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instead of turning the dove off, I fancy it would be better if the chaise of Venus had hereafter a parrot added (as we see sometimes a third horse to a coach), which might intimate, that to be a parrot, is the only way to succeed; and to be a dove, to preserve your conquests. If the swain would go on successfully, he must imitate the bird he writes upon : for he who would be loved by women, must never be silent before the favour, or open his lips after it.
From my own Apartment, June 10. I HAVE SO many messages from young gentlemen who expect preferment and distinction, that I am wholly at a loss in what manner to acquit myself. The writer of the following letter tells me in a postscript, he cannot go out of town until I have taken some notice of him, and is very urgent to be somebody in it, before he returns to his commons at the university. But take it from himself. • To Isaac Bickerstaff, esquire, monitor-general of
Shire-lane, June 8. • I HAVE been above six months from the university, of age these three months, and so long in town. I was recommended to one Charles Bubbleboy near the Temple, who has supplied me with all the furniture he says a gentleman ought to have. I desired a certificate thereof from him, which he said would reqnire some time to consider of; and, when I went yesterday morning for it, he tells ine, upon due consideration, I still want some few odd things more, to the value of threescore or fourscore pounds, to make
2 Charles Mather, then a toyman in Fleet-street.
me complete. I have bespoke them; and the favour I beg of you is, to know, when I am equipped, in what part or class of men in this town you will place me. Pray send me word what I am, and you shall find me, Sir, your most humble servant,
- JEFFRY NICKNACK.'
I am very willing to encourage young beginners, but am extremely in the dark how to dispose of this gentleman. I cannot see either his person or habit in this letter ; but I will call at Charles's, and know the shape of his snuff-box, by which I can settle his character. Though, indeed, to know his full capacity, I ought to be informed whether he takes Spanish or Musty3.
N° 28. TUESDAY, JUNE 14, 1709.
Quicquid agunt homines
nostri est farrago libelli.
JUV. Sat. i. 85, 86.
White's Chocolate-house, June 13. I HAD suspended the business of duelling to a distant time, but that I am called upon to declare myself on a point proposed in the following letter'.
3 In the Spanish fleet which was taken or burnt at Vigo în 1703, a quantity of musty snuff was inade prize of; and it soon became fashionable to use no snuff but what had this musty flavour.
See N° 25, 26, 29, 31, 38, and 39.
June 9, at night. I DESIRE the favour of you to decide this question, whether calling a gentleman a smart fellow is an affront or not: A youth entering a certain coffee-house. with his cane tied to his button, wearing red-heeled shoes, I-thought of your description, and could not forbear telling a friend of mine next to me, “there enters a smart fellow.” The gentleman, hearing it, had immediately a mind to pick a quarrel with me, and desired satisfaction; at which I was more puzzled than at the other, remembering what mention your familiar makes of those that had lost their lives on such occasions. The thing is referred to your judge ment; and I expect you to be my second, since you have been the cause of our quarrel. I ain, Sir, your friend and humble servant.'
I absolutely pronounce that there is no occasion of offence given in this expression; for a 'smart fellow is always an appellation of praise, and is a man of double capacity. The true cast or mould in which you may be sure to know him is, when his livelihood or education is in the civil list, and you see himn express a vivacity of mettle above the way he is in by a little jerk in his motion, short trip in his steps, wellfancied lining of his coat, or any other indications which may be given in a vigorous dress?. Now, what possible insinuation can there be, that it is a cause of quarrel for a man to say, he allows a gentleman really to be, what his tailor, his hosier, and his milliner, have conspired to make him? I confess, if this person who appeals to me had said, he was not a smart fel
See No 9, 24, 26, and 27.,
low,' there had been cause for resentment; but if he stands to it that he is one, he leaves no manner of ground for misunderstanding. Indeed it is a most lamentable thing, that there should be a dispute raised upon a man's saying another is what he plainly takes pains to be thought.
But this point cannot be so well adjusted, as by inquiring what are the sentiments of wise nations and communities, of the use of the sword, and from thence conclude whether it is honourable to draw it so frequently or not? An illustrious commonwealth of Italy 3 has preserved itself for many ages, without letting one of their subjects handle this destructive instrument; always leaving that work to such of mankind as understand the use of a whole skin so little, as to make a profession of exposing it to cuts and scars.
But what need we run to such foreign instances ? Our own ancient and well-governed cities are conspicuous examples to all mankind in their regulation of military achievements. The chief citizens, like the noble Italians, hire mercenaries to carry arms in their stead; and you shall have a fellow of a desperate fortune, for the gain of one half crown, go through all the dangers of Tothill-fields, or the Artillery-ground, clap his right jaw within two inches of the touch-hole of a musquet, fire it off, and huzza, with as little concern as he tears a pullet 4. Thus you
3 Venice, which declined engaging in the war of the Grand Alliance in 1702. When it had occasion for soldiers, this republic commonly employed German, Swiss, or other foreign mercenaries,
4 The city train-bands were at this time very justly a standing subject of ridicule, for their motley appearance and ill discipline. See N° 38, and 41.
see, to what scorn of danger these mercenaries arrive, out of a mere love of sordid gain : but methinks it should take off the strong prepossession men have in favour of bold actions, when they see upon what low motives men aspire to them. Do but observe the common practice in the government of those hes roic bodies, our militia and lieutenancies, the most ancient corps of soldiers, perhaps, in the universe; I question, whether there is one instance of an animosity between any two of these illustrious sons of Mars since their institution, which was decided by combat. I remember indeed to have read the chronicle of an accident which had like to have occasioned bloodshed in the very field before all the general officers, though most of them were justices of the peace. Captain Crabtree, of Birchin-lane, haberdasher, had drawn a bill upon major general Maggot, cheese-monger in Thames-street. Crabtree draws this upon Mr. William Maggot and company. A country lad received this bill, and not understanding the word company,' used in drawing bills on men in partnership, carried it to Mr. Jeffery Stitch of Crooked-lane (lieutenant of the major-general's company), whom he had the day before seen march by the door in all the pomp of his commission. The lieutenant accepts it for the honour of the company, since it had come to him. But repayment being asked from the major-general, he absolutely refuses. Upon this, the lieutenant thinks of nothing less than to bring this to a rupture, and takes for his second Tobias Armstrongs of the Counter, and sends him with a challenge in a scrip of parchment; wherein was written Stitch contra Maggot, and all the fury vanished in a moment. The
5 A sheriff's officer of that time.