« PreviousContinue »
was answered by a tender sigh, "Why do you put your wit to a weak woman?' Strephon saw he had made some progress in her heart, and pursued it, by saying that, “He would certainly wait upon her at such an hour near Rosamond's pond; and thenthe sylvan deities, and rural powers of the place, sacred and inviolable to love, love the mover of all noble arts, should hear_his vows repeated by the streams and echoes.' The assignation was accordingly made. This style he calls the unintelligible method of speaking his mind ; and I will engage, had this gallant spoken plain English, she had never understood him half so readily : for we may take it for granted, that he will be esteemed as a very cold lover, who discovers to his mistress that he is in his senses.
From my own Apartment, August 26. The following letter came to my hand, with a request to have the subject recommended to our readers, particularly the smart fellows; who are desired to repair to Major Touch-hole, who can help them to firelocks that are only fit for exercise.
- Just ready for the Press, · Mars Triumphant; or London's Glory: be. ing the whole art of encampment, with the method of embattling armies, marching them off, posting the officers, forming hollow squares, and the various ways of paying the salute with the half pike ; as it was performed by the trained-bands of London this year, one thousand seven hundred and nine, in that nursery of Bellona the Artillery-ground. Wherein you have a new method how to form a strong line of foot, with large intervals between each platoon, very useful to prevent the breaking
in of horse. A civil way of performing the military ceremony; wherein the major alights from his horse, and at the head of his company salutes the lieutenant-colonel ; and the lieutenant-colonel, to return the compliment, courteously dismounts, and after - the same manner salutes his major ; exactly as it was performed, with abundance of applause, on the fifth of July last. Likewise an account of a new invention, made use of in the red regiment, to quell mutineering captains ; with several other things alike useful for the public. To which is added, an appendix by major Touch-hole; proving the method of discipline now used in our armies to be very defective : with an essay towards an amendment. Dedicated to the lieutenant-colonel of the first regiment.
*** Mr. Bickerstaff has now in the press, -A defence of awkward fellows against the class of the smarts; with a dissertation upon the gravity which becomes weighty persons. Illustrated by way of fable, and a discourse on the nature of the elephant, the cow, the dray-horse, and the dromedary, which have motions equally steady and grave. To this is added a treatise written by an elephant, according to Pliny, against receiving foreigners into the forest. Adapted to some present circumstances. Together with allusions to such beasts as declare against the poor Palatines.'
No 61. TUESDAY, AUGUST 30, 1709.
Quicquid agunt homines
nostri est farrago libelli.
Juv. Sat. i. 85, 86.
White's Chocolate-house, August 29. Among many phrases which have crept into conversation, especially of such company as frequent this place, there is not one which misleads me more, than that of a Fellow of a great deal of fire.' This metaphorical term, Fire, has done much good in keeping coxcombs in awe of one another; but at the same time it has made them troublesome to every body else. You see, in the very air of " a Fellow of Fire,' something so expressive of what he would be at, that if it were not for self-preservation, a man would laugh out.
I had last night the fate to drink a bottle with two of these Firemen, who are indeed dispersed, like the Myrmidons, in all quarters, and to be met with among those of the most different education. One of my companions was a scholar with Fire, and the other a soldier of the same complexion. My learned man would fall into disputes, and argue without any manner of provocation or contradiction ; the other was decisive without words, and would give a shrug or an oath to express his opinion. My learned man was a mere scholar, and my man of war as mere a soldier. The particularity
of the first was ridiculous, that of the second terrible. They were relations by blood, which in some measure moderated their extravagances towards each other: I gave myself up merely as a person of no note in the company, but as if brought to be convinced that I was an inconsiderable thing, any otherwise than that they would show each other to me, and make me spectator of the triumph they alternately enjoyed. The scholar has been very conversant with books, and the other with men, only; which makes them both superficial : for the taste of books is necessary to our behaviour in the best company, and the knowledge of men is required for a true relish of books : but they have both Fire, which makes one pass for a man of sense, and the other for a fine gentleman. I found, I could easily enough pass my time with the scholar: for if I seemed not to do justice to his parts and sentiments, he pitied me, and let me alone. But the warrior would not let it rest there; I must know all that happened within his shallow observations of the nature of the war: to all which he added an air of laziness, and contempt of those of his companions who were eminent for delighting in the exercise and knowledge of their duty. Thus it is, that all the young fellows of much animal life, and little understanding, who repair to our arinies, usurp upon the conversation of reasonable men, under the notion of having Fire.
The word has not been of greater use to shallow lovers, to supply them with chat to their mistresses, than it has been to pretended men of pleasure, to support them in being pert and dull, and saying of every fool of their order, Such a one has Fire.' There is colonel Truncheon, who marches with divisions ready on all occasions ; a hero who never doubted in his life, but is ever positively fixed in
the wrong, not out of obstinate opinion, but invincible stupidity.
It is very unhappy for this latitude of London, that it is possible for such as can learn only fashion, habit, and a set of common phrases of salutation, to pass with no other accomplishments, in this nation of freedom, for men of conversation and sense. All these ought to pretend to is, not to offend; but they carry it so far as to be negligent whether they offend or not; · for they have Fire.' But their force differs from true spirit, as much as a vicious from a mettlesome horse. A man of Fire is a general enemy to all the waiters where you drink ; is the only man affronted at the company's being neglected; and makes the drawers abroad, his valet de chambre and footman at home, know he is not to be provoked without danger.
This is not the Fire that animates the noble Marinus, a youth of good nature, affability, and moderation. He commands his ship as an intelligence moves its orb : he is the vital life, and his officers the limbs of the machine. His vivacity is seen in doing all the offices of life with readiness of spirit, and propriety in the manner of doing them. To be ever active in laudable pursuits, is the distinguishing character of a man of merit; while the common behaviour of every gay coxcomb of Fire is, to be confidently in the wrong, and dare to persist in it.
Will's Coffee-house, August 29. It is a common objection against writings of a satirical mixture, that they hurt men in their reputations, and consequently in their fortunes and possessions; but a gentleman who frequents this room declared he was of opinion it ought to be so, provided such performances had their proper restrictions. The greatest evils in human society are