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to be your near relation of the Staffian family, I was under great concern at one of your predictions relating to yourself, wherein you foretold your own death would happen on the seventeenth instants, unless it were prevented by the assistance of well disposed people: I have therefore prevailed on my own modesty to send you a piece of news, which may serve instead of Goddard's drops, to keep you alive for two days, until nature be able to recover itself, or until you meet with some better help from other hands. Therefore, without further ceremony, I will go on to relate a singular adventure just happened in the place where I am writing, wherewith it may be highly useful for the public to be informed.
* Three young ladies of our town were on Saturday last indicted for witchcraft. The witnesses against the first deposed upon oath before Justice Bindover, that she kept spirits locked up in vessels, which sometimes appeared in flames of blue fire; that she used magical herbs, with some of which she drew in hundreds of men daily to her, who went out from her presence all inflamed, their inouths parched, and a hot steam issuing from them, attended with a grievous stench: that many of the said men were by the force of that herb metamorphosed into swine, and lay wallowing in the kennels for twenty-four hours, before they could re-assume their shapes, or their senses.
• It was proved against the second, that she cut off by night the limbs from dead bodies that were hanged, and was seen to dig holes in the ground, to mutter some conjuring words, and bury pieces of the flesh after the usual manner of witches.
s See N° 7.
6 Dr. Jonathan Goddard was the physician and confidant of Cromwell, and medical professor of Gresham college, He was the first Englishman who made telescopes; and, in the course of his chemical experiments, discovered the famous elixir, called here his drops. See Biogr. Brit. Ist edit. art. Lister.
The third was accused for a notorious piece of sorcery, long practised by hags, of moulding up pieces of dough into the shapes of men, women, and children; then heating them at a gentle fire, which had a sympathetic power to torment the bowels of those in the neighbourhood.
This was the sum of what was objected against the three ladies, who indeed had nothing to say in their own defence, but downright deny the facts, which is like to avail very little when they come upon their trials.
" But the parson of our parish, a strange refractory man, will believe nothing of all this : so that the whole town cries out · Shame! that one of his coat should be such an atheist ;' and design to complain of him to the bishop. He goes about very oddly to solve the matter. He supposes, that the first of these ladies keeping a brandy and tobacco shop, the fellows went out smoking; and got drunk towards evening, and made themselves beasts. He says the second is a butcher's daughter, and sometimes brings a quarter of mutton from the slaughter-house over-night against a market-day, and once buried a bit of beef in the ground, as a known receipt to cure warts on her hands. The parson affirms, that the third sells gingerbread, which, to please the children, she is forced to stamp with images before it is baked ; and if it burns their guts, it is because they eat too much, or do not drink after it.
" These are the answers he gives to solve those wonderful phenomena ; upon which I shall not animad
vert, but leave it among philosophers : and so, wishing you all success in your undertakings for the amendment of the world, I remain, dear cousin, Your most affectionate kinsman,
and humble servant,
• EPHRAIM BEDSTAFF.'
.P.S. Those who were condemned to death among the Athenians were obliged to take a dose of poison, which made them die upwards; seizing first upon their feet, making them cold and insensible, and so ascending gradually, until it reached the vital parts. I believe your death, which you foretold would happen on the seventeenth instant, will fall out the same way, and that your distemper hath already seized on you, and makes progress daily. The lower part of you, that is, the Advertisements, is dead; and these have risen for these ten days last past, so that they now take up almost a whole paragraph. Pray, Sir, do you endeavour to drive this distemper as much as possible to the extreme parts, and keep it there, as wise folks do the gout: for if it once gets into your stomach, it will soon fly up into your head, and you are a dead man.' . Any person that shall come publicly abroad in a fantastical habit, contrary to the present mode and fashion, except Don Diego Dismallo?, or any other out of poverty, shall have his name and dress inserted in our next.'
· N. B. Mr. Howd’yecall is desired to leave off those buttons.'
? A nick-name given, in the rage of party, to the earl of Nottingham. Steele, however, objects to this application of the character. See Guard. N° 53.
N° 22. TUESDAY, MAY 31, 1709.
Quicquid agunt homines
JUV. Sat. i. 85, 86.
White's Chocolate-house, May 28. I CAME hither this evening to see fashions; and who should I first encounter but my old friend Cynthio' (encompassed by a crowd of young fellows) dictating on the passion of love with the gayest air imaginable! Well,' says he, 'as to what I know of the matter, there is nothing but ogling with skill carries a woman; but indeed it is not every fool that is capable of this art; you will find twenty can speak eloquently, fifty that can fight manfully, and a thousand that can dress genteelly at a mistress, where there is one that can gaze skilfully. This requires an exquisite judgment, to take the language of her eyes to yours exactly, and not let yours talk too fast for hers; as at a play between the acts, when beau Frisk stands upon a bench full in Lindamira's face, and her dear eyes are searching round to avoid that flaring open fool; she meets the watchful glance of her true lover, and sees his heart attentive on her charms, and waiting for a second twinkle of her eye for its next mo tion. Here the good company sneered; but he goes on. "Nor is this attendance a slavery, when a man
! See Tat. N° 1, 5, 35, and 85.
meets with encouragement, and her eye comes often in his way: for, after an evening so spent, and the repetition of four or five significant looks at him, the happy man goes home to his lodging full of ten thousand pleasing images : his brain is dilated, and gives him all the ideas and prospects which it ever lets into its seat of pleasure. Thus a kind look from Lindamira revives in his imagination all the beauteous lawns, green fields, woods, forests, rivers, and solitudes, which he had ever before seen in picture, description, or real life: and all with this addition, that he now sees them with the eyes of a happy lover, as before only with those of a common man. You laugh, gentlemen; but consider yourselves (ye common people that were never in love and compare yourselves in good humour with yourselves out of humour, and ye will then acknowledge, that all external objects affect you according to the dispositions ye are in to receive their impressions, and not as those objects are in their own nature. How much more shall all that passes within his view and observation touch with delight a man who is prepossessed with successful love, which is an assemblage of soft affection, gay desires, and hopeful resolutions ?
Poor Cynthio went on at this rate to the crowd about him, without any purpose in his talk, but to vent an heart overflowing with sense of success. I wondered what could exalt him from the distress, in which he had long appeared, to so much alacrity: but my Familiar has given me the state of his affairs. It seems, then, that lately coming out of the playhouse, his mistress, who knows he is in her livery, as the manner of insolent beauties is, resolved to keep him still so, and gave him so much wages as to complain to him of the crowd she was to pass through.