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The first thing we took notice of was a nobleman of a goodly and frank aspect, with his generous birth and temper visible in it, playing at cards with a creature of a black and horrid countenance, wherein were plainly delineated the arts of his mind, cozenage and falsehood. They were making their game with counters, on which we could see inscriptions, imperceptible to any but us. My Lord had scored with pieces of ivory, on which were writ “ Good Fame, Glory, Riches, Honour, and Posterity.” The spectre over-against him had on his counters the inscriptions of Dishonour, Impudence, Poverty, Ignorance, and Want of Shame.” “ Bless me," said I; sure my Lord does not see what he plays for?” • As well as I do,” says Pacolet. "He despises that fellow he plays with, and scorns himself for making him his companion.” At the very instant he was speaking, I saw the fellow, who played with my Lord, hide two cards in the roll of his stocking. Pacolet immediately stole them from thence; upon which the nobleman soon after won the game. The little triumph he appeared in, when he got such a trifling stock of ready money, though he had ventured so great sums with indifference, increased my admiration. But Pacolet began to talk to me. - Mr. Isaac, this to you
looks wonderful, but not at all to us higher beings; that nobleman has as many good qualities as any man of his order, and seems to have no faults but what, as I may say, are excresences from virtues. He is generous to a prodigality, more affable than is consistent with his quality, and courageous to a rash
Yet, after all this, the source of his whole conduct is (though he would hate himself if he knew it) mere avarice. The ready cash laid before the gamester's counters makes him venture, as you see, and lay distinction against infamy, abundance against want; in a word, all that is desirable my
against all that is to be avoided. However, said I, be sure you disappoint the sharpers to-night, and steal from them all the cards they hide. Pacolet obeyed me,
and Lord went home with their whole bank in his pocket.
Wills Coffee-house, May 13. To-night was acted a second time a comedy, called The Busy Body: this play is written by a lady. In old times, we used to sit upon a play here after it was acted; but now the entertainment is turned another way; not but there are considerable men in all ages, who, for some eminent quality or invention, deserve the esteem and thanks of the publick. Such a benefactor is a gentleman of this house; who is observed by the surgeons with much envy; and is ranked among, and received by the modern wits, as a great promoter of gallantry and pleasure. But, I fear, pleasure is less understood in this age, which so much pretends to it, than in any since the creation. It was admirably said of him, who first took notice, that (Res est severa voluptas) “ there is a certain severity in plea
Without that, all decency is banished; and if reason is not to be present at our greatest satisfactions, of all the race of creatures, the human is the most miserable. It was not so of old. When Virgil describes a wit, he always means a virtuous man; and all his sentiments of men of genius are such as show persons distinguished from the common level of mankind; such as place happiness in the contempt of low fears, and mean gratifications : fears which we are subject to with the vulgar; and pleasures which we have in common with beasts. With these illustrious personages, the wisest man was the greatest wit; and none was thought worthy of that character unless he answered this excellent description of the poet;
Qui- -metus omnes & inexorabile fatum
VIRG. Georg. ii. 492.
St. James's Coffee-house, May 13. We had this morning advice, that some English merchant ships, convoyed by the Bristol of fiftyfour guns, were met with by a part of Monsieur du Gui Trouin's squadron, who engaged the convoy. That ship defended itself until the English merchants got clear of the enemy; but being disabled, was herself taken. Within few hours after, my Lord Dursley came up with part of his squadron, and engaging the French, retook the Bristol (which, being very much shattered, sunk); and took the Glorieux, a ship of forty-four guns, as also a privateer of fourteen. Before this action, his Lordship had taken two French merchant-men, and had, at the dispatch of these advices, brought the whole safe into Plymouth.
N° 16. TUESDAY, MAY 17, 1709.
Quicquid agunt homines
nostri est farrago libelli.
Juv. Sat. i. 85, 86.
* The nick-name of a waiter at White's.
passes among the good company of that place; and allowed me to transcribe one of them, that seems to be writ by some of Sir Thomas's particular acquaintance, and is as follows: Dear Knight,
May 11, 1709. “I desire you would give my humble service to all our friends, which I speak of to you (out of method) in the very beginning of my epistle, lest the present disorders, by which this seat of gallantry and pleasure is torn to pieces, should make me forget it. You keep so good company, that you know Bath is stocked with such as come hither to be relieved from luxuriant health, or imaginary sickness; and consequently is always as well stowed with gallants, as invalids, who live together in a very good understanding. But the season is so early, that our fine company is not yet arrived: and the warm bath, which in heathen times was dedicated to Venus, is now used only by such as really want it for health's sake. There are, however, a good many strangers, among whom are two ambitious ladies, who, being both in the autumn of their life, take the opportunity of placing themselves at the head of such as we. are, before the Chloe's, Clarissa's, and Pastorella's come down. One of these two is excessively in pain, that the ugly being, called Time, will make wrinkles in spite of the lead forehead cloth; and therefore hides, with the gaiety of her air, the volubility of her tongue, and quickness of her motion, the injuries which it has done her. The other lady is but two years behind her in life, and dreads as much being laid aside as the former; and consequently has taken the necessary precautions to prevent, her reign over us. But she is very discreet, and wonderfully turned for ambition; being never apparently transported either with affection or 'malice. Thus, while Florimel is talking in publick, and spreading her graces in assemblies, to gain a popular dominion over our diversions, Prudentia visits very cunningly all the lame, the splenetic, and the superannuated, who have their distinct classes of followers and friends. Among these she has found, that somebody has sent down printed certificates of Florimel's age, which she has read and distributed to this unjoyful set of people, who are always enemies to those in possession of the good opinion of the company. This unprovoked injury done by Prudentia was the first occasion of our fatal divisions here, and a declaration of war between these rivals. Florimel has abundance of wit, which she has lavished in decrying Prudentia, and giving defiance to her little arts. For an instance of her superior power, she bespoke the play of Alexander the Great, to be acted by the company of strollers, and desired us all to be there on Thursday last. When she spoke to me to come, “ As you are,” said she, a lover, you will not fail the death of Alexander: the passion of love is wonderfully hit—Statira! O that happy woman-to have a conqueror at her feet! But
you will be sure to be there.” I, and several others, resolved to be of her party. But see the irresistible strength of that unsuspected creature, “a silent woman. Prudentia had counterplotted us, and had bespoke on the same evening the puppet-show of “ The Creation of the World*.” She had engaged every body to be there : and, to turn our leader into ridicule, had secretly let them know, that the puppet Eve was made the most like Florimel that ever was seen. On Thursday morning the puppet-drummer, Adam and Eve, and several others who lived before the flood, passed through
* A deformed cripple, of the name of Powel, was the master of a popular puppet show at this time, and made Punch utter many things, that would not have been endured in any other way of communication.