus but a fortnight. I am the most serious man in the world to look at, and yet could not forbear laughing out. Why, Madam, in cafe of Insirmity, which pro-, ceeds only from age, the Law gives no remedy. Sir, faid she, 1 sind you have no more learning than Dr. Case; and I am told of a young man, not sive and twenty, juit come from Oxford, to whom I will communicate this whole matter, and doubt not but he will appear to have seven times more usesul and fatisfactory knowledge than you and all your boasted family. Thus I have entirely lost my client: But if this tedious narrative preserves P-astorella from the intended marriage with one twenty years her senior—To fave a sine Lady, I am contented to have my learning decried, and my predictions bound up with Poor Robin's Almanack.
mil's Coffee-house, May 25.
This evening was acted The Recruiting Officer, in which Tjlcourt's proper sense and observation is what supports the Play. There is not, in my humble opinion, thw humous hit in Serjeant Kite; but it is admirably supplied by his action. If 1 have skill to judge., that man • is an.excellent actor; but the croud of the audience are sitter for representations at May-fair, than a Theatre Royal. Yet that fair is now broke, as well as the theatre is breaking: But it is allowed still to sell animals there. Therefore, if any Lady or Gentleman have occasion for a tame elephant, let them, enquire of Mr. Pinhetbman, who has one to dispose os at a reasonable rate. The downfal of May-fair has quite sunk the price of this noble creature, as well as of many other curiosities of Nature. A tyger will sell almost as cheap as an ox; and I am credibly informed, a man may purchase a cat with three legs, for very near the value of one with four. I hear likewise, that there is a great desolation among the Gentlunen and Ladies who were the ornaments tf the to,vn, and used to shine in p.lumes and diadems;
dems; the Heroes being most of them pressed, and the Queens beating hemp. Mrs. Sarabrand, so famous for her ingenious puppet-show, has set up a shop in the Exchange, where site sells her little troop under the term of jointed babies. I could not but be solicitous to know of her, how she had disposed of that rake-hell Punch, whose lewd lise and converfation had given so much scandal, and did not a little contribute to the ruin of the Fair. She told me, with a sigh, that despairing of ever reclaiming him, Ihe would not ofser to place him in a civil family, but got him in a post upon a stall in Wapping, where he may be seen from sun-rising to sun-setting, wjth a glass in one hand, and a pipe in the other, as centry to a brandy-shop. The great revolutions of this nature bring to my mind the distresses of the unfortunate Camilla, who has had the ill luck to break before her voice, and to difappear at a time when her beauty was in the height of its bloom. This Lady entered so thoroughly into the great characters me acted, that when she had finished her part, Ihe could not think of retrenching her equipage,, but would appear in her own lodgings with the fame magnisicence that Ihe did upon the Stage. This greatness of Soul has reduced that unhappy Princess to an involuntary retiremeBt, where she now passes her time among the woods and forests, thinking, on the crowns and scepters Ihe has lost, and often humming over in her solitude,
I was horn of royal race,
Yet must wander in disgrace, &c.
But for sear of being over-heard, and her Quality known, she usually iings in Italian,
Nacqui al regne, nacqui al Irene,
1 iiinturata pajiorelJa——
Since I have touched upon this subject, I stiall communicate to my reader part of a Letter I have received from an ingenious friend at Amftirdam, where there is a very noble theatre; though the manner of famishing it
wyh with Actors is something peculiar to that place, and gives us occasion to admire both the politeness and frugality of that people.
-'- ly/f Y Friends have kept me here a week longef "X » A tnan ordinary, to see orre of their Plays, which "was persormed last night with great applause. The "Actors are all of them tradesmen; who, after their "day's work is over, earn about a guilder a night by '' personating Kings and Generals. The Hero of the "Tragedy I saw was a journeyman-tailor, and his sirst
Minister of State a coffee-man. The Empress made '' me think of Parthenope'm the Rehearsal; sor her rr.o"ther keeps an alehouse in the suburbs of Amsterdam. "When the Tragedy was over, they entertained us "with a short farce, in which the cobler did his. part to "a miracle; but upon enquiry, I sound he had really "been working at his own trade, and representing on '' the Stage what he acted every day in his shop. The
prosits of the theatre maintain an hospital; sor as -'' they do not think the prosession of an Actor here the "only trade that a man ought to exercise; so they will *' not allow any body to grow rich in a prosession, that,
in their opinion, so little conduces to the good of the "commonwealth. If I am not mistaken, your play"houses in England have done the fame thing; sor, un"less I am misinsormed, the hospital at Dulvvich was "erected and endowed by Mr. Allen, a Player: And it "is also faid, a famous fire-tragedian has settled her "estate, after her death, sor the maintenance of decayed
Wits, who are to be taken in as soon as they grow "' chill, at whatever time of their lise that shall happen."
St. Jamer's Cosfee-house, May 25.
Letters from the Ffag*v of the thirty-sirst instant, N. S. fay, that the articles preliminary to a general peace were settled, communicated to the States General, and all the foreign Ministers residing there, and transmitted to their respective Masters on the twenty-eighth. Monsieur Torcy immediately returned to the Court of France, from whence he i» expectedagain.on. the fourth of the