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St. James's Coffee house, May 23.
Letters from the Hague of the twenty-third instant, N. S. say, Mr. Walpole" (who is fince arrived) was going with all expedition to Great-Britain, whither they doubted not but he carried with him the preliminaries to a treaty of peace. The French Minister, Monsieur Torcy, has been observed, in this whole negotiation, toi turn his discourfe upon the calamities fent down by hea. ven upon France, and imputed the neceffities they were under to the immediate hand of Providence, in infii&t. ing a general scarcity of provifion, rather than the luperior genius of the Generals, or the bravery of the armies against them. It would be impious not to acknowledge the indulgence of heaven to us ; but at the same time as we are to love our enemies, we are glad to see them mortified enough to mix chriftianity with their politics, An authentic letter from Madam Maintenon to Monsieur Torcy, has been stolen by a person about him, who has communicated a copy of it to fome of the dependants of a Minister of the Allies. That epistle is writ in the most pathetic manner imaginable, and in a style which thews her genius that has so long engrossed the heart of this great monarch.
T Received yours, and am fenfible of the address I and capacity with which you have hitherto trans** acted the great affair under your management. You het will obferve, that our wants here are not to be con
cealed ; and that it is vanity to use artifices with the " knowing men with whom you are to deal. Let me: * beg you therefore, in this representation of our cir.
cumstances, to lay afide art, which ceases to be such " when it is seen, and make use of all your skill to gain " us what advantages you can from the enemy's jealousy “ of each other's greatness ; which is the place where
only you have room for any dexterity. If you have " any passion for your unhappy country, or any affection " for your distressed master, come home with peace.
TA TLER. N° 19. " Oh heaven ! do I live to talk of Lewis the Grear, as “ the object of pity? the King News a great uneasiness “ to be informed of all that passes ; but at the same “ time, is fearful of every one who appears in his pre“ sence, left he hould bring an account of some new “ calamity, I know not in what terms to represent my " thoughts to you, when I speak of the King, with re" lation to his bodily health. Figure to yourself that “ immortal man, who food in our public places, re. “ presented witb trophie», armour, and terrors, on his “ pedestal : Consider, the Invincible, the Great, the “ Good, the Pious, the Mighty, which were the usoal ", epichets we gave him, both in our language and " thoughts. I say, consider bim whom you knew the “ most glorious and greatest of Monarchs, and now “ shink you see the same man an unhappy Lazar, in the " lowest circumstances of human nature itself, without “ regard to the itate from whence he is fallen. I write " from his bed-side : He is at present in a lumber. I " have many, many things to add ; but my tears flow " too fast, and my sorrow is tow big for utterance.
I am, &c.'
There is such a veneration due from all men to the persons of Princes, that it were a sort of dithonefty to represent further the condition which the King is in ; but it is certain, that soon after the receipt of these advices, Monsieur Torcy waited upon his Grace the Duke of Marlborough, and the Lord Townshend, and in that conference gave up many points, which he had before fajd were such, as he must return to France before he could answer.
No 20. Thursday, May 26, 1709.
White's Chocolate-house, May 24.
IT is not to be imagined how far prepossession will
I ran away with people's understandings, in cases wherein they are under present uneasinesses. The fol. lowing narration is a fufficient teftimony of the truth of this observation.
I had the honour the other day of a visit from a Gentlewoman (a stranger to me) who seemed to be about : thirty. Her complexicn is brown; but the air of her face has an agreeableness which surpaffes the beauties of the faireft women. There appeared in her look and mien a sprightly health ; and her eyes had too much vivacity to become the language of complaint, which He began to enter into. She seemed fenfible of it; and therefore, with downcaft looks, said the, Mr. Bickerstaff, you see before you the unhappiest of women ; and therefore, as you are esteemed by all the world both a great civilian, as well as an astrologer, I must desire your ad. vice and affiftance, in putting me in a method of obtaining a Divorce from a marriage, which I know the law will pronounce void. Madan, said I, your grievance is of such a nature, that you muft be very ingenuous in representing the caufes of your complaint, or I cannot give you the fatisfaction you desire. Sir, the answers, I believe there would be no need of half your skill in the art of divination, to guess why a woman would part from her husband. It is true, said 1, but suspicions, or guesses at what you mean, nay certainty of it, except you plainly speak it, are no foundation for a formal suit. She clapped her fan before her face ; my husband, said The, is no more an husband (here the bursts into tears). than one of the Italian fingers.
Madam, said I, the Miction you complain of is to be redressed by law; but, at the same time, consider what mortifications you are to go through in bringing it into open Court; how will you be able to bear the inpertinent whispers of the people present at the trial, the licentious reflections of the pleaders, and the interpretations that will in general be put upon your conduct by all the world ? how little (will they say) could that Lady command her passions ! besides, consider, that curbing our desires is the greatest glory we can arrive at in this world, and will be most rewarded in the next. She an. swered, like a prudent matron, Sir, if you please to remember the office of matrimony, the first cause of its infticution is that of having pofterity: Therefore, as to the curbing desires, I am willing to undergo any abfti. nence from food as you please to enjoin me; but I cannot, with any quiet of mind, live in the neglect of a , pecessary duty, and an express commandment, Increase · and Multiply. Observing the was learned, and knew
fo well the duties of life, I turned my argument rather to dehort her from this public procedure by examples, than precepts. Do but consider, Madam, what crouds of beauteous women live in nunneries, secluded for ever from the fight and conversation of men, with all the alacrity of spirit imaginable; they spend their time in heavenly raptures, in constant and, frequent devotions, and at proper hours in agreeable conversations.. Sir, said the hastily, tell not me of Papifts, or any of their idolatries. Well then, Madam, consider how many fine Ladies live innocently in the eye of the world, and this gay town, in the midst of temptation : There is the .witty Mrs,
W P is a Virgin of forty-four, Mrs. s is thirty-nine, Mrs. L
E thirtythree; yet you see they laugh, and are gay, at the Park, at the Play-house, at Balls, and at Visits; and so much at ease, that all this seems hardly a self-denial. Mr. Bickers aft, said the, with some emosion, you are an excellent Casuist; but the last word destroyed your whole argument; if it is not self-denial, it is no virtue. I presented you with an half-guinea, in hopes not only to have my Conscience eased, but my Fortune told, Yet Well, Madam, faid I, pray of what age is your huf
band ? he is, replied my injured client, fifty; and I have been his wife fifteen years. How happened it you never communicated your distress, in all this time, to your friends and relations ? The answered, he has been: thus but a fortnight. I am the most serious man in the world to look at, and yet could not forbear laughing out. Why, Madam, in case of Infirmity, which proceeds only from age, the Law gives no remedy. Sir, said Me, I find you have no more learning than Dr. Cafe; and I am told of a young man, not five and twenty, just come from Oxford, to whom I will communicate this · wbole matter, and doubt not but he will appear to have seven times more useful and satisfactory knowledge than' you and all your boasted family. Thus I have entirely, lost my client : But if this tedious narrative preserves Pastorella from the intended marriage with one twenty years her senior-To fave a fine Lady, I am contented to have my learning decried, and my predictions bound up with Poor Robin's Almanack.
This evening was acted The Recruiting Officer, in which Estcourt's proper sense and observation is what supports the Play. There is not, in my humble opinion, the humour hit in Serjeant Kite; but it is admirably supplied by his action. If I have kill to judge, that man: is an excellent actor ; but the croud of the audience are fitter for representations at May-fair, than a Theatre Royal. Yet that fair is now broke, as well as the theatre is breaking: But it is allowed ftill to sell animals there. Therefore, if any Lady or Gentleman have oc. casion for a tame elephant, let them enquire of Mr. Pinkethman, who has one to dispose of at a reasonable rate. The downfal of May-fair has quite funk the price of this noble creature, as well as of many other curiofi. ties of Nature. A tyger will sell almoft as cheap as an ox; and I am credibly informed, a man may purchase a cat with three legs, for very near the value of one with four. I hear likewise, that there is a great desolation among the Gentlemen and Ladies who were the ornaments of the towyn, and used to shine in plumes and dia