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about his meaning, for commentators are a sect that has little share in my esteem : your elaborate writings have, among many others, this advantage; that their author is still alive, and ready, as his extensive charity makes us expect, to explain whatever may be found in them too sublime for vulgar understandings. This, sir, makes me presume to ask you, how the Hampstead hero's character could be perfectly new when the last letters came away, and yet sir John Suckling so well acquainted with it sixty years ago? I hope, sir, you will not take this amiss: I can assure you, I have a profound respect for you, which makes me write this with the same disposition with which Longinus bids us read Homer and Plato. When in reading, says he, any of those celebrated authors, we meet with a passage to which we cannot well reconcile our reasons, we ought firmly to believe, that were those great wits present to answer for themselves, we should, to our wonder, be convinced, that we only are guilty of the mistakes that we before attributed to them. If you think fit to remove the scruple that now torments me, it will be an encouragement to me to settle a frequent correspondence with you ; several things falling in my way, which would not, perhaps, be altogether foreign to your purpose, and whereon your thoughts would be very acceptable to your most humble servant,
. * OBADIAH GREENHAT."
I own this is clean, and Mr. Greenhat has convinced me that I have writ nonsense, yet am I not at all offended at him.
Scimus, et hanc veniam petimusque damusque
vicissim. 11or. Ars Poet. ver. xi. I own th' indulgence—Such I give and take. Francis.
This is the true art of raillery, when a man turns another into ridicule, and shows at the same time he is in good humour, and not urged on by malice against the person he rallies. Obadiah Greenhat has hit this very well: for to make an apology to Isaac Bickerstaff, an unknown student and horary historian, as well as astrologer, and with a grave face to say, he speaks of him by the same rules with which he would treat Homer or Plato, is to place him in company where he cannot expect to make a figure; and make him flatter himself, that it is only being named with them which renders him most ridiculous.
I have not known, and I am now past my grand climacteric, being sixty-four years of age, according to my way of life; or, rather, if you will allow punning in an old gentleman, according to my way of pastime; I say, as old as I am, I have not been acquainted with many of the Greenhats. There is indeed one Zedekiah Greenhat, who is lucky also in his way. He has a very agreeable manner; for when he has a mind thoroughly to correct a man, he never takes from him any thing, but he allows him something for it; or else he blames him for
things wherein he is not defective, as well as for matters wherein he is. This makes a weak man believe he is in jest in the whole. The other day he told Beau Prim, who is thought impotent, ‘that his mistress had declared she would not have him, because he was a sloven, and had committed a rape.' The beau bit at the banter, and said very gravely, “he thought to be clean was as much as was necessary; and that as to the rape, he wondered by what witchcraft that should come to her ears; but it had indeed cost him a hundred pounds to hush the affair.’ The Greenhats are a family with small voices and short arms, therefore they have power with none but their friends: they never call after those who run away from them, or pretend to take hold of you if you resist. But it has been remarkable, that all who have shunned their company, or not listened to them, have fallen into the hands of such as have knocked out their brains, or broken their bones. I have looked over our pedigree upon the receipt of this epistle, and find the Greenhats are a-kin to the 'Staffs. They descend from Maudlin, the left-handed wife of Nehemiah Bickerstaff, in the reign of Harry the second. And it is remarkable, that they are all left-handed, and have always been very expert at single rapier. A man must be very much used to their play to know how to defend himself; for their posture is so different from that of the right-handed, that you run upon their swords if you push forward: and they are in with you, if you offer to fall back without keeping your guard. There have been, also, letters lately sent to me, which relate to other people: among the rest, some whom I have heretofore declared to be so, are deceased. I must not, therefore, break through rules so far as to speak ill of the dead. This maxim extends to all but the late Partridge, who still denies his death. I am informed, indeed, by several, that he walks; but I shall with all convenient specd lay him.
St. James's Coffee-house, August 24.
We hear from Tournay, that on the night between the twenty-second and twenty-third, they went on with their works in the enemy's mines, and levelled the earth which was taken out of them. The next day, at eight in the morning, when the French observed we were relieving our trenches, they sprung a larger mine than any they had fired during the siege, which killed only four private centinels. The ensuing night, we had three men and two officers killed, as also, seven men wounded. Between the twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth, we repaired some works which the enemy had ruined. On the next day, some of the enemy's magazines blew up; and it is thought they were destroyed on purpose by some of their men, who are impatient of the hardships of the present service. There happened nothing remarkable for two or three days following. A deserter who came out of the citadel on the twenty-seventh, says the garrison is brought to the utmost necessity; that their bread and water are both very bad : and that they were reduced to eat horse-flesh.
The manner of fighting in this siege has discovered a gallantry in our men unknown to former ages; their meeting with adverse parties under ground, where every step is taken with apprehensions of being blown up with mines below them, or crushed by the fall of the earth above thern, and all this acted in darkness, has something in it more terrible than ever is met with in any other part of a soldier's duty. However, this is performed with great cheerfulness. In other parts of the war we have also good prospects; count Thaun has taken Annecy, and the count de Merci marched into Franche Compte, while his electoral highness is much superior in number to monsieur d'Harcourt; so that both on the side of Savoy and Germany, we have reason to expect, very suddenly, some great event.
To proceed regularly in the history of my Worthies, I ought to give an account of what has passed from day to day in this place; but a young fellow of my acquaintance has so lately been rescued out of the hands of the Knights of the Industry, that I rather choose to relate the manner of his escape from them, and the uncommon way which was used to reclaim him, than to go on in my intended diary.
You are to know then, that Tom Wildair is a student of the Inner Temple, and has spent his time, since he left the university for that place, in the common diversions of men of fashion; that is to say, in whoring, drinking, and gaming. The two former vices he had from his father; but was led into the last by the conversation of a partizan of the Myrmidons who had chambers near him. His allowance from his father was a very plentiful one for a man of sense, but as scanty for a modern fine gentleman. His frequent losses had reduced him to so necessitous a condition, that his lodgings were always haunted by impatient creditors; and all his thoughts employed in contriving low methods to support himself in a way of life from which he knew not how to retreat, and in which he wanted means to proceed. There is never wanting some goodnatured person to send a man an account of what he has no mind to hear ; therefore many epistles were conveyed to the father of this extravagant, to inform him of the company, the pleasures, the distresses, and entertainments, in which his son passed his time. The old fellow received these advices with all the pain of a parent, but frequently consulted his pillow, to know how to behave himself on such important occasions as the welfare of his son, and the safety of his fortune. After many agi
tations of mind, he reflected, that necessity was
the usual snare which made men fall into meanness, and that a liberal fortune generally made
a liberal and honest mind; he resolved, therefore, to save him from his ruin, by giving him opportunities of tasting what it is to be at ease, and inclosed to him the following order upon sir Tristram Cash.
‘SIR,-Pray pay to Mr. Thomas Wildair, or order, the sum of one thousand pounds, and place it to the account of yours, “HUMPHRY WILD AIR.'
Tom was so astonished with the receipt of this order, that though he knew it to be his father's hand, and that he had always large sums at sir Tristram's ; yet a thousand pounds was a trust of which his conduct had always made him appear so little capable, that he kept his note by him, until he writ to his father the following letter:
“HonourED FATHER,--I have received an order under your hand for a thousand pounds, in words at length; and I think I could swear it is your own hand. I have looked it over twenty thousand times. There is in plain letters, Th,0, u,. s,a,n,0; and after it, the letters P,0, u, n, d.s. I have it still by me, and shall, I believe, continue reading it until I hear from you.'
The old gentleman took no manner of notice of the receipt of his letter; but sent him another order for three thousand pounds more. His amazement on this second letter was unspeakable. He immediately double-locked his door, and sat down carefully to reading and comparing both his orders. After he had read them until he was half mad, he walked six or seven turns in his chamber, then opens his door, then locks it again; and to examine thoroughly this matter, he locks his door again, puts his table and chairs against it; then goes into his closet, and locking himself in, read his notes over again about nineteen times, which did but increase his astonishment. Soon after, he began to recollect many stories he had formerly heard of persons, who had been possessed with imaginations and appearances which had no foundation in nature, but had been taken with sudden madness in the midst of a seeming clear and untainted reason. This made him very gravely conclude he was out of his wits; and, with a design to compose himself, he immediately betakes him to his night-cap, with a resolution to sleep himself into his former poverty and senses. To bed therefore he goes at noon-day ; but soon rose again, and resolved to visit sir Tristram upon this occasion. He did so, and dined with the knight, expecting he would mention some advice from his father about paying him money; but no such thing being said, ‘Look you, sir Tristram,” said he, “you are to know, that an affair has happened, which—” “Look you,' says Tristram, “I know Mr. Wildair, you are going to desire me to advance; but the late call of the bank, where I have not yet made my last payment, has obliged me—’ Tom interrupted him, by showing him the bill of a thousand pounds. When he had looked at it for a convenient time, and as often surveyed Tom's looks and countenance ; ‘Look you, Mr. Wiidair, a thousand
pounds—” Before he could procced, he shows him the order for three thousand more. Sir Tristram examined the orders at the light, and finding at the writing the name, there was a certain stroke in one letter, which the father and he had agreed should be to such directions as he desired might be more immediately honour. ed, he forthwith pays the money. The possession of four thousand pounds gave my young gentleman a new train of thoughts: he began to reflect upon his birth, the great expectations he was born to, and the unsuitable ways he had long pursued. Instead of that unthinking creature he was before, he is now provident, generous, and discreet. The father and son have an exact and regular correspondence, with mutual and unreserved confidence in each other. The son looks upon his father as the best tenant he could have in the country, and the father finds the son the most safe banker he could have in the city.
Will's Coffee-house, August 26.
There is not any thing in nature so extravagant, but that you will find one man or other that shall practise or maintain it; otherwise Harry Spondee could not have made so long an harangue as he did here this evening, concerning the force and efficacy of well-applied nonsense. Among ladies, he positively averred, it was the most prevailing part of eloquence; and had so little complaisance as to say, ‘a woman is never taken by her reason, but always by her passion.” He proceeded to assert, ‘the way to move that, was only to astonish her. I know,' continued he, “a very late instance of this; for being by accident in the room next to Strephon, I could not help over-hearing him, as he made love to a certain great lady's woman. The true method in your application to one of this second rank of understanding, is not to elevate and surprise, but rather to elevate and amaze. Strephon is a perfect master in this kind of persuasion : his way is, to run over with a soft air a multitude of words, without meaning or connexion; but such as do each of them apart give a pleasing idea, though they have nothing to do with each other as he assembles them. After the common phrases of salutation, and making his entry into the room, I perceived he had taken the fair nymph's hand, and kissing it said, “Witness to my happiness, ye groves! be still, ye rivulets: Oh! woods, caves, fountains, dales, mountains, hills, and streams! oh! fairest! could you love me 7” To which I overheard her answer, with a very pretty lisp, “Oh Strephon, you are a dangerous creature : why do you talk these tender things to me? but you men of wit—” “Is it then possible,” said the enamoured Strephon, “that she regards my sorrows : Oh! pity, thou balmy cure to a heart over-loaded ! If rapture, solicitation, soft desire, and pleasing anxiety—But still I live in the most afflicting of all circumstances, doubt—Cannot my charmer name the place and moment?
“There all those joys insatiably to prove,
“Forgive me, madam; it is not that my'heart is weary of its chains, but—" This incoherent
stuff was answered by a tender sigh, “Why do you put your wit to a weak woman " Strephon saw he had made some progress in her heart, and pursued it, by saying that “He would certainly wait upon her at such an hour near Rosamond's pond; and then—the sylvan deities, and rural powers of the place, sacred and inviolable to love; love, the mover of all noble hearts, should hear his vows repeated by the streams and echoes.” The assignation was accordingly made. This style he calls the unintelligible method of speaking his mind; and I will engage, had this gallant spoken plain English, she had never understood him half so readily : for we may take it for granted, that he will be esteemed as a very cold lover, who discovers to his mistress that he is in his senses.
From my own Apartment, August 26.
The following letter came to my hand, with a request to have the subject recommended to our readers, particularly the Smart Fellows; who are desired to repair to major Touch-hole, who can help them to firclocks that are only fit for exercise.
Just ready for the press.
‘Mars Triumphant; or London's Glory:— Being the whole art of encampment, with the method of embattling armies, marching them off, posting the officers, forming hollow squares, and the various ways of paying the salute with the half-pike; as it was performed by the trainedbands of London this year, one thousand seven hundred and nine, in that nursery of Bellona, the Artillery Ground. Wherein you have a new method how to form a strong line of foot, with large intervals between each platoon, very useful to prevent the breaking in of horse. A civil way of performing the military ceremony; wherein the major alights from his horse, and, at the head of his company, salutes the lieutenant-colonel ; and the lieutenant-colonel, to return the compliment, courteously dismounts, and after the same manner salutes his major: exactly as it was performed, with abundance of applause, on the fifth of July last. Likewise an account of a new invention, made use of in the red regiment, to quell mutineering captains; with several other things alike useful for the public. To which is added, an appendix by major Touch-hole; proving the method of discipline now used in our armies to be very defective; with an essay towards an amendment. Dedicated to the lieutenant-colonel of the first regiment.”
Mr. Bickerstaff has now in the press, “A defence of Awkward Fellows against the class of the Smarts: with a dissertation upon the gravity which becomes weighty persons. Illustrated by way of fable, and a discourse on the nature of the elephant, the cow, the dray-horse, and the dromedary, which have motions equally steady and grave. To this is added a treatise written by an elephant, according to Pliny, against receiving foreigners into the forest. Adapted to some present circumstances. Together with allusions to such beasts as declare against the poor Palatines.’
AMoxg many phrases which have crept into conversation, especially of such company as frequent this place, there is not one which misleads me more, than that of a ‘Fellow of a great deal of fire.” This metaphorical term, Fire, has done much good in keeping coxcombs in awe of one another ; but, at the same time, it has made them troublesome to every body else. You see in the very air of a “Fellow of Fire, something so expressive of what he would be at, that if it were not for self-preservation, a man would laugh out.
I had last night the fate to drink a bottle with two of these Firemen, who are indeed dispersed like the myrmidons in all quarters, and to be met with among those of the most differ. ent education. One of my companions was a scholar with Fire; and the other a soldier of the same complexion. My learned man would fall into disputes, and argue without any manner of provocation or contradiction: the other was decisive without words, and would give a shrug or an oath to express his opinion. My learned man was a mere scholar, and my man of war as mere a soldier. The particularity of the first was ridiculous, that of the second, terrible. They were relations by blood, which in some measure moderated their extravagances toward each other: I gave myself up merely as a person of no note in the company; but as if brought to be convinced that I was an inconsiderable thing, any otherwise than that they would show each other to me, and make me spectator of the triumph they alternately enjoyed. The scholar has been very conversant with books, and the other with men only; which makes them both superficial : for the taste of books is necessary to our behaviour in the best company, and the knowledge of men is required for a true relish of books: but they have both Fire, which makes one pass for a man of sense the other for a fine gentleman. I found I could easily enough pass my time with the scholar : for, if I seemed not to do justice to his parts and sentiments, he pitied me, and let me alone. But the warrior could not let it rest there; I must know all that happened within his shallow observations of the nature of the war: to all which he added an air of laziness, and contempt of those of his companions who were eminent for delighting in the exercise and knowledge of their duty. Thus it is that all the young fellows of much animal life, and little understanding, who repair to our armies, usurp upon the conversation of reasona. ble men, under the notion of having Fire.
The word has not been of greater usa to shallow lovers, to supply them with chat to their mistresses, than it has been to pretended men of pleasure, to scoport them in being pert and dull, and saying on every fool of their order, “Such a one has Fore.' There is colonel Trun
cheon, who marches with divisions ready on all occasions; a hero who never doubted in his life, but is ever positively fixed in the wrong, not out of obstinate opinion, but invincible stupidity.
It is very unhappy for this latitude of London, that it is possible for such as can learn only fashion, habit, and a set of common phrases of salutation, to pass with no other accomplishments, in this nation of freedom, for men of conversation and sense. All these ought to pretend to is, not to offend; but they carry it so far, as to be negligent whether they offend or not; ‘for they have Fire.' But their force differs from true spirit, as much as a vicious from a mettlesome horse. A man of Fire is a general enemy to all the waiters where you drink; is the only man affronted at the company's being neglected; and makes the drawers abroad, his valet de chambre and footman at home, know he is not to be provoked without danger.
This is not the Fire that animates the noble Marinus, a youth of good nature, affability, and moderation. He commands his ship as an intelligence moves its orb : he is the vital life, and his officers the limbs of the machine. His vivacity is seen in doing all the offices of life with readiness of spirit, and propriety in the manner of doing them. To be ever active in laudable pursuits, is the distinguishing character of a man of merit; while the common behaviour of every gay coxcomb of Fire is, to be confidently in the wrong, and dare to persist in it.
Will's Coffee-house, August 29.
It is a common objection against writings of . a satirical mixture, that they hurt men in their reputations, and consequently in their fortunes and possessions: but a gentleman who frequents this room declared he was of opinion it ought to be so, provided such performances had their proper restrictions. The greatest evils in human society are such as no law can come at; as in the case of ingratitude, where the manner of obliging very often leaves the benefactor without means of demanding justice, though that very circumstance should be the more binding to the person who has received the benefit. On such an occasion, shall it be possible for the malefactor to escape 7 and is it not lawful to set marks upon persons who live within the law, and do base things 2 shall not we use the protection of those laws to punish them, which they have to defend themselves 7 We shall therefore take it for a very moral action to find a good application for offenders, and to turn them into ridicule under feigned names.
I am advertised by a letter of August 25, that the name of Coppersmith has very much wanted an explanation in the city, and by that means is unjustly given, by those who are conscious they deserve it themselves, to an honest and worthy citizen belonging to the Copperoffice; but that word is framed out of a moral consideration of wealth among men, whereby he that has gotten any part of it by injustice and extortion, is to be thought, in the eye of virtuous
men, so much the poorer for such gain. Thus, all the gold which is torn from our neighbours, by making advantage of their wants, is Copper; and I authorise the Lombards to distinguish themselves accordingly. All the honest, who make a reasonable profit both for the advantage of themselves and those they deal with, are Goldsmiths; but those who tear unjustly all they can, Coppersmiths. At the same time, I desire him who is most guilty, to sit down satisfied with riches and contempt, and be known by the title of “The Coppersmith ;' as being the chief of that respected, contemptible fraternity. This is the case of all others mentioned in our lucubrations; particularly of Stentor, who goes on in his vociferations at St. Paul's with so much obstinacy, that he has received admonition from St. Peter's for it, from a person of eminent wit and piety; but who is by old age reduced to the infirmity of sleeping at a service to which he had been fifty years attentive; and whose death, whenever it hapens, may, with that of the saints, well be called ‘Falling asleep:’ for the innocence of his life makes him expect it as indifferently as he does his ordinary rest. This gives him a cheerfulness of spirit to rally on his own weakness, and hath made him write to Stentor to hearken to my admonitions, ‘Brother Stentor,’ said he, “for the repose of the church, hearken to Bickerstaff; and consider, that, while you are so devout at Saint Paul's, we cannot sleep for you at St. Peter’s.’
From my own Apartment, August 20.
There has been lately sent me a much harder question than was ever yet put to me, since I professed astrology; to wit, how far, and to what age women ought to make their beauty their chief concern ? The regard and care of their faces and persons are as variously to be considered, as their complexions themselves differ; but if one may transgress against the careful practice of the fair sex so much as to give an opinion against it, I humbly presume, that less care, better applied, would increase their empire, and make it last as long as life. Whereas now, from their own example, we take our esteem of their merit from it; for it is very just that she who values herself only on her beauty, should be regarded by others on no other consideration.
There is certainly a liberal and a pedantic education among women, as well as men; and the merit lasts accordingly. She, therefore, that is bred with freedom, and in good comany, considers men according to their respective characters and distinctions; while she that is locked up from such observations, will consider her father's butler, not as a butler, but as a man. In like manner, when men converse with wo. men, the well-bred and intelligent are looked upon with an observation suitable to their dif. ferent talents and accomplishments, without respect to their sex; while a mere woman can be observed under no consideration but that of a woman ; and there can be but one reason for placing any value upon her, or losing time in her company. Wherefore, I am of opinion, that the rule for pleasing long is, to obtain such qualifi.
cations as would make them so were they not wounen. Let the beauteous Cleomira then show us her real face, and know that every stage of life has its peculiar charms, and that there is no neces. sity for fifty to be fifteen. That childish colour. ing of her cheeks is now as ungraceful, as that shape would have been when her face wore its real countenance. She has sense, and ought to know that if she will not follow nature, nature will follow her. Time, then, has made that person which had, when I visited her grandfather, an agreeable bloom, sprightly air, and soft utterance, now no less graceful in a lovely aspect, an awful manner, and maternal wisdom. But her heart was so set upon her first character, that she neglects and repines at her present; not that she is against a more staycd conduct in others, for she recommends gravity, circumspection, and severity of countenance to her daughter. Thus, against all chronology, the girl is the sage, the mother the fine lady. But these great evils proceed from an unaccountable wild method in the education of the better half of the world, the women. We have no such thing as a standard for good breeding. I was the other day at my lady Wealthy's and asked one of her daughters how she did She answered, “She never conversed with men.” The same day I visited at lady Plantwell's and asked her daughter the same question. She answers, “What is that to you, you old thief?" and gives me a slap on the shoulders. I defy any man in England except he knows the family before he enters, to be able to judge whether he shall be agreeable or not when he comes into it. You find either some odd old woman who is permitted to rule as long as she lives, in hopes of her death, and to interrupt all things; or some impertinent young woman who will talk sillily upon the strength of looking beautifully. I will not answer for it, but it may be, that I (like all other old fellows) have a fondness for the fashions and manners which prevailed when I was young and in fashion myself. But certain it is, that the taste of grace and beauty is very much lowered. The fine women they show me now-a-days are at best but pretty girls to me, who have seen Sacharissa, when all the world repeated the poems she inspired; and Villaria,” when a youthful king was her subject. The Things you follow, and make songs on now, should be sent to knit or sit down to bobbins or bonelace: they are indeed neat, and so are their sempstresses; they are pretty, and so are their hand-maids. But that graceful motion, that awful mien, and that winning attraction, which grew upon them from the thoughts and conversations they met with in my time, are now no more seen. They tell me I am old : I am glad I am so; for I do not like your present young ladies. Those among us who set up for any thing of decorum, do so mistake the matter, that they of. fend on the other side. Five young ladies, who are of no small fame for their great severity of manners, and exemplary behaviour, would lately go no where with their lovers but to an organ
• The dutchess of cleveland.