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will be any better than mispending of time, by suspending a method that will turn more to advantage, and which has no other danger of losing ground, but by discontinuance. And as I am cer- tain of what he supposes, that your lucubrations are intended for the public benefit ; so I hope you will not give them so great an interruption, by laying aside the only method that can render you beneficial to mankind, and, among others, agreeable to, Sir, your humble servant, &c.'
St. James's Coffee-house, October 3. Letters from the camp at Havre, of the seventh instant, N. S. advise, that the trenches were opened before Mons on the twenty-seventh of the last month, and the approaches were carried on at two attacks with great application and success, notwithstanding the rains which had fallen ; that the besiegers had made themselves masters of several redoubts and other out-works, and had advanced the approaches within ten paces of the counterscarps of the horn work. Lieutenant-general Cadogan received a slight wound in the neck soon after opening the trenches.
The enemy were throwing up entrenchments be, tween Quesnoy and Valenciennes, and the chevalier de Luxemburg was encamped near Charleroy with a body of ten thousand men. Advices from Caralonia, by the way of Genoa, import, that Count Staremberg having passed the Segra, advanced towards Balaguier, which place he took after a few hours' resistance, and made the garrison, consisting of three Spanish battalions, prisoners of war. Letters from Bern say, that the army under the command of Count Thaun had begun to repass the mountains, and would shortly evacuate Savoy.
*** Whereas Mr. Bickerstaff has received intelligence, that a young gentleman, who has taken my discourses upon John Partridge and others in too literal a sense, and is suing an elder brother to an ejectment ; the aforesaid young gentleman is hereby advised to drop his action, no man being esteemed dead in law, who eats and drinks, and receives his rents.
N° 77. THURSDAY, OCTOBER 6, 1709.
Quinquid agunt homines
nostri est farrago libelli.
Juv. Sat. j. 85, 86.
From my own Apartment, October 5. As bad as the world is, I find by very strict observation upon virtue and vice, that if men appeared no worse than they really are, I should have less work than at present I am obliged to undertake for their reformation. They have generally taken up a kind of inverted ambition, and affect even faults and imperfections of which they are innocent. The other day in a coffee-house I stood by a young heir, with a fresh, sanguine and healthy look, who entertained us with an account of his claps and dietdrink; though, to my knowledge, he is as sound as any of his tenants. VOL. II.
This worthy youth put me into reflections upon that subject ; and I observed the fantastical humour to be so general, that there is hardly a man who is not more or less tainted with it. The first of this order of men are the valetudinarians, who are never in health; but complain of want of stomach or rest every day until noon, and then devour all which comes before them. Lady Dainty is convinced, that it is necessary for a gentlewoman to be out of order; and, to preserve that character, she dines every day in her closet at twelve, that she may become her table at two, and be unable to eat in public. About five years ago, I remember it was the fashion to be short-sighted. A man would not own an acquaintance until he had first examined him with his glass. At a lady's entrance into the playhouse, you might see tubes immediately levelled at her from every quarter of the pit and side-boxes. However, that mode of infirmity is out, and the age has recovered its sight: but the blind seem to be succeeded by the lame, and a janty limp is the present beauty. I think I have formerly observed, a cane is part of the dress of a prig, and always worn upon a button, for fear he should be thought to have an occasion for it, or be esteemed really, and not genteelly a cripple. I have considered, but could never find out the bottom of this vanity. I indeed have heard of a Gascon general, who, by the lucky grazing of a bullet on the roll of his stocking, took occasion to halt all his life after. But as for our peaceable cripples, I know no foundation for their behaviour, without it may be supposed that, in this warlike age, some think a cane the next honour to a wooden leg. This sort of affectation I have known run from one limb or member to another. Before the limpers came in, I remember' a race of lispers, fine persons, who took an
aversion to particular letters in our language. Some never uttered the letter H; and others had as mortal an aversion to S. Others have had their fashionable defect in their ears, and would make you repeat all you said twice over. I know an ancient friend of mine, whose table is every day surrounded with flatterers, that makes use of this, sometimes as a piece of grandeur, and at others as an art, to make them repeat their commendations. Such affectations have been indeed in the world in ancient times; but they fell into them out of politic ends. Alexander the Great had a wry neck, which made it the fashion in his court to carry their heads on one side when they came into the presence. One who thought to outshine the whole court, carried his head so over complaisantly, that this martial prince gave him so great a box on the ear, as set all the heads of the court upright.
This humour takes place in our minds as well as bodies. I know at this time a young gentleman, who talks atheistically all day in coffee-houses, and in his degrees of understanding sets up for a freethinker ; though it can be proved upon him, he says his prayers every morning and evening. But this class of modern wits I shall reserve for a chapter by itself.
Of the like turn are all your marriage-haters, who rail at the noose, at the words " for ever and aye,' and at the same time are secretly pining for some young thing or other that makes their hearts ake by her refusal. The next to these, are such as pretend to govern their wives, and boast how ill they use them ; when at the same time, go to their houses, and you shall see them step as if they feared making a noise, and as fond as an alderman*. I
do not know but sometimes these pretences may arise from a desire to conceal a contrary defect than that they set up for. I remember, when I was a young fellow, we had a companion of a very fearful complexion, who, when we sat into drink, would desire us to take his sword from him when he grew fuddled, for it was his misfortune to be quarrelsome.
There are many, many of these evils, which demand my observation ; but because I have of late been thought somewhat too satirical, I shall give them warning, and declare to the whole world, that they are not true, but false hypocrites; and make it out that they are good men in their hearts. The motive of this monstrous affectation, in the above mentioned and the like particulars, I take to proceed from that noble thirst of fame and reputation which is planted in the hearts of all men. As this produces elegant writings and gallant actions in men of great abilities, it also brings forth spurious productions in men who are not capable of distinguishing themselves by things which are really praise-worthy. As the desire of fame in men of true wit and gallantry shows itself in proper instances, the same desire in men who have the ambition without proper faculties, runs wild and discovers itself in a thousand extravagances, by which they would signalize themselves from others, and gain a set of admirers. When I was a middle-aged man, there were many societies of ambitious young men in England, who, in their pursuits after fame, were every night employed in roasting porters, smoaking coblers, knocking down watchmen, overturning constables, breaking windows, blackening sign-posts, and the like immortal enterprizes, that dispersed their reputation throughout the whole kingdom. One could hardly find a knocker at a