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Hi motus animorum, atque hæc certamina tanta
Virg. Georg. iv. 86.
Will's Coffee-house, July 13. Some part of the company keep up the old way of conversation in this place, which usually turned upon
the examination of nature, and an inquiry into the manners of men. There is one in the room so very judicious, that he manages impertinents with the utmost dexterity. It was diverting this evening to hear a discourse between him and one of these gentlemen. He told me, before that person joined us, that he was a questioner, who, according to his description, is one who asks questions, not with a design to receive information, but an affectation to show his uneasiness for want of it. He went on in asserting, that there are crowds of that modest ambition, as to aim no farther than to demonstrate that they are in doubt. By this time Will Whynot was sat down by us. • So, gentlemen,' says he, - in how many days think you shall we be masters of Tournay? Is the account of the action of the Vivarois to be depended upon ? Could you
have imagined England had so much money in it as you see it has produced ? Pray, Sirs, what do you think? Will the Duke of Savoy make an irruption into France? But,' says he, time will clear all these mysteries. His answer to himself gave me the altitude of his head, and to all his questions I thus answered very satisfactorily.- Sir, have you heard that this Slaughterford * never owned the fact for which he died? Have the newspapers mentioned that matter? But, pray, can you tell me what me
* A fellow hanged for the murder of his sweatheart.
thod will be taken to provide for these Palatines ? But this, as you say, time will clear.' 'Ay, ay,' says he, and whispers me, they will never let us into these things beforehand.'
I whispered him again, We shall know it as soon as there is a proclamation.' -He tells me in the other ear, are in the right of it.' Then he whispered my friend, to know what my name was : then made an obliging bow, and went to examine another table. This led
my friend and me to weigh this wandering manner in many other incidents, and he took out of his pocket several little notes or tickets to solicit for votes to employments : as, Mr. John Taplash having served all offices, and being reduced to great poverty, desires your vote for singing clerk of this parish. Another has had ten children, all whom his wife has suckled herself; therefore humbly desires to be a school-master.'
There is nothing so frequent as this way of application for offices. It is not that you are fit for the place, but because the place would be convenient for you, that you
claim a merit to it. But commend me to the great Kirleus, who has lately set up for midwifery, and to help childbirth, for no other reason, but that he is himself the · Unborn Doctor.' The way is, to hit upon something that puts the vulgar upon the stare, or touches tneir compassion, which is often the weakest part about us.
I know a good lady, who has taken her daughters from their old dancing-master, to place them with another, for no other reason, but because the new man has broke his leg, which is so ill set, that he can never dance
From my own Apartment, July 13. As it is a frequent mortification to me to receive letters, wherein people tell me, without a name, they know I meant them in such and such a passage; so that very accusation is an argument, that there are
such beings in human life, as fall under our description, and that our discourse is not altogether fantastical and groundless. But in this case I am treated as I saw a boy was the other day, who gave out pocky bills : every plain fellow took it that passed by, and went on his way without further notice : and at last came one with his nose a little abridged; who knocks the lad down, with a · Why, you son of a we,
you think I am p-d? But Shakspeare has made the best apology for this way talking against the public errors: he makes Jacques, in the play called, As you like it, express himself thus :
• Why, who cries out on pride,
N° 42. SATURDAY, JULY 16, 1709.
Celebrare domesticu facta. * To celebrate domestic deeds.'
From my own Apartment, July 15. LOOKING over some old papers, I found a little treatise, written by my great-grandfather, concerning bribery, and thought his manner of treating that subject not unworthy my remark. He there has a digression concerning a possibility, that in some circumstances a man may receive an injury, and yet be conscious to himself that he deserves it. There are abundance of fine things said on the subject; but the whole wrapped up in so much jingle and pun, which was the wit of those times, that it is scarce intelligible ; but I thought the design was well enough in the following sketch of an old gentleman's poetry : for in this case, where two are rivals for the same thing, and propose to obtain it by presents, he that attempts the judge's honesty, by making him offers of reward, ought not to complain when he loses his cause by a better bidder. The good old doggrel runs thus :
A poor man once a judge besought
To judge aright his cause,
This judger of the laws.
He glad away did trudge;
Before this partial judge.
And craves a strain of law;
Was judg'd not worth a straw.
Thy doom has me undone :
But now to ruin run."
And see thy cause of foil :
Wills Coffee-house, July 15. The discourse happened this evening to fall upon characters drawn in plays; and a gentleman re
* Prom George Whetstone's 56 English Mirror,” &c. London, 1586, 4to.
marked, that there was no method in the world of knowing the taste of an age, or period of time, so good, as by the observations of the persons represented in their comedies. There were several instances produced, as Ben Jonson's bringing in a fellow smoking, as a piece of foppery ; but,' said the gentleman who entertained us on this subject, this matter is no where so observable as in the difference of the characters of women on the stage in the last age, and in this. It is not to be supposed that it was a poverty of genius in Shakespeare, that his women made so small figure in his dialogues ; but it certainly is, that he drew women as they then were in life ; for that sex had not in those days that freedom in conversation; and their characters were only, that they were mothers, sisters, daughters, and wives. There were not then among the ladies, shining wits and politicians, virtuosa, free-thinkers, and disputants; nay, there was hardly such a creature even as a coquette : but vanity had quite another turn, and the most conspicuous woman at that time of day was only, the best housewife. Were it possible to bring into life an assembly of matrons of that age, and introduce the learned Lady Woodby into their company, they would not believe the same nation could produce a creature so unlike any thing they ever saw in it.
But these ancients would be as much astonished to see in the same age so illustrious a pattern to all who love things praise-worthy as the divine Aspasia.* Methinks, I now see her walking in her garden like our first parent, with unaffected charms,
• The character of Aspasia was written by Mr. Congreve; and the person meant was Lady Elizabeth Hastings. See the authority for this, with an edifying account of this extraordinary lady, and her benefactions, in a book in folio, entitled, “Memorials and Characters, &c,” London, 1741, printed for John Wilford, p. 780. VOL. I.