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N° 10. TUESDAY, MAY 3, 1709.
Quicquid agunt homines
nostri est farrago libelli.
Juv. Sat. i. 85, 86.
From my own Apartment, May 1. My brother Isaac, having a sudden occasion to go out of town, ordered me to take upon me the dispatch of the next advices from home, with liberty to speak in my own way: not doubting the allowances which would be given to a writer of my sex. You may be sure I undertook it with much satisfaction; and, I confess, I am not a little pleased with an opportunity of running over all the papers in his closet, which he has left open for my use on this occasion. The first that I lay my hands on, is a treatise concerning “ the empire of beauty,” and the effects it has had in all nations of the world, upon the public and private actions of men ; with an appendix, which he calls, “ The bachelor's scheme for governing his wife.” The first thing he makes this gentleman propose is, that she shall be no woman; for she is to have an aversion to balls, to operas, to visits; she is to think his company sufficient to fill up all the hours of life with great satisfaction; she is never to believe any other man wise, learned, or valiant; or, at least, but in a second degree. In the next place, he intends she shall be a cuckold; but expects, that he himself must live in a perfect security from that terror. He dwells a great while on instructions for her
discreet behaviour, in case of his falsehood. I have not patience with these unreasonable expectations, therefore turn back to the treatise itself. Here, indeed, my brother deduces all the revolutions among men from the passion of love ; and in his preface answers that usual observation against us, there is no quarrel without a woman in it;" with a gallant assertion, that “ there is nothing else worth quarrelling for.” My brother is of a complexion truly amorous; all his thoughts and actions carry in them a tincture of that obliging inclination; and this turn has opened his eyes to see,
that we are not the inconsiderable creatures which unlucky pretenders to our favour would insinuate. He observes, that no man begins to make any
tolerable figure until he sets out with the hopes of pleasing some one of us: no sooner he takes that in hand, but he pleases every one else by the bye; it has an immediate effect upon his behaviour. There is Colonel Ranter, who never spoke without an oath, until he saw the Lady Betty Modish; now, never gives his man an order, but it is, Pray, Tom, do
The drawers where he drinks live in perfect happiness. He asked Will at the George the other day, how he did ? Where he used to say, “ Damn it, it is so ;" he now “ believes there is some mistake; he must confess he is of another opinion; but, however, he will not insist.”
Every temper, except downright insipid, is to be animated and softened by the influence of beauty ; but of this untractable sort is a lifeless handsome fellow that visits us, whom I have dressed at this twelvemonth; but he is as insensible of all the art I used, as if he conversed all that time with his nurse. He out-does our whole sex in all the faults our enemies impute to us; he has brought laziness into an opinion, and makes his indolence his philosophy; insomuch that, no longer
ago than yesterday in the evening he gave me this account of himself: “ I am, Madam, perfectly unmoved at all that passes among men, and seldom give myself the fatigue of going among them; but when I do, I always appear the same thing to those whom I converse with. My hours of existence, or being awake, are from eleven in the morning to eleven at night; half of which I live to myself, in picking my teeth, washing my hands, paring my nails, and looking in the glass. The insignificancy of manners to the rest of the world, makes the laughers call me a Quidnunc; a phrase which I neither understand, nor shall ever inquire what they mean by it. The last of me each night is at St. James's coffee-house, where I converse; yet never fall into a dispute on any occasion; but leave the understanding I have passive of all that goes through it, without entering into the business of life. And thus, Madam, have I arrived, by laziness, to what others pretend to by philosophy, a perfect neglect of the world.” Sure, if our sex had the liberty of frequenting public-houses and conversations, we should put these rivals of our faults and follies out of countenance. However, we shall soon have the pleasure of being acquainted with them one way or other; for my brother Isaac designs, for the use of our sex, to give the exact characters of all the chief politicians who frequent any of the coffee-houses from St. James's to the Exchange ; but designs to begin with that cluster of wise heads, as they are found sitting every evening from the left side of the fire, at the Smyrna, to the door. This will be of great service to us; and I have authority to promise an exact journal of theirdeliberations; the publication of which I am to be allowed for pin-money: In the mean time, I cast my eye upon a new book, which gave me more pleasing entertainment, being a sixth part of Mis
cellany Poems published by Jacob Tonson* which I find, by my brother's notes upon it, no way inferior to the other volumes. There is, it seems, in this a collection of the best pastorals that have hitherto appeared in England; but among them none superior to that dialogue between Sylvia and Dorinda, written by one of my own sex,; † where all our little weaknesses are laid open in a manner more just, and with truer raillery, than ever man yet hit upon.
Only this I now discern,
From past or present beauties rise. But, to re-assume my first design, there cannot be a greater instance of the command of females, than in the prevailing charms of the heroine in the play, which was acted this night, called, All for Love; or, The World well lost. The enamoured Anthony resigns glory and power to the force of the attractive Cleopatra, whose charms were the defence of her diadem against a people otherwise invincible. It is so natural for women to talk of themselves, that it is to be hoped, all my own sex will at least pardon me, that I could fall into no other discourse. If we have their favour, we give ourselves very little anxiety for the rest of our readers. I believe, I see a sentence of Latin in my brother's day-book of wit, which seems applicable on this occasion, and in contempt of the critics,
-Tristitiam et metus
Hor. 1. Od. xxvi. 2.
Mrs. Elizabeth Singer, afterwards Mrs. Rowe. tumour of Mrs.Jenny Distaff's Latin quotation rises similarity between the words Creticum and Criticum.
But I am interrupted by a packet from Mr. Kidney, from St. James's coffee-house, which I am obliged to insert in the very style and words which Mr. Kidney uses in his letter.
St. James's Coffee-house, May 2. We are advised by letters from Bern, dated the first instant, N. S. that the Duke of Berwick arrived at Lyons the twenty-fifth of the last month and continued his journey the next day to visit the passes of the mountains, and other posts in Dauphine and Provence. These letters also informed us, that the miseries of the people in France are heightened to that degree, that unless a peace be speedily concluded, half of that kingdom would perish for want of bread. On the twenty-fourth, the Marshal de Thesse passed through Lyons, in his way to Versailles; and two battalions, which were marching from Alsace to reinfore the army of the Duke of Berwick, passed also through that place. Those troops were to be followed by six battalions more.
Letters from Naples of the sixteenth of April say, that the Marquis de Prie's son was arrived there, with instructions from his father, to signify to the Viceroy the necessity his Imperial Majesty was under of desiring an aid from that kingdom, for carrying on the extraordinary expences of the war. On the fourteenth of the same month, they made a review of the Spanish troops in that garrison, and afterwards of the marines ; one part of whom will embark with those designed for Barcelona, and the rest are to be sent on board the gallies appointed to convey provisions to that place.
We hear from Rome, by letters dated the twentieth of April, that the Count de Mellos, Envoy from the King of Portugal, had made his public entry into that city with much state and magnifi