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N° 1. TUESDAY, APRIL 12, 1709.
Qurcquid agunt homines —
nostri est farrago libelli.
JUV. Sat. i. 85. 86.
HOUGH the other papers, which are published for the use of the good people of England, have certainly very wholesome effects, and are laudable in their particular kinds, they do not seem to come up to the main design of such narrations, which, I humbly presume, should be principally intended for the use of politic persons, who are so public-spirited as to neg
1 The Title is said in this paper to have been invented in honour of the fair sex. The well-imagined character of the conductor of the paper was the creature of Steele's fancy for the equal benefit of both sexes; and is conceived and supported throughout in a manner highly conducive to the intellectual improvement and moral refinement of his countrymen.
lect their own affairs to look into transactions of state. Now these gentlernen, for the most part, being persons of strong zeal, and weak intellects, it is both a charitable and necessary work to offer something, whereby such worthy and well-affected members of the commonwealth may be instructed after their reading, what to think; which shall be the end and purpose of this my paper, wherein I shall, from time to time, report and consider all matters of what kind soever that shall occur to me, and publish such my advices and reflections every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, in the week, for the convenience of the post. I resolve to have something which may be of entertainment to the fair sex, in honour of whom I have invented the title of this paper. I therefore earnestly desire all persons, without distinction, to take it in for the present gratis, and hereafter at the price of one penny, forbidding all hawkers to take more for it at their peril. And I desire all persons to consider, that I am at a very great charge for proper materials for this work, as well as that before I resolved upon it, I had settled a correspondence in all parts of the known and knowing world. And forasmuch as this globe is not trodden upon by mere drudges of business only, but that men of spirit and genius are justly to be esteemed as considerable agents in it, we shall not, upon a dearth of news, present you with musty foreign edicts, or dull proclamations, but shall divide our relation of the passages which occur, in action or discourse throughout this town, as well as elsewhere, under such dates of places as may prepare you for the matter you are to expect in the following manner.
* All accounts of gallantry, pleasure, and enter
tainment, shall be under the article of White's Chocolate-house ?; poetry, under that of Will's Coffee house 3; learning, under the title of Grecian4; foreign and domestic news, you will have from St. James's Coffee-house; and what else I have to offer on any other subject shall be dated from my own Apartment.
. I once more desire my reader to consider, that as I cannot keep an ingenious man to go daily to Will's under two-pence each day, merely for his charges; to White's under six-pence; nor to the Grecian, without allowing him some plain Spanish, to be as able as others at the learned table; and that a good observer cannot speak with even Kidney s at St. James's without clean linen; I say, these considerations will, I hope, make all persons willing to comply with my humble request (when my gratis stock is exhausted) of a penny a-piece; especially since they are sure of some proper amusement, and that it is impossible for me to want means to entertain them, having, besides the force of my own parts, the power of divination, and that I can, by casting a figure, tell you all that will happen before it comes to pass.
. But this last faculty I shall use very sparingly, and speak but of few things until they are passed, for fear of divulging matters which may offend our superiors.'
2 This was then lower down in St. James's-street than it is at present, and on the other side of the way.
3 Then on the north side of Russel-street, in Covent Garden.
4 This was then, as it still is, in Devereux-court, Strand, leading to the Temple.
5 Then one of the waiters at St. James's Coffee-house. See No 10, 26, &c.
White's Chocolate-house, April 7. The deplorable condition of a very pretty gentleman, who walks here at the hours when men of quality first appear, is what is very much lamented. His history is, That on the ninth of September 1705, being in his one-and-twentieth year, he was washing his teeth at a tavern window in Pall-mall, when a fine equipage passed by, and in it a young lady who looked up at him; away goes the coach, and the young gentleman pulled off his night-cap, and instead of rubbing his gums, as he ought to do, out of the window until about four of the clock, sits him down and spoke not a word until twelve at night; after which he began to inquire if any body knew the lady?" -The company asked what lady?' but he said no more, until they broke up at six in the morning. All the ensuing winter he went from church to church every Sunday, and from playhouse to playhouse every night in the week; but could never find the original of the picture which dwelt in his bosom. In a word, his attention to any thing but his passion was utterly gone. He has lost all the money he ever played for, and been confuted in every argument he has entered upon, since the moment he first saw her. He is of a noble family, has naturally a very good air, and is of a frank honest temper: but this passion has so extremely mauled him, that his features are set and uninformed, and his whole visage is deadened, by a long absence of thought. He never appears in any alacrity, but when raised by wine; at which time he is sure to come hither, and throw away a great deal of wit on fellows who have no sense farther than just to observe, that our poor lover has most understand
ing when he is drunk, and is least in his senses when he is sober?
The reader is desired to take notice of the article from this place from time to time, for I design to be very exact in the progress this unhappy gentleman makes, which may be of great instruction to all who actually are, or who ever shall be, in love.
Will's Coffee-house, April 8. On Thursday last was acted, for the benefit of Mr. Betterton, the celebrated comedy called Love for Love'. Those excellent players, Mrs. Barry", Mrs. Bracegirdle, and Mr. Dogget, though not at present concerned in the house, acted on that occasion. There has not been known so great a concourse of persons of distinction as at that time; the stage itself was covered with gentlemen and ladies, and when
7 This character is said to have been drawn for Edward lord viscount Hinchinbroke, mentioned afterwards under the name of Cynthio. He died Oct. 3, 1722. See No 5, 22, 35, and 85.
& Colley Cibber acknowledges, that Steele did the stage very considerable service, by the influence of his Tatlers. Sir Richard had no share in the management of the playhouse in Drury-lane for some years after this time. His patent is dated Jan. 19, 1714-15.
9 By Congreve. 4to. 1695. The character of Foresight in this play was then no uncommon one. Dryden calculated nativities; Cromwell and king William had their lucky days; and Shaftesbury himself, though he had no religion, is said to have regarded predictions.
10 Mrs. Barry spoke an epilogue on the occasion written by Rowe.