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66 she won
would be the most grievous to the offender, and, what should be the end of all punishments, effectual for rooting out the crime. Upon this edict, which was as soon executed as published, the noise of the assembly very considerably abated. It was a melancholy spectacle to see so many who had the reputation of rigid virtue struck dumb. A lady who stood by me, and saw my concern,
me, dered how I could be concerned for such a pack of
I found, by the shaking of her head, she was going to give me their characters; but, by her saying no more, I perceived she had lost the command of her tongue. This calamity fell very heavy upon that part of women who are distinguished by the name of Prudes, a courtly word for female hypocrites, who have a short way to being virtuous, by showing that others are vicious. The second sentence was then pronounced against the loose part of the sex, that all should immediately be pregnant, who in any part of their lives had run the hazard of it. This produced a very goodly appearance, and revealed so many misconducts, that made those who were lately struck dumb repine more than ever at their want of utterance ; though at the same time, as afflictions seldom come single, many of the mutes were also seized with this new calamity. The ladies were now in such a condition, that they would have wanted room, had not the plain been large enough to let them divide their ground, and extend their lines on all sides. It was a sensible affliction to me, to see such a multitude of fair ones, either dumb or big-bellied. But I was something more at ease, when I found that they agreed upon several regulations to cover such misfortunes. Among others, that it should be an established maxim in all nations, that a woman's first child might come into the world within six months after her acquaintance with her husband;
and that grief might retard the birth of her last until fourteen months after his decease.
This vision lasted until my usual hour of waking, which I did with some surprise, to find myself alone after having been engaged almost a whole night in so prodigious a multitude. I could not but reflect with wonder at the partiality and extravagance of my vision ; which, according to my thoughts, has not done justice to the sex. If virtue in men is more venerable, it is in women more lovely; which Milton has very finely expressed in his Paradise Lost, where Adam, speaking of Eve, after having asserted his own pre-eminence, as being first in creation and internal faculties, breaks out into the following rapture:
-“ Yet when I approach
No 103. TUESDAY, DECEMBER 6, 1709.
He nugæ seria ducunt
Hor. Ars Poet. ver. 452.
From my own Apartment, December 5. There is nothing gives a man a greater satisfaction, than the sense of having dispatched a great deal of business, especially when it turns to the public emolument. I have much pleasure of this kind upon my spirits at present, occasioned by the fatigue of affairs which I went through last Saturday. It is some time since I set apart that day for examining the pretensions of several who had applied to me for canes, perspective-glasses, snuff-boxes, orange-flowerwaters, and the like ornaments of life. In order to adjust this matter, I had before directed Charles Lillie of Beaufort-Buildings to prepare a great bundle of blank licences in the following words:
“ You are hereby required to permit the bearer of this cane to pass and repass through the streets and suburbs of London, or any place within ten miles of it, without let or molestation, provided that he does not walk with it under his arm, brandish it in the air, or shang it on a button : in which case it shall be forfeited ; and I hereby declare it forfeited, to any one who shall think it safe to take it from him.
« ISAAC BICKERSTAFF.”
The same form, differing only in the provisos, will serve for a perspective, snuff-box, or perfumed handkerchief. I had placed myself in my elbow-chair at the upper end of my great parlour, having ordered Charles Lillie to take his place upon a joint-stool, with a writing-desk before him. John Morphew also took his station at the door ; I having, for his good and faithful services, appointed him my chamberkeeper upon court-days. He let me know, that there was a great number attending without. Upon which I ordered him to give notice, that I did not intend to sit upon snuff-boxes that day; but that those who appeared for canes might enter. The first presented me with the following petition, which I ordered Mr. Lillie to read.
“ To ISAAC BICKERSTAFF, Esquire, Censor of
“ Showeth, “ That your petitioner having been bred up to a cane from his youth, it is now become as necessary to him as any other of his limbs.
“ That, a great part of his behaviour depending upon it, he should be reduced to the utmost necessities if he should lose the use of it.
“ That the knocking of it upon his shoe, leaning one leg upon it, or whistling with it on his mouth, are such great reliefs to him in conversation, that he does not know how to be good company without it.
“ That he is at present engaged in an amour, and must despair of success if it be taken from him,
“ Your petitioner, therefore, hopes, that, the premises tenderly considered, your worship will not deprive him of so useful and so necessary a support.
“ And your petitioner shall ever, &c.”
to go alone.
Upon the hearing of this case, I was touched with some compassion, and the more so, when, upon observing him nearer, I found he was a Prig. I bid him produce his cane in court, which he had left at the door. He did so, and I finding it to be very curiously clouded with a transparent amber head, and a blue ribband to hang upon his wrist, I immediately ordered my clerk Lillie to lay it up, and deliver out to him a plain joint, headed with walnut; and then, in order to wean him from it by degrees, permitted him to wear it three days in a week, and to abate proportionably until he found himself able
The second who appeared came limping into the court : and setting forth in his petition many pretences for the use of a cane, I caused them to be examined one by one ; but finding him in different stories, and confronting him with several witnesses who had seen him walk upright, I ordered Mr. Lillie to take in his cane, and rejected his petition as frivolous.
A third made his entry with great difficulty leaning upon a slight stick, and in danger of falling every step he took. I saw the weakness of his hams; and hearing that he had married a young wife about a fortnight before, I bid him leave his cane, and gave him a new pair of crutches, with which he went off in great vigour and alacrity. This gentleman was succeeded by another, who seemed very much pleased while his petition was reading, in which he had represented, That he was extremely afflicted with the gout, and set his foot upon the ground with the