Page images

trance, which gave me the alarm; but he immediately said something so agreeably, on her being at

study, and the novelty of finding a lady employed in so grave a manner, that he on a sudden became

very familiarly a man of no consequence, and in an instant laid all her suspicions of his skill asleep, as he had almost done mine; until I observed him

very dangerously turn his discourse upon the elegance of her dress, and her judgment in the choice of that very pretty morning. Having had women before under my care, I trembled at the apprehension of a man of sense who could talk upon trifles, and resolved to stick to my post with all the circumspection imaginable. In short, I prepossessed her against all he could say to the advantage of her dress and person ; but he turned again the discourse, where I found I had no power over her, on

the abusing her friends and acquaintance. He al· lowed, indeed, that Flora had a little beauty, and a great deal of wit: but then she was so ungainly in her behaviour, and such a laughing hoyden! Pastorella had with him the allowance of being blameless; but what was that towards being praise-worthy ? To be only innocent, is not to be virtuous. He afterwards spoke so much against Mrs. Dipple's forehead, Mrs. Prim's mouth, Mrs. Dentrifice's teeth, and Mrs. Fidget's cheeks, that she grew downright in love with him: for it is always to be understood, that a lady takes all you detract from the rest of her sex to be a gift to her. In a word, things went so far that I was dismissed; and she will remember that evening nine months, from the sixth of April, by a very remarkable token. The next, as I said, I went to, was a common swearer. Never was a creature so puzzled as myself, when I came first to view his brain; half of it was worn out, and filled up with mere expletives, that had nothing to do with any other parts of the texture;

therefore, when he called for his cloaths in a morning, he would cry,

- John !' John does not answer. • What a plague! nobody there? What the devil, and rot me, John, for a lazy dog as you are!' I knew no way to cure him, but by writing down all he said one morning as he was dressing, and laying it before him on the toilet when he came to pick his teeth. The last recital I gave him, of what he said for half an hour before, was, What, a pox rot me! where is the wash-ball ? call the chairmen ! damn them, I warrant they are at the alehouse already! zounds! and confound them !' When he came to the glass, he takes up my note-Ha! this fellow is worse than I : what, does he swear with pen and ink?'. But, reading on, he found them to be his own words. The stratagem had so good an effect upon him, that he grew immediately a new man, and is learning to speak without an oath, which makes him extremely short in his phrases; for, as I observed before, a common swearer has a brain without any idea on the swearing side; therefore my ward has yet mighty little to say, and is forced to substitute some other vehicle of nonsense, to supply the defect of his usual expletives. When I left him, he made use of · Odsbodikins! Oh me! and Never stir alive!' and so forth ; which gave me hopes of his recovery. So I went to the next I told you of, the gamester. When we first take our place about a man, the receptacles of the pericranium are immediately searched. In his, I found no one ordinary trace of thinking ; but strong passion, violent desires, and a continued series of different changes, had torn it to pieces. There appeared no middle condition ; the triumph of a Prince, or the misery of a Beggar, were his alternate states. I was with him no longer than one day, which was yesterday. In the morning at twelve we worth four thousand pounds ; at three, we were ar


rived at six thousand; half an hour after, we were reduced to one thousand ; at four of the clock, we were down to two hundred; at five, to fifty; at six, to five; at seven, to one guinea : the next bet, to nothing. This morning he borrowed half a crown of the maid who cleans his shoes; and is now gaming in Lincoln's-Inn Fields among the boys for farthings and oranges, until he has made up three pieces, and then he returns to White's into the best company in town.”

Thus ended our first discourse; and, it is hoped, you will forgive me that I have picked so little out of my companion at our first interview. In the next, it is possible he may tell me more pleasing incidents; for though he is a familiar, he is not an evil spirit.

St. James's Coffee-house, May 9. We hear from the Hague of the fourteenth instant, N. S. that Monsieur de Torcy hath had frequent conferences with the Grand Pensioner, and the other ministers who were heretofore commissioned to treat with Monsieur Rouille. The preliminaries of a peace are almost settled, and the proceedings wait only for the arrival of the Duke of Marlborough ; after whose approbation of the articles proposed, it is not doubted but the methods of the treaty will be publicly known. In the mean time the States have declared an abhorrence of taking any step in this great affair, but in concert with the Court of Great Britain, and other Princes of the alliance. The posture of affairs in France does nécessarily oblige that nation to be very much in earnest in their offers; and Monsieur de Torcy hath professed to the Grand Pensioner, that he will avoid all occasions of giving him the least jealousy, of his using any address in private conversation for accomplishing the ends of his embassy. It is said, the treaty

that as soon as the preliminaries are adjusted, that minister is to return to the French Court. The States of Holland have resolved to make it an instruction to all their men of war and privateers, to bring into their ports whatever neutral ships they shall meet with, laden with corn, and bound for France; and, to avoid all cause of complaint from the Potentates to whom these ships shall belong, their full demand for their freight shall be paid them there. The French Protestants residing in that country have applied themselves to their respective magistrates, desiring that there may be an article in


may give liberty of conscience to the Protestants in France. Monsieur Bosnage, Minister of the Walloon church at Rotterdam, has been at the Hague, and hath had some conferences with the Deputies of the States on that subject. It is reported there, that all the French refugees in those dominions are to be naturalized, that they may enjoy the same good effects of the treaty with the Hollanders themselves, in respect of France.

Letters from Paris say, the people conceive great hopes of a sudden peace, from Monsieur Torcy's being employed in the negotiation ; he being a minister of too great weight in that Court to be sent on any employment in which his master would not act in a manner wherein he might justly promise himself

The French advices add, that there is an insurrection in Poictou, three thousand men have taken up arms, and beaten the troops which were appointed to disperse them : three of the mutineers being taken, were immediately executed; and as many of the King's party were used after the same

Our late acts of naturalization hath had so great an effect in foreign parts, that some Princes have prohibited the French refugees in their dominions



to sell or transfer their estates to any other of their subjects; and at the same time have granted them greater immunities than they hitherto enjoyed. It has been also thought necessary to restrain their own subjects from leaving their country, on pain of death.

N° 14. THURSDAY, MAY 12, 1709.


Quicquid agunt homines

nostri est farrago libelli.

Juv. Sat. i. 85, 86.
Whate'er men do, or say, or think, or dream,
Our motley paper seizes for its theme.

From my own Apartment, May 10. Had it not been that my familiar had appeared to me, as I told you in my last, in person, I had certainly been unable to have found even words without meaning, to keep up my intelligence with the town; but he has checked me severely for my despondence, and ordered me to go on in my design of observing upon things, and forbearing persons ; for, said he, the age you live in is such, that a good picture of any vice or virtue will infallibly be misrepresented; and though none will take the kind descriptions you make so much to themselves, as to wish well to the author, yet all will resent the ill characters you produce, out of fear of their own turn in the licence you must be obliged to take, if you point at particular persons. I took his admonition kindly, and immediately promised him to beg pardon of the author of the “ Advice to the Poets, for my raillery upon his work; though I aimed at no more in that examination, but to convince him, and all men of genius, of the folly of laying them

« PreviousContinue »