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ing sets up for a free-thinker; though it can be proved upon him, he says his prayers every morning and evening. But this class of modern wits I shall reserve for a chapter by itself. Of the like turn are all your marriage-haters, who rail at the noose, at the words, “for ever and aye,’ and at the same time are secretly pining for some young thing or other that makes their hearts ache by her refusal. The next to these, are such as pretend to govern their wives, and boast how ill they use them, when, at the same time, go to their houses, and you shall see them step as if they feared making a noise, and as fond as an alderman.” I do not know but sometimes these pretences may arise from a desire to conceal a contrary defect than that they set up for. I remember, when I was a young fellow, we had a companion of a very fearful complexion, who, when we sat in to drink, would desire us to take his sword from him when he became fuddled, for it was his misfortune to be quarrelsome. • There are many, many of these evils, which demand my observation; but because I have of late been thought somewhat too satirical, I shall give them warning, and declare to the whole world, that they are not true, but false hypocrites; and make it out that they are good men in their hearts. The motive of this monstrous affectation, in the above-mentioned and the like particulars, I take to proceed from that noble thirst of fame and reputation which is planted in the hearts of all men. As this produces elegant writings and gallant actions in men of great abilities, it also brings forth spurious productions in men who are not capable of distinguishing themselves by things which are really praiseworthy. As the desire of fame in men of true wit and gallantry shows itself in proper instances, the same desire in men who have the ambition without proper faculties, runs wild, and discovers itself in a thousand extravagances, by which they would signalize themselves from others, and gain a set of admirers. When I was a middle-aged man, there were many societies of ambitious young men in England, who, in their pursuits after fame, were every night employed in roasting porters, sinoking cobblers, knocking down watchmen, overturning constables, breaking windows, blackening sign-posts, and the like immortal enterprises, that dispersed their reputation throughout the whole kingdom. One could hardly find a knocker at a door in a whole street after a midnight expedition of these beaux esprits. I was lately very much surprised by an account of my maid, who entered my bed-chamber this morning in a very great fright, and told me, she was afraid my parlour was haunted ; for that she had found several panes of my windows broken, and the floor strewed with half-pence.t I have not yet a full light into this new way, but am apt to think, that it is a generous piece of wit that some of my contemporaries make use of to break windows, and leave money to pay for them.
* As fawning as lap-dogs.
t Gay's Trivia was published about this time, and from a passage in that poem, and a note upon it, we learn, that there were bucks in those days, who took a *i-light in breaking windows with halfpence, and were distinguished by the name of Nickers,
As your painters, who deal in history-pieces, often entertain themselves upon broken sketches, and smaller flourishes of the pencil; so I find some relief in striking out miscellaneous hints, and sudden starts of fancy, without any order or connexion, after having spent myself on more regular and elaborate dissertations. I am at present in this easy state of mind sat down to my scrutoire; where, for the better disposition of my correspondence, I have writ upon every drawer the proper title of its contents; as hypocrisy, dice, patches, politics, love, duels, and so forth. My various advices are ranged under such several heads, saving only that I have a particular box for Pacolet, and another for Monoculus. I cannot but observe that my duelbox, which is filled by the lettered men of honour, is so very ill spelt, that it is hard to decypher their writings. My love-box, though on a quite contrary subject, filled with the works of the fairest hands in Great Britain, is almost as unintelligible. The private drawer, which is sacred to politics, has in it some of the most refined panegyrics and satires that any age has produced.
I have now before me several recommenda
tions for places at my Table of Fame. Three of them are of an extraordinary nature, in which ths, find I am misunderstood, and shall, therefore, g leave to produce them. They are from a quaker, a courtier, and a citizen.
* Isaac, Thy lucubrations, as thou lovest to call them, have been pernsed by several of our friends, who have taken offence; forasmuch as thou excludest out of the brotherhood all persons who are praise-worthy for religion, we are afraid that thou wilt fill thy table with none but hea. thens, and cannot hope to spy a brother there; for there are none of us who can be placed among murdering heroes, or ungodly wits; since we do not assail our enemies with the arm of flesh, nor our gainsayers with the vanity of human wisdom. If therefore, thou wilt demean thyself on this occasion with a right judgment, according to the gifts that are in thee, we desire thou wilt place James Nayler at the upper end of thy table. EZERIEL STIFF.R.U.M.P.”
In answer to my good friend Ezekiel, I must stand to it, that I cannot break my rule for the sake of James Nayler; not knowing whether Alexander the Great, who is a choleric hero, would not resent his sitting at the upper end of the table with his hat on.
But to my courtier.
‘SIR-I am surprised, that you lose your time in complimenting the dead, when you may make your court to the living. Let me only tell you in the ear, Alexander, and Caesar, as generous as they were formerly, have not now a grpat to dispose of Fill your table with good company: I know a person of quality that shall give you one hundred pounds for a place at it. Besecret, and be rich.-Yours,
‘You know my hand.”
This gentleman seems to have the true spirit, without the formality, of an under-courtier; therefore, I shall be plain with him, and let him leave the name of his courtier and one hundred pounds in Morphew's hands: if I can take it, I will.
My citizen writes the following: “Mr. Isaac Bickerstaff,
‘Sin, Your Tatler, of the thirteenth of September, I am now reading, and in your list of famous men, desire you not to forget Alder. man Whittington,” who began the world with a cat, and died worth three hundred and fifty thousand pounds sterling, which he left to an qnly daughter three years after his mayoralty. If you want any further particulars of ditto alderman, daughter, or cat, let me know, and per first will advise the needful, which concludes, your loving friend, LEMUEL LEGER."
I shall have all due regard to this gentleman's recommendation; but cannot forbear observing how wonderfully this sort of style is adapted for the despatch of business, by leaving out insigni.
* Richard whittington lived in the end of the 14th, and the beginning of the 15th century. He was a merter; four times lord mayor of London, and three times buried in St. Michael's church, Pater Noster, Vintry. ward.
ficant particles; besides that, the dropping of the first person is an artful way to disengage a man from the guilt of rash words or promises. But I am to consider, that a citizen's reputation is credit, not fame; and am to leave these lofty subjects for a matter of private concern in the next letter before me.
‘SIR,-I am just recovering out of a languishing sickness by the care of Hippocrates, who visited me throughout my whole illness, and was so far from taking any fee, that he inquired into my circumstances, and would have relieved me also that way, but I did not want it. I know no method of thanking him, but recommending it to you to celebrate so great humanity in the manner you think fit, and to do it with the spirit and sentiments of a man just relieved from grief misery, and pain, to joy, satisfaction, and ease: in which you will represent the grateful sense of your obedient servant, T. B.
I think the writer of this letter has put the matter in as good a dress as I can for him; yet I cannot but add my applause to what this distressed man has said. There is not a more useful man in a commonwealth than a good physician: and by consequence no worthier a person than he that uses his skill with generosity even to persons of condition, and compassion to those who are in want: which is the behaviour of Hippocrates, who shows as much liberality in his practice as he does wit in his conversation, and skill in his profession. A wealthy doctor, who can help a poor man, and will not without a fee, has less sense of humanity than a poor ruffian, who kills a rich man to supply his necessities. It is something monstrous to consider a man of a liberal education tearing out the bowels of a poor family, by taking for a visit what would keep them a week. IIippocrates needs not the comparison of such extortion to set off his generosity; but I mention his generosity to add shame to such extortion. This is to give notice to all ingenious gentlemen in and about the cities of London and Westminster, who have a mind to be instructed in the noble sciences of music, poetry, and politics, that they repair to the Smyrna coffee-house in Pallmall, betwixt the hours of eight and ten at night, where they may be instructed gratis, with elaborate essays by word of mouth on all or any of the above-mentioned arts. The disciples are to prepare their bodies with three dishes of bohea, and purge their brains with two pinches of snuff. If any young student gives indication of parts, by listening attentively, or asking a pertinent question, one of the professors shall distinguish him, by taking snuff out of his box in the presence of the whole audience. N. B. The seat of learning is now removed from the corner of the chimney on the left hand towards the window, to the round table in the middle of the floor over against the fire; a revolution much lamented by the porters and chairmen, who were much edified through a pane of glass that remained broken all the last sumIller. I cannot forbear advertising my correspondents, that I think myself treated by some of them aster too familiar a manner, and in phrases
that neither become them to give nor me to take. I shall, therefore, desire for the future, that if any one returns me an answer to a letter, he will not tell me he has received the favour of my letter; but, if he does not think fit to say he has received the honour of it, that he tell me in plain English, he has received my letter of such a date. I must likewise insist that he would conclude with, I am with great respect, or plainly, I am, without farther addition; and not insult me, by an assurance of his being with great truth and esteem my humble serrant. There is likewise another mark of superiority which I cannot bear ; and therefore must inform roy correspondents, that I discard all faithful humble servants, and am resolved to read no letters that are not subscribed, your most obedient, or most humble servant, or both. These may appear niceties to vulgar minds, but they are such as men of honour and distinction must have regard to. And I very well remember a famous duel in France, where four were killed of one side, and three of the other, occasioned by a gentleman's subscribing himself a most affectionate friend.
My sister Jenny's lover, the honest Tranquillus, for that shall be his name, has been impatient with me to despatch the necessary directions for his marriage ; that while I am taken up with imaginary schemes, as he calls them, he might not burn with real desire, and the torture of expectation. When I had reprimanded him for the ardour wherein he expressed himself, which I thought had not enough of that veneration with which the marriage-bed is to be ascended, I told him, ‘the day of his nup. tials should be on the Saturday following, which was the eighth instant.’ On the seventh in the evening, poor Jenny came into my chamber, and, having her heart full of the great change of life from a virgin condition to that of a wife, she long sat silent. I saw she expected me to entertain her on this important subject, which was too delicate a circumstance for herself to touch upon; whereupon I relieved her modesty in the following manner: “Sister,’ said I, ‘you are now going from me: and be contented, that you leave the company of a talkative old man, for that of a sober young one : but take this along with you, that there is no mean in the state you are entering into ; but you are to be exquisitely happy or miserable; and your fortune in this way of life will be wholly of your own making. In all the marriages I have ever seen, most of which have been unhappy ones, the great cause of evil has proceeded from slight oc
casions; and I take it to be the first maxim in a married condition, that you are to be above trifles. When two persons have so good an opinion of each other as to come together for life, they will not differ in matters of importance, because they think of each other with respect; and in regard to all things of consideration that may affect them, they are prepared for mutual assistance and relief in such occurrences. For less occasions, they form no resolutions, but leave their minds unprepared. ‘This, dear Jenny, is the reason that the quarrel between sir Harry Willit and his lady, which began about her squirrel, is irreconcilable. Sir Harry was reading a grave author; she runs into his study, and in a playing humour, claps the squirrel upon the folio; he threw the animal in a rage on the floor; shee snatches it up again, calls sir Harry a sour pedant, without good nature or good manners. This cast him into such a rage, that he threw down the table before him, kicked the book round the room; then recollected himself: “Lord, madam,” said he, “why did you run into such expressions? I was,” said he, “in the highest delight with that author, when you clapped your squirrel upon my book:” and, smiling, added upon recollection, “I have a great respect for your favourite, and pray let us all be friends.” My lady was so far from accepting this apology, that she immediately conceived a resolution to keep him under for ever; and with a serious air replied, “There is no regard to be had to what a man says, who can fall into so indiscreet a rage, and such an abject submission, in the same moment, for which I absolutely despise you.” Upon which she rushed out of the room. Sir Harry staid some minutes behind, to think and command himself; after which he followed her into her bed-chamber, where she was prostrate upon the bed, tearing her hair, and naming twenty coxcombs who would have used her otherwise. This provoked him to so high a degree, that he forbore nothing but beating her; and all the servants in the family were at their several stations listening, whilst the best man and woman, the best master and mistress, defamed each other in a way that is not to be repeated even at Billingsgate. You know this ended in an immediate separation ; she longs to return home, but knows not how to do it: he invites her home cvery day, and lies with every woman he can get. Her husband requires no submission of her; but she thinks her very return will argue she is to blame, which she is resolved to be for ever, rather than acknowledge it. Thus, dear Jenny, my great advice to you is, be guarded against giving or receiving little provocations. Great matters of offence I have no reason to fear either from you or your husband.’. After this, we turned our discourse into a more gay style, and parted; but before we did so, I made her resign her snuff-box for ever, and half drown herself with washing away the stench of the musty. But the wedding morning arrived, and our family being very numerous, there was no avoiding the inconvenience of making the ceremony and festival more public, than the modern way
of celebrating them makes me approve of The bride next morning came out of her chamber, dressed with all the art and care that Mrs. Toilet, the tire-woman, could bestow on her. She was on her wedding-day three-and-twenty; her person is far from what we call a regular beauty; but a certain sweetness in her countenance, an ease in her shape and motion, with an unaffected modesty in her looks, had attractions beyond what symmetry and exactness can inspire, without the addition of these endowments. When her lover entered the room, her features flushed with shame and joy; and the ingenuous manner, so full of passion and of awe, with which Tranquillus approached to salute her, gave me good omens of his future behaviour towards her. The wedding was wholly under my care. After the ceremony at church, I was resolved to entertain the company with a dinner suitable to the occasion, and pitched upon the Apollo,” at the Old-Devil at Temple-bar, as a place sacred to mirth tempered with discretion, where Ben Jonson and his sons used to make their liberal meetings. Here the chief of the Staffian race appeared ; and as soon as the company were come into that ample room, Lepidus Wagstaff began to make me compliments for choosing that place, and fell into a discourse upon the subject of pleasure and entertainment, drawn from the rules of Ben's club, which are in gold letters over the chimney. Lepidus has a way very uncommon, and speaks on subjects on which any man else would certainly offend, with great dexterity. He gave us a large account of the public meetings of all the wellturned minds who had passed through this life in ages past, and closed his pleasing narrative with a discourse on marriage, and a repetition of the following verses out of Milton.f
“Hail, wedded love! mysterious law true source
In these verses, all the images that can come into a young woman's head on such an occasion are raised; but that in so chaste and ele. gant a manner, that the bride thanked him for his agreeable talk, and we sat down to dinner.
Among the rest of the company, there was got in a fellow you call a Wag. This ingenious person is the usual life of all feasts and merriments, by speaking absurdities, and putting every body of breeding and modesty out of
* A large room ott the Devil Tavern still bears this name, and the rules of Ben's club are still in gold letters over the channey.
f Paludisc Lost, iv. 730.
countenance. As soon as we sat down, he drank to the bride's diversion that night; and then made twenty double meanings on the word thing. We are the best bred family, for one so numerous, in this kingdom ; and indeed we should all of us have been as much out of countenance as the bride, but that we were relieved by an honest rough relation of ours at the lower end of the table, who is a lieutenant of marines. The soldier and sailor had good plain sense, and saw what was wrong as well as another ; he had a way of looking at his plate and speaking aloud in an inward manner; and whenever the wag mentioned the word thing or the words that same, the lieutenant in that voise cried, “Knock him down. The merry man, wondering, angry, and looking round, was the diversion of the table. When he offered to recover, and say, ‘To the bride's best thoughts,' ‘Knock him down,' says the lieutenant, and so on. This silly humour diverted, and saved us from the fulsome entertainment of an ill-bred coxcomb; and the bride drank the lieutenant's health. We returned to my lodging, and Tranquillus led his wife to her apartment, without the ceremony of throwing the stocking. One in the morning of the 8th of October, 1769.
I was this night looking on the moon, thq find by certain signs in that luminary, that a certain person under her dominion, who has been for many years distempered, will, within a few hours, publish a pamphlet, wherein he will pretend to give my lucubrations to a wrong person; and I require all sober disposed persons to avoid meeting the said lunatic, or giving him any credence any farther than pity demands; and to lock up the said person wherever they find him, keeping him from pen, ink, and paper. And I hereby prohibit any person to take upon him my writings, on pain of being sent by me into Lethe with the said lunatic and all his works.
This learned board has complained to me of the exorbitant price of late years put upon books, and consequently on learning, which has raised the reward demanded by learned men for their advice and labour. In order to regulate and fix a standard in these matters; divines, physicians, and lawyers, have sent in large proposals, which are of great light and instruction. From the perusal of these memorials, I am come to this immediate resolution, until I have leisure to treat the matter at large, viz. In divinity, fathers shall be valued according to their antiquity; schoolmen by the pound weight; and sermons by their goodness. In my own profession, which is mostly physic, authors shall be rated according to their language. The Greek is so rarely understood, and the English so well, I judge them of no value; so that only Latin shall bear a price, and that too according to its purity, and as it serves best for prescription. In law, the value must be set according to the intricacy and obscurity of the author, and blackness of the letter; provided always, that the binding be of calf-skin. I'his method I shall settle also with relation to all other writings; insomuch that even these our lucubrations, though hereafter printed by Aldus, Elzevir, or Stephens, shall not advance above one single penny."
White's Chocolate-house, October 12.
It will be allowed me, that I have all along showed great respect in matters which concern the fair sex; but the inhumanity with which the author of the following letter has been used is not to be suffered.
‘SIR,-Yesterday, I had the misfortune to drop in at my lady Haughty's upon her visiting-day. When I entered the room where she receives company, they all stood up indeed; but they stood as if they were to stare at, rather than to receive me. After a long pause, a servant brought a round stool, on which I sat down at the lower end of the room, in the presence of no less than twelve persons, gentlemen and ladies, lolling in elbow-chairs. And, to complete my disgrace, my mistress was of the society. I tried to compose myself in vain, not knowing how to dispose of either my legs or arms, nor how to shape my countenance; the eyes of the whole room being still upon me in a profound silence. My confusion at last was so i. that, without speaking or being spoken to,
fled for it, and left the assembly to treat me at their discretion. A lecture from you upon these inhuman distinctions in a free nation, will, I doubt not, prevent the like evil for the future, and make it, as we say, as cheap sitting as standing. I am with the greatest respect, Sir, your most humble, and most obedient servant, J. R.”
*P.S.. I had almost forgot to inform you that a fair young lady sat in an armless chair upon my right hand, with manifest discontent in her looks.”
Soon after the receipt of this epistle, I heard a very gentle knock at my door : my maid went down, and brought up word, ‘that a tall, lean, black man, well dressed, who said he had not the honour to be acquainted with me, desired to be admitted.' I bid her show him up, met him at my chamber-door, and then fell back a few paces. He approached me with great respect, and told me, with a low voice, “he was the gentleman that had been seated upon the round stool.' I immediately recollected that there was a joint stool in my chamber, which I was afraid he might take for an instrument of distinction, and therefore winked at my boy to carry it into my closet. I then took him by the
• The advance of one penny on each number of the lucubrations, which seems to be meant here, just double the original price of the ry".
hand, and led him to the upper end of my room, where I placed him in my great elbow-chair; at the same time drawing another without arms to it, for myself to sit by him. I then asked him, “at what time this misfortune befell him 7” He answered, ‘between the hours of seven and eight in the evening. I further demanded of him, what he had ate or drunk that day ? he replied, “nothing but a dish of water-gruel with a few plumbs in it." In the next place, I felt his pulse, which was very low and languishing. These circumstances confirmed me in an opinion, which I had entertained upon the first reading of his letter, that the gentleman was far gone in the spleen. I therefore advised him to rise the next morning, and plunge into a coldbath, there to remain under water until he was almost drowned. This I ordered him to repeat six days successively; and on the seventh to repair at the wonted hour to my lady Haughty's and to acquaint me afterwards with what he shall meet with there, and particularly to tell me, whether he shall think they stared upon him so much as the time before. The gentleman smiled; and by his way of talking to me, showed himself a man of excellent sense in all particulars, unless when a cane-chair, a round or a joint stool were spoken of. He opened his heart to me at the same time concerning several other grievances; such as, being overlooked in public assemblies, having his bows unanswered, being helped last at table, and placed at the back part of a coach; with many other distresses, which have withered his countenance, and worn him to a skeleton. Finding him a man of reason I entered into the bottom of his distemper. “Sir," said I, ‘there are more of your constitution in this island of Great Britain than in any other part of the world; and I beg the favour of you to tell me, whether you do not observe, that you meet with most affronts in rainy days " He answered candidly, ‘ that he had long observed, that people were less saucy in sunshine than in cloudy weather." Upon which I told him plainly, ‘ his distemper was the spleen; and that though the world was very ill; natured, it was not so bad as he believed it.' I further assured him, that his use of the coldbath, with a course to Steel which I should prescribe him, would certainly cure most of his acquaintances of their rudeness, ill-behaviour, and impertinence.’ My patient smiled, and promised to observe my prescriptions, not forgetting to give me an account of their operation: This distemper being pretty epidemical, I shall for the benefit of mankind, give the public an account of the progress I make in the cure of it.