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N. B. The gentleman who stole Betty Pepin* may own it, for he is allowed to be “ a VERY Pretty Fellow.”
But we must proceed to the explanation of other terms in our writings.
To know what a Toast is in the country gives as much perplexity as she herself does in town: and indeed the learned differ very much upon the original of this word, and the acceptation of it among the moderns : however, it is by all agreed to have a joyous and cheerful import. A toast, in a cold morning, heightened by nutmeg, and sweetened with sugar, has for many ages been given to our rural dispensers of justice, before they entered upon causes, and has been of great and politic use to take off the severity of their sentences; but has, indeed, been remarkable for one ill effect, that it inclines those who use it immoderately to speak Latin; to the admiration rather than information of an audience. This application of a Toast makes it very obvious, that the word may, without a metaphor, be understood as an apt name for a thing which raises us in the most sovereign degree: but many of the wits of the last age will assert, that the word, in its present sense, was known among them in their youth, and had its rise from an accident at the town of Bath, in the reign of King Charles the Second.
It happened that, on a public day, a celebrated Beauty of those times was in the Cross Bath, and one of the crowd of her admirers took a glass of the water in which the fair one stood, and drank her health to the company. There was in the place a gay fellow half fuddled, who offered to jump in, and swore, though he liked not the liquor, he would have the toast. He was opposed in his resolution ; yet this whim gave foundation to the present honour which is done to the lady we mention in our liquors ; who has ever since been called a Toast.
* The kept mistress of a knight of the shire near Brentford, who squandered his estate on women, and in contested elections.
Though this institution had so trivial a beginning, it is now elevated into a formal order; and that happy virgin, who is received and drånk to at their meetings, has no more to do in this life but to judge and accept of the first good offer. The manner of her inauguration is much like that of the choice of a Doge in Venice: it is performed by balloting; and when she is so chosen, she reigns indisputably for that ensuing year; but must be elected anew to prolong her empire a moment beyond it. When she is regularly chosen, her name is written with a diamond on a drinking-glass*. The hieroglyphic of the diamond is to shew her, that her value is imaginary; and that of the glass to acquaint her that her condition is frail, and depends on the hand which holds her. This wise design admonishes her, neither to over-rate or depreciate her charms; as well considering and applying, that it is perfectly according to the humour and taste of the company, whether the toast is eaten, or left as an offal.
The foremost of the whole rank of Toasts, and the most indisputed in their present empire, are Mrs. Gatty and Mrs. Frontlet: the first an agreeable, the second an awful beauty. These ladies are perfect friends, out of a knowledge, that their perfections are too different to stand in competition. He that likes Gatty can have no relish for so solemn a creature as Frontlet; and an admirer of Frontlet will call Gatty a maypole girl : Gatty for ever smiles
* It was the fashion of the time, to inscribe verses thus to the reigning beauties. Several of these sprightly productions,
on the toasting-glasses of the Kit-cat Club," by the Lords Halifax, Wharton, Lansdowne, and Carbury, by Mr. Maynwaring, and other poetical members of that ingenious society, may be seen in Nichols's “ Select Collection of Miscellany Poems," vol. v. pp. 168–178. 276.
upon you; and Frontlet disdains to see you smile. Gatty's love is a shining quick flame; Frontlet's, a slow wasting fire. Gatty likes the man that diverts her; Frontlet, him who adores her. Gatty always improves the soil in which she travels; Frontlet lays waste the country. Gatty does not only smile, but laughs at her lover; Frontlet not only looks serious, but frowns at him. All the men of wit (and coxcombs their followers) are professed servants of Gatty; the politicians and pretenders give solemn worship to Frontlet. Their reign will be best judged of by its duration. Frontlet will never be chosen more; and Gatty is a toast for life.
St. James's Coffee-house, June 3. Letters from Hamburgh of the seventh instant, N. S. inform us, that no art or cost is omitted to make the stay of his Danish Majesty at Dresden agreeable: but there are various speculations upon the interview between King Augustus and that Prince; many putting politic constructions upon his Danish Majesty's arrival at a time when his troops are marching out of Hungary, with orders to pass through Saxony, where it is given out, that they are to be recruited. It is said also, that several Polish senators have invited King Augustus to return into Poland. His Majesty of Sweden, according to the same advices, has passed the Nieper without any opposition from the Muscovites, and advances with all possible expedition towards Volhinia, where he
proposes to join King Stanislaus and General Crassau.
We hear from Bern of the first instant, N. S. that there is not a province in France, from whence the Court is not apprehensive of receiving accounts of public commotions, occasioned by the want of corn. The general diet of the thirteen cantons is assembled at Baden, but have not yet entered upon business ; so that the affair of Tockenburgh is yet at a stand.
Letters from the Hague, dated the eleventh instant, N. S. advise, that Monsieur Rouille having acquainted the Ministers of the allies, that his master had refused to ratify the preliminaries of a treaty adjusted with Monsieur Torcy, set out for Paris on Sunday morning. The same day the foreign Ministers met a committee of the States-General, where Monsieur Van Hessen opened the business upon which they were assembled, and in a very warm discourse laid before them the conduct of France in the late negociations, representing the abject manner in which she had laid open her own distresses, that reduced her to a compliance with the demands of all the allies, and her meanness in receding from those points to which Monsieur Torcy had consented. The respective Ministers of each potentate of the alliance severally expressed their resentment of the faithless behaviour of the French, and gave each other mutual assurances of the constancy and resolution of their principals, to proceed with the utmost vigour against the common enemy. His Grace the Duke of Marlborough set out from the Hague on the ninth in the afternoon, and lay that night at Rotterdam; from whence, at four the next morning, he proceeded towards Antwerp, with a design to reach Ghent the next day. All the troops in the Low Countries are in motion towards the general rendezvous between the Scheld and the Lis: the whole army will be formed on the twelfth instant; and it is said, that on the fourteenth they will advance towards the enemy's country:
In the mean time the Marshal de Villars has assembled the French forces between Lens, La Bassee, and Douay.
Yesterday morning Sir John Norris, with the squadron under his command, sailed from the Downs for Holland.
From my own Apartment, June 3. I have the honour of the following letter from a gentleman whom I receive into my family, and order the heralds at arms to enroll him accordingly:
“ Mr. Bickerstaff,
Though you have excluded me the honour of your family, yet I have ventured to correspond with the same great persons as yourself, and have wrote this post to the King of France; though I am in a manner unknown in his country, and have not been seen there these many months :
TO LEWIS LE GRAND.
* Though in your Country I'm unknown,
Yet, Sir, must advise you;
That all the world despise you.
There meagre subjects stand unfed !
Than many lice and little bread ?
Our armies are advanced :
At Paris won't be granted.
And Anna's title own;
“ Your humble servant,