Page images
PDF
EPUB

gets my lady, and takes him by the arm, to lead him off: Bellfrey was in his boots. As she was hurrying him away, his spur, takes hold of her petticoat; his whip throws down a cabinet of china: he cries, “What! are your crocks rotten ? are your petticoats ragged ? A man cannot walk in your house for trincums.

Every county of Great Britain has one hundred or more of this sort of fellows, who roar instead of -speaking : therefore, if it be true, that the women are also given to a greater fluency of words than is necessary, sure she that disturbs but a room or a family, is more to be tolerated than one who draws together whole parishes and counties, and sometimes (with an estate that might make him the blessing and ornament of the world around him) has no other view and ambition, but to be an animal above dogs and horses, without the relish of any one enjoyment which is peculiar to the faculties of human nature. I know it will here be said, that, talking of mere country squires at this rate, is, as it were, to write against Valentine and Orson. To prove any thing against the race of men, you must take them as they are adorned with education; as they live in Courts, or have received instructions in Colleges.

But I am so full of my late entertainment by Mr. Bellfrey, that I must defer pursuing this subject to another day: and wave the proper

observation upon the different offenders in this kind; some by profound eloquence on small occasions, others by degrading speech upon great circumstances. Expect, therefore, to hear of the whisperer without business, the laughter without wit, the complainer without receiving injuries, and a very large crowd, which I shall not forestal, who are common (though not commonly observed) impertinents, whose tongues are two voluble for their brains, and are the general despisers of us women, though we have their superiors the men of sense, for our servants.

Will's Coffee-house, July 3. A very ingenious gentleman was complaining this evening, that the players are grown so severe critics, that they would not take in his play, though it has as many fine things in it as any play that has been writ since the days of Dryden. He began his discourse about his play with a preface.

There is,” said he, “somewhat (however we palliate it) in the very frame and make of us, that subjects our minds to chagrin and irresolution on any emergency of time or place. The difficulty grows on our sickened imagination, under all the killing circumstances of danger and disappointment. This we see, not only in the men of retirement and fancy, but in the characters of the men of action : with this only difference; the coward sees the danger, and sickens under it; the hero, warmed by the difficulty, dilates, and rises in proportion to that, and in some sort makes use of his very fears to disarm it.

A remarkable instance of this we have in the great Cæsar, when he came to the Rubicon, and was entering upon a part, perhaps, the most hazardous he ever bore (certainly the most ungrateful), a war with his countrymen. When his mind brooded over personal affronts, perhaps his anger burned with a desire of revenge: but when more serious reflections laid before him the hazard of the enterprise, with the dismal consequences which were likely to attend it, aggravated by a special circumstance, •What figure it would bear in the world, or how be excused to posterity? What shall he do?-His honour, which was his religion, bids him arm; and he sounds the inclination of his party by this set speech:

CÆSAR TO HIS PARTY AT THE RUBICON.

Great Jove! attend; and thou my native soil,
Safe in my triumphs, glutted in my spoil;
Witness with what reluctance I oppose
My arms to thine, secure of other foes.
What passive breast can bear disgrace like mine?
Traitor ?-For this I conquer'd on the Rhine,
Endur'd their ten years' drudgery in Gaul,
Adjourn'd their fate, and sav'd the Capitol.
I grew by every guilty triumpb less:
The crowd, when drunk with joy, their souls express,
Impatient of the war, yet fear success.
Brave actions dazzle with too bright a ray;
Like birds obscene they chatter at the day:
Giddy with rule, and valiant in debate.
They throw the die of war, to save the State.
And, Gods! to gild ingratitude with fame,
Assume the patriot's, we the rebel's name.
Farewell, my friends; your General, forlorn,
To your bare pity, and the public scorn,
Must lay that honour and his laurel down,
To serve the vain caprices of the gown;
Expos’d to all indignities, the brave,
Deserve of those they glory'd but to save,
To rods and axes !-No, the slaves can't dare
Play with my grief, and tempt my last despair.
This shall the honours which it son maintain,
Or do me justice, ere I hug my chain.

St. James's Coffee-house, July 4. There has arrived no mail since our last; so that we have no manner of foreign news, except we were to give you, for such, the many speculations which are on foot concerning what was imported by the last advices. There are, it

seems, sixty battalions and seventeen squadrons appointed to serve in the siege of Tournay; the garrison of which place consists of but eleven battalions and four squadrons. Letters of the twenty-ninth of the last month, from Berlin, have brought advice, that the Kings of Denmark and Prussia, and his Majesty Augustus, were within few days to come to an interview at Potsdam. These letters mention, that two Polish Princes, of the family of Sapieha and Lubermirsky, lately arrived from Paris, confirm the reports of the misery in France for want of provisions, and give a particular instance of it; which is, that on the day Monsieur Rouille returned to Court, the common people gathered in crowds about the Dauphin's coach, crying “Peace and bread, bread and peace.”

[ocr errors]

Mrs. Distaff has taken upon her, while she writes this paper, to turn her thoughts wholly to the service of her own sex, and to proposé remedies against the greatest vexations attending female life. She has for this end written a small treatise concerning the Second Word, with an appendix on the use of a Reply; very proper for all such as are married to persons either ill-bred or ill-natured. There is in this tract a digression for the use of virgins, concerning the words, I will.

A gentlewomen who has a very delicate ear, wants a maid who can whisper, and help her in the government of her family. If the said servant can clear-starch, lisp, and tread softly, she shall have suitable encouragement in her wages.

N° 38. THURSDAY, JULY 7, 1709,

P.

Quicquid agunt homines

nostri est farrago libelli.

Jov. Sat. i. 85, 86.
Whate'er men do, or say, or think, or dream,

Our motley paper seizes for its theme.
By Mrs. JENNY DISTAFF, Half-Sister to Mr.

BICKERSTAFF.
From my own Apartment, July 6.
I FIND among my brother's

papers

the following letters, verbatim, which I wonder how he could sup

press so long as he has, since it was sent him for no other end, but to show the good effect his writings have already had upon the ill customs of the age. "Sir,

London, June 23. • The end of all public papers ought to be the benefit and instruction, as well as the diversion of the readers; to which I see none so truly conducive as your late performances; especially those tending to the rooting out from among us, that unchristianlike and bloody custom of duelling; which, that you have already in some measure performed, will appear to the public in the following no less true than heroic story.

“A noble gentleman of this city, who has the honour of serving his country as Major of the Trainbands, being at the general mart of stock-jobbers, called Jonathan's, endeavouring to raise himself (as all men of honour ought) to the degree of colonel at least; it happened that he bought the bear of another officer, who, though not commissioned in the army, yet no less eminently serves the public than the other, in raising the credit of the kingdom by raising that of the stocks. However, having sold the bear, and words arising about the delivery, the most noble Major, no less scorning to be out-witted in the coffee-house, than to run into the field, according to method, abused the other with the titles of rogue, villain, bear-skin man, and the like. Whereupon satisfaction was demanded, and accepted; so, forth the Major marched, commanding his adversary to follow. . To a most spacious room in a sheriff's house, near the place of quarrel, they come; where, having due regard to what you have lately published, they resolved not to shed one another's blood in that barbarous manner you prohibited; yet not willing to put up affronts without satisfaction, they stripped, and in a decent manner

« PreviousContinue »