« PreviousContinue »
N° 77. Thursday, October 6, 1709.
From my own Apartment, Odeber 5.
AS bad as the world is, I find by very strict observation upon virtue and vice, that if men appeared no worse than they really are, I should have less work than at present I am obliged to undertake for their reformation. They have generally taken up a kind of inverted ambition, and affect even faults and imperfections of which they are innocent. The other day in a coffeehouse I stood by a young heir, with a fresh, sanguine, and healthy look, who entertained us with an account of his claps and his diet-drink; though, to my know-, ledge, he is as found as any of his tenants.
This worthy youth put me into reflections upon that subject; and I observed the fantastical humour to be so general, that there is hardly a man who is not more or less tainted with itk The first of this order of men are the Valetudinarians, who are riever in health; but complain of want of stomach or rest every day until noon, and then devour all which comes before them. Lady Dainty is convinced, that it is necessary for a Gentlewoman to, be out of order; and to preserve that character, she dines every day in her closet at twelve, that me may become her table at two, and be unable to eat in public. About, five years ago, I remember it was the fashion to be>slinrtfighted. A man would not own an acquaintance until he had first examined him with his glass. At a Lady's, entrance into the play-house, you might see tubes immediately levelled at her from every quarter of the pit arid side-boxes. However, that mode of infirmity is out, and the age has recovered its fight: But the blind seem to be succeeded by the lame, and ifc janty limp is the present beauty. I think I have formerly observed, a cane is part of the dress of a prig, and always worn upon H 4 a button,
a Dutton, for fear he should be thought to have an occasion for it, or be esteemed really, and not genteely a cripple. I have considered, but could never find out the bottom of his vanity. I indeed have heard of a Gascon General, who by the lucky grazing of a bullet on the roll of his stocking, took occasion to halt all his life after. But as for our peaceable cripples,' I know no foundation for their behaviour, without it may be supposed that in this warlike age, some think a cane the next honour to a wooden leg. This sort of affectation I have known run from one limb or member to another. Before theLimpers came in, I remember a race of Lifpers, fine persons, who took an aversion to particular letters in our language: Some never uttered the letter H; and others had as mortal an aversion to S. Others have had their fashionable defect in their ears, and would make you repeat all you said twice over. I know an ancient friend of mine, whose table is every day surrounded with flatterers, that makes use of this", sometimes as a piece of grandeur, and at others as an art, to make them repeat their commendations. Such affectations have been indeed in the world in ancient times; but they fell into them out of politic ends. Alexander the Great had a •wry neck, which made it the fashion in his court to carry their heads on one side when they came into the presence. One who thought to outshine the whole court, carried his head so over complaisantly, that this martial Prince <rave him so-great a box on the ear, as set all the head* of the court upright.
1 his humour takes place in our minds as well as bodies. I know at this time a young Gentleman, who talks atheistically all day in coffee-houses, and in his degrees of understanding sets up for a Free-thinker; though it can be proved upon him, he fays bis prayers every morning and evening. But this class of modern Wits J shall reserve for a chapter by itself.
Of the like turn are all your Marriage-haters, who rail at the noose, at the words, " for ever and aye," and at the fame time are secretly pining for some young Thing or other that makes their hearts ake by her refusal. The next to these, are such as pretend to govern their wives, and boast how ill they use them; when at the same time, go to their houses, and you (hall fee them step as if they feared making a noise, and are as fond as an Alderman. I do not know, but sometimes these pretences may arise from a desire to conceal a contrary defect than that they set up for. I remember,-when I was a young fellow, we had a companion of a very fearful complexion, who, when we fat in to drink, would desire us to take his sword from him when he grew saddled, for it was his misfortune to be quarrelsome.
There are many, many of these evils, which demand my observation; but because I have of late been thought somewhat too satirical, I shall give them warning, and declare to the whole world, that they are not true, but false hypocrites; and make it out, that they are good men in their hearts. The motive of this monstrous affectation in the abovementioned, and the like particulars, I take to proceed from that noble thirst of fame and reputation which is planted in the hearts of all men. As this produces elegant writings and gallant actions in men of great abilities, it also brings forth spurious productions in men who are not capable of distinguishing themselves by things which are really praise-worthy. As the desire of fame in men of true wit and gallantry shews itself in proper instances, the fame desire in men who have the ambition without proper faculties, runs wild, and discovers itself in a thousand extravagancies, by which they would signalize themselves from others, and gain a set of admirers. When I was a middle-aged man, there were many societies of ambitious young men in England, who, in their pursuits after fame, were every night employed in roasting Porters, smoaking Coblers,. knocking down Watchmen, overturning Constables, breaking Windows, blackening Sign-posts, and the like immortal enterprizes, that dispersed their reputation throughout the whole kingdom. One could hardly find a knocker at a door in a whole street after a midnight expedition of these Beaux Esprits. I was lately very much surprized by an account of my maid, who entered my bed-chamber this morning in a very great fright, and told me, she was afraid my parlour was haunted; for that she had found several panes of my windows broken, and the floor strewed with half-pence. I have
H 5" not not yet a full light into this new way, but am apt to think, that it is a generous piece of wit that some of my contemporaries make use of, to break windows, and leave money to pay for them.
St. James's Coffee-house, Otlcber 5.
I have no manner of news more than what the whole town had the other day; except that I have the original Letter of the Marshal Boufflirs to the French King, after the late battle in the woods, which I translate for the Jbenestt of the F.nglijh reader.
"f'| ^ HI S is to let your Majesty understand, that to "JL your immortal honour, and the destruction of *' the confederates, your troops have lost another battle; "Artagnan did wonders, Rohan performed miracles, "Guiche did wonders, Gattion performed miracles, the "whole army distinguished themselves, and every body *' did wonders. And to conclude the wonders of the= *' day, I can assure your Majesty, that though you "have lost the field of battle, you have not lost an inch *' of ground. The enemy marched behind us with re•* ipect, and we ran away from them as bold as lions."
Letters have been sent to Mr. Bkkerflajs, relating to the present state of the town of Bath, wherein the people of that place have desired him to call home the physicians. All gentlemen therefore of that profession are hereby directed to return forthwith to their places of practice; and the stage-coaches are required to take them in before other passengers, until there shall be a certificate signed by the Mayor or Mr. Poivel, that there are but two Doctors to one patient left in town.
N° 78. Saturday, October 8, 1709.
, From my own Apartment, OBoler 7.'
AS your painters, who deal in history-pieces, often entertain themselves upon broken sketches, and smaller flourishes of the pencil ; so I find some relief in striking out miscellaneous hints, and sudden starts of fancy, without any order or connexion, after having spent myself on more regular and elaborate dissertations. I am at present in this easy state of mind fat down to my scrutoir; where, for the better disposition of ray correspondence, I have writ upon every drawer the proper title of its contents; as hypocrisy, dice, patches, politics, love, duels, and so forth* My various advices are ranged under such several heads, saving only that I have a particular box for Pacokt, and another for Monoculus. I cannot but observe, that my duel-box, which is silled by the lettered men of honour, is so very ill spelt, that it is hard to decypher their writings. My love-box, though on a quite contrary subject, filled with the works of the fairest hands in Great-Britain, is almost as unintelligible. The private drawer, which is sacred to politics, has in it some of the most refined panegyrics and satires that any age has produced.
I have now before me several recommendations for places at my Table of Fame: Three of them are of an extraordinary nature, in which 1 find I am misunderstood, and shall therefore beg leave to produce them. They are from a quakes, a courtier, and a citizen.
"'T"1 H Y Lucubrations, as thou loveft to call them, "X have been perused by several of our friends, "who have taken offence: Forasmuch as thoaexcludest H 6 "out