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of May, N. S. which advise, that the enemy had drawn together a body, consisting of 20,000 men, with a design, as was supposed, to intercept the great convoy on the march towards Lisle, which was safely arrived at Menin and Courtray, in its way to that place, the French having retired without making any attempt.
We hear from the Hague, that a person of the first quality is arrived in the Low Countries from France, in order to be a plenipotentiary in the ensuing treaty of peace.
Letters from France acknowledge, that monsieur Bernard has made no higher offers of satisfaction to. his creditors than of 351. per cent.
These advices add, that the marshal Boufflers, monsieur Torcy (who distinguished himself formerly, by advising the court of France to adhere to the treaty of partition), and monsieur d'Harcourt (who negotiated with cardinal Portocarrero for the succession of the crown of Spain in the house of Bourbon) are all three joined in a commission for a treaty of peace. The marshal is come to Ghent: the other two are arrived at the Hague.
It is confidently reported here, that the right honourable the lord Townshend is to go with his grace the duke of Marlborough into Holland.
*** Mr. Bickerstaff has received the epistles of Mrs. Rebecca Wagstaff, Timothy Pikestaff and Wagstaff, which he will acknowledge farther as occasion shall serve.
N° 10. TUESDAY, MAY 3, 1709.
Quicquid agunt homines —
nostri est farrago libelli.
JUV. Sat. i. 85, 86.
BY MRS. JENNY DISTAFF', HALF-SISTER TO MR.
From my own Apartment, May 1. My brother Isaac, having a sudden occasion to go out of town, ordered me to take upon me the dispatch of the next advices from home, with liberty to speak in my own way; not doubting the allowances which would be given to a writer of my sex. You may be sure I undertook it with much satisfaction: and I con
1 We find Miss, a contraction of Mistress, in Miege's French Dictionary, 1688 ; but in 1709 the appellation of miss seems to have been given only to girls not yet in their teens, or to loose young women. In N° 9, the giddy Pastorella is styled miss; but here it is Mrs. Jenny Distaff, and she was only turned of twenty, as we find No 33. A young lady of nineteen is called mistress in Spec. N° 534. i. e, in 1712. Shakspeare distinguishes maidens from their mothers, by adding the christian names; 'mistress Ann Page,' anno 1601. See more N° 13, note.--At what time the term miss first began to be used as the only appellative to unmarried ladies, it is not easy to ascertain. But from a passage in the Universal Spectator of July 1, 1738, it may be supposed to have been then of recent introduction.
fess, I am not a little pleased with the opportunity of running over all the papers in his closet, which he has left open for my use on this occasion. The first that I lay my hands on, is a treatise concerning the Empire of Beauty,' and the effects it has had, in all nations of the world, upon the public and private actions of men; with an appendix, which he calls, • The Bachelor's Scheme for governing his Wife.' The first thing he makes this gentleman propose, is, that she shall be no woman; for she is to have an aversion to balls, to operas, to visits: she is to think his company sufficient to fill up all the hours of life with great satisfaction; she is never to believe any other man wise, learned, or valiant; or at least, but in a second degree. In the next place, he intends she shall be a cuckold; but expects, that he himself must live in perfect security from that terror. He dwells a great while on instructions for her discreet behaviour, in case of his falsehood. I have not patience with these unreasonable expectations, therefore turn back to the treatise itself. Here indeed my brother deduces all the revolutions among men from the passion of love ; and in his preface answers that usual observation against us, that there is no quarrel without a woman in it,' with a gallant assertion, that there is nothing else worth quarrelling for.' My brother is of a complexion truly amorous; all his thoughts and actions carry in them a tincture of that obliging inclination ; and this turn has opened his eyes to see that we are not the inconsiderable creatures which unlucky pretenders to our favour would insinuate. He observes, that no man begins to make any tolerable figure, until he sets out with the hopes of pleasing some one of us. No sooner he takes that in hand, but he pleases every one else by the bye. It has an immediate effect upon
his behaviour. There is col. Ranter, who never spoke without an oath, until he saw the lady Betty Modish; now, never gives his man an order, but it is, 'Pray, Tom, do it. The drawers where he drinks live in perfect happiness. He asked Will at the George the other day, how he did? Where he used to say, Damn it, it is so;' he now 'believes there is some mistake; he must confess, he is of another opinion; but however he will not insist ?!
Every temper, except downright insipid, is to be animated and softened by the influence of beauty : but of this untractable sort is a lifeless handsome fellow that visits us, whom I have dressed at this twelvemonth; but he is as insensible of all the arts I use, as if he conversed all that time with his nurse. He outdoes our whole sex in all the faults our enemies impute to us; he has brought laziness into an opinion, and makes his indolence his philosophy: insomuch that no longer ago than yesterday in the evening he gave me this account of himself: 'I am, madam, perfectly unmoved at all that passes among men, and seldom give myself the fatigue of going among them; but when I do, I always appear the same thing to those whom I converse with. My hours of existence, or being awake, are from eleven in the morning to eleven at night; half of which I live to myself, in picking my teeth, washing my hands, paring my nails, and looking in the glass. The insignificancy
2 This has been supposed an allusion to the celebrated Mrs. Oldfield and Brigadier-general Churchill. Mrs. 0. acted at this time the character of Lady Betty Modish in The Careless Husband, which the author (Cibber) acknowledges was not only written for her, but copied from her; so that she was both the player and the original of the character.
of my manners to the rest of the world, makes the laughers call me a quidnunc, a phrase which I neither understand, nor shall ever enquire what they mean by it. The last of me each night is at St. James's coffee-house, where I converse, yet never fall into a dispute on any occasion; but leave the understanding I have, passive of all that goes through it, without entering into the business of life. And thus, madam, have I arrived by laziness, to what others pretend to by philosophy, a perfect neglect of the world. Sure, if our sex had the liberty of frequenting public houses and conversations, we should put these rivals of our faults and follies out of countenance. However, we shall soon have the pleasure of being acquainted with them one way or other; for my brother Isaac designs, for the use of our sex, to give the exact characters of all the chief politicians, who frequent any of the coffeehouses from St. James's to the Exchange; but designs to begin with that cluster of wise-heads, as they are found sitting every evening from the left side of the fire at the Smyrna, to the door. This will be of great service for us, and I have authority to promise an exact journal of their deliberations; the publication of which I am to be allowed for pin-money. In the mean time, I cast my eye upon a new book, which gave me more pleasing entertainment, being a sixth part of Miscellany Poems, published by Jacob Tonson, which I find, by my brother's notes upon it, no way inferior to the other volumes. There is, it seems, in this, a collection of the best pastorals that have hitherto appeared in England; but among them none superior to that dialogue between Sylvia and Dorinda,
3 Commonly called Dryden's Collection.