Page images
PDF
EPUB

"each other with effeminate airs: They have their signs "and tokens like Free-masons: They rail at woman"kind; receive visits on their beds in gowns, and do '.* a thoufand other unintelligible prettinesses that I can"not tell what to make of. I therefore heartily, desire "you would exclude all this fort of animals.

"There is another matter J foresee an ill consequence from, but may be timely prevented by prudence* *' which is, that for the last fortnight, prodigious shoal* ** of volunteers have gone over to bully the French, up"on hearing the peace was just signing; and this is so> "true, chat I can assure you, all engrossing work about "the Temple is risen above three shillings in the pound *' for want of hands. Now as it is possible, some little "alteration of asfairs may have broken their measures* "and that they will post back again, I am under the "last apprehension, that these will, at their return, all "set up for Pretty Fellows, and thereby confound all "merit and service, and impose on us some new altera"tion in our nightcaps, wigs, and pockets, unless you "can provide a particular class for them. I cannot "apply myself better than to you, and I am sure I ** speak the mind of a very great number, as deserving "as myself."

The pretensions of this correspondent are worthy,* particular distinction; he cannot indeed be admitted as a Pretty, but is, what we more justly call a Smart Fellow. Never to pay at the play-house in an act of frugality that lets you into his character; and his expedient in sending his children begging before they can go, are characterillical instances that he belongs to this class. I never faw the Gentleman; but 1 know by his letter, he hangs his cane on his button; and by some line* of it he should wear red-heeled shoes ; which are essential parts of the habit belonging to the order of Smart Fellows.

My Familiar is returned with the following letter frera

[graphic]

Versailles, June 13, 1709. Lewis the Fourteenth to Isaac Bjckerstajs, Esquire.

S I R,

"T Have your epistle, and must take the liberty to fay, "j[ that there has been a time, when they were ge** nerous spirits in Great-Britain, who would not have "suffered my name to be treated with the familiarity "you think sit to use. I thought liberal men would *' not be such time-servers, as to fall upon a man be"cause his friends are not in power. But having some

concern for what you may transmit to posterity conV cerning me, I am willing to keep terms with you., "and make a request to you, which is, that you would *' give my service to the nineteenth century, (if ever ** you or yours reach to them) and tell them, that I

have settled all matters between them and me by *' Monsieur Boileau. I should be glad to see you here."

It is very odd, this Prince should offer to invite me into his dominions, or believe I should accept the invitation. No, no, I remember too well how he served an ingenious Gentleman,, a friend of mine, whom he locked up in the Bnjlile for no reason in the world, but because Ire was a Wit, and seared he might mention him with justice in some of his writings. His way is, that all men of sense are preserred, banished, or imprisoned. He has indeed a fort of justice in him> like that of the gamesters; for if a stander- by sees one at play cheat, he has a right to come in for shares, as knowing the mysteries of the game.

This is a very wise and just maxim ; and if I have not Jest at Mr. Morpbcw's, directed to me, bank-bills for two hundred pounds, on or before this day seven-night, I shall tell how Tom Cajh got his estate. I expect three hundred pounds of Mr. Soilett, for concealing all the money he has lent to himself, and his landed friend bound with him, at thirty per Cent- at his scrivener's. Absolute Princes make people pay what they please in * * 'deserence. deserence to their power: I do not know why I mould not do the fame, out of sear or respect to my knowledge. 1 always .preserve decorums and civilities to the Fair Sex: Theresore, if a certain Lady, who left her coach at the New-Exchange door in the Strand, and whipt down Durham Yard into a boat with a young Gentleman sor Vaux-Hall; I fay, if she will send me word, that I may give the fan which she dropped, and I sound, to my sister Jenny, there mall be no more faid of it. I expect hush-money to be regularly sent sor every solly or vice any one commits in this whole town; and hope, I: may pretend to deserve it better than a chamber-maid or a Palet de Chambre: They only whisper it to the little set of their companions; but I can tell it to all men living, or who are to live. Theresore I desire all my readers to pay their sines, ar mend their lives.

Whites Chocolate-house, June 8,

My Familiar being come from France, with an answer to my letter to Lewis of that kingdom, instead of going on in a discourse of what he had seen in that Court, he put on the immediate concern of a guardian, and sell toenquiring into my thoughts and adventures since his-. journey. As short as his stay had been, I consessed I had had many occasions sor his assistance in my conduct; but commnnicated to him my thoughts of putting all my sorce against the horrid and senseless custom of Duels: If it were possible, faid he, to laugh at things in themselves so deeply tragical-as the impertinent prosusion of human lise, I think I could divert you with a sigure I faw just after my death, when the Philosopher threw me, zs I told you some days ago, into the pail of water.

"You are to know, that when men leave the body, "there are receptacles sor them as soon as they depart, "according to the mannerin which they lived and died. "At the very instant T was killed, there came away "with me a Spirit which had lost its body in a Duel. "We were both examined. Me the whole assembly "looked at with kindness and pity, but at the fame "time with an air of welcome and consolation: They "pronounced me very happy, who had died in inn-a

0 tencei "cence; and told me, a quite different place was al"lotted to me, than that which was appointed for my "companion; there being a great distance from the "mansions of fools and innocents: Though at the fame "time, faid one of the ghosts, there is a great affinity "between an idiot who has been so for a long lise, and "a child who departs before maturity. But this Gen"tleman who has arrived with you is a fool of his own, *' making, is ignorant out of choice, and will fare ac"cordingly- The assembly began to flock about him, "and one faid to him, Sir, I observed you came into "the gate of persons murdered, and I desire to know, "what brought you to your untimely end? He faid, he ** had been a Second. Socrates (who may be faid to "have been murdered by the commonwealth of Athens) "stood by, and began to draw near him, in order, af"ter his manner, to lead him into a sense of his error

by concessions in his own discourse. Sir, faid that "divine and amicable Spirit, What was the quarrel? ..*' he answered, We shall know very suddenly, when "the principal in the business comes, for he was def." perately wounded before I sell. Sir, faid the fage, "Had you an estate? Yes, Sir, the new guest an"swered, I have left it in a very good condition, and '* made my will the night before this occasion., Did "you read it before you signed it? Yes, sure, Sir, "faid the new comer. Socrates replies, could a man, "that would not give his estate without reading the in.** strument, dispose of his lise without asking a question i "That illustrious shade turned from him, and a croud "of impertinent goblins, who had been drolls and pa*' rasites in their lise-time, and were knocked on the "head for their fauciness, came about my sellow-tra"velier, and made themselves very merry with questions "about the words Cart and Terce, and other terms of "Fencers. But his thoughts began to settle into re"flection upon the adventure which had robbed him of

his late Being: And with a wretched sigh, faid he, "How terrible are conviction and guilt, when they come "too late for Penitence!"

Pacokt was going on in this strain, but he recovered .from it, and told me» << It was too soon to give my

"6 "discourse on this subject so serious a turn ; you have "chiefly to do with that part of mankind which must "he led into reflection by degrees, and you must treat "this custom with humour and raillery to get an audi"ence, before you come to pronounce sentence upon it. "There is foundation enough for raising sueH enter.'jLtainments from the practice on this occasion. Do "not you know that often a man is called out of bed to "follow implicitly a Coxcomb (with whom he would "not keep company on any other occasion) to ruin and

death? Then a good list of such, as are qualisied

"by the laws of these uncourteous men of chivalry to "enter into combat (who are often persons of honour "without common honesty): These, I fay, ranged "and drawn up in their proper order, would give an "aversion to doing any thing in common with such as "men laugh at and contemn. But to go through this. "work, you must not let your thoughts vary, or make "excursions from your theme: Consider at the fame "time, that the matter has been often treated by the "ablest and greatest Writers; yet that must not discou"rage you: For the properest person to handle it is "one, who has roved into mixed converfations, and "must have opportunities (which I shall give you) of "seeing these sort of men in their pleasures and gratisi"cations, among which, they pretend to reckon sight"ing. It was pleafantly enough faid cf a bully in ." France, when Duels sirst began to be punished: The "King has taken away gaming and stage-playing, and "now sighting too; how does he expect Gentlemen "shall divert themselves I" ,

Saturday,.

« PreviousContinue »