Page images
PDF

on by any legal penalties; though I think it would be highly reasonable, that those few of them who die in the professions of their infidelity, should have such tokens of infamy fixed upon them, as might distinguish those bodies which are given up by the owners to oblivion and putrefaction, from those which rest in hope, and shall rise in glory. But at the same time that I am against doing them the honour of the notice of our laws, which ought not to suppose there are such criminals in being, I have often wondered, how they can be tolerated in any mixed conversations, while they are venting these absurd opinions; and should think, that is, on any such occasions, half a dozen of the most robust Christians in the company would lead one of those gentlemen to a pump, or convey him into a blanket, they would do very good service both to church and state. I do not

know how the laws stand in this particular;

but I hope, whatever knocks, bangs, or thumps, might be given with such an honest intention, would not be construed as a breach of the peace. I dare say, they would not be returned by the person who receives them; for whatever these fools may say in the vanity of their hearts, they are too wise to risk their lives upon the uncertainty of their opinions. When I was a young man about this town, I frequented the ordinary of the Black-horse in Holborn, where the person that usually presided at the table was a rough old-fashioned gentleman, who, according to the customs of those times had been the major and preacher of a regiment. It happened one day that a noisy young officer, bred in France, was venting some new-fangled notions, and speaking, in the gayety of his humour, against the dispensations of Providence. The major, at first, only desired him to talk more respectfully of one for whom all the company had an honour; but, finding him run on in his extravagance, began to reprimand him after a more serious manner. “Young man,' said he, “do not abuse your Benefactor whilst you are eating his bread. Consider whose air you breathe, whose presence you are in, and who it is that gave you the power of that very speech which you make use of to his dishonour.” The young fellow, who thought to turn matters into a jest, asked him “if he was going to preach " but at the same time desired him “to take care what he said when he spoke to a man of honour.' . A man of honour!' says the major; “ thou art an infidel and a blasphemer, and I shall use thee as such." In short, the quarrel ran so high, that the major was desired to walk out. Upon their coming into the garden, the old fellow advised his antagonist to consider the place into which one pass might drive him; but finding him grow upon him to a degree of scurrility, as believing the advice proceeded from fear; ‘Sirrah,” says he, “if a thunderbolt does not strike thee dead before I come at thee, I shall not fail to chastise thee for thy profaneness to thy Maker, and thy sauciness to his servant.” Upon this he drew his sword, and cried out with a loud voice, “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon " which so terrified his antagonist,

[blocks in formation]

BECAUSE I have a professed aversion to long beginnings of stories, I will go into this at once, by telling you, there dwells near the Royal Exchange as happy a couple as ever entered into wedlock. These live in that mutual confidence of each other, which renders the satisfaction of marriage even greater than those of friendship, and nakes wife and husband the dearest appellations of human life. Mr. Balance is a merchant of good consideration, and understands the world, not from speculation, but practice. His wife is the daughter of an honest house, ever bred in a family-way; and has, from a natural good understanding, and great innocence, a frcedom which men of sense know to be the certain sign of virtue, and fools take to be an encouragement to vice.

Tom Varnish, a young gentleman of the Middle Temple, by the bounty of a good father, who was so obliging as to die, and leave him, in his twenty-fourth year, besides a good estate, a large sum which lay in the hands of Mr. Balance, had by this means an intimacy at his house; and, being one of those hard students who read plays for their improvement in the law, took his rules of life from thence. Upon mature deliberation, he conceived it very proper, that he, as a man of wit and pleasure of the town, should have an intrigue with his merchant's wife. He no sooner thought of this adventure, but he began it by an amorous epistle to the lady, and a faithful promise to wait upon her at a certain hour the next evening, when he knew her husband was to be absent.

The letter was no sooner received, but it was communicated to the husband, and produced no other effect in him, than that he joined with his wife to raise all the mirth they could out of this fantastical piece of gallantry. They were so little concerned at this dangerous man of mode, that they plotted ways to perplex him without hurting him. Varnish comes exactly at his hour; and the lady's well-acted confusion at his entrance gave him opportunity to repeat some couplets very fit for the occasion with very much grace and spirit. His theatrical manner of making love was interrupted by an -alarm of the husband's coming; and the wife,

in a personated terror, beseeched him, ‘if he He did so, and sell upon seather-beds placed on purpose to receive him. It is not to be conceived how great the joy of an amorous man is when he has suffered for his mistress, and is never the worse for it. Varnish the next day writ a most elegant billet, wherein he said all that imagination could form upon the occasion. He violently protested, going out of the window was no way terrible, but as it was going from her; with several other kind expressions, which procured him a second assignation. Upon his second visit, he was conveyed by a faithful maid into her bed-chamber, and left there to expect the arrival of her mistress. But the wench, according to her instructions, ran in again to him, and locked the door after her to keep out her master. She had just time enough to convey the lover into a chest before she admitted the husband and his wife into the room. You may be sure that trunk was absolutely necessary to be opened; but upon her husband's ordering it, she assured him, “she had taken all the care imaginable in packing up the things with her own hands, and he might send the trunk abroad as soon as he thought fit.' The easy husband believed his wife, and the good couple went to bed; Warnish having the happiness to pass the night in his mistress's bed-chamber without molestation. The morning arose, but our lover was not well situated to observe her blushes; so that all we know of his sentinents on this occasion is, that he heard Balance ask for the key, and say, “he would himself go with this chest, and have it opened before the captain of the ship, for the greater safety of so valuable a lading.’ The goods were hoisted away; and Mr. Balance, marching by his chest with great care and diligence, omitted nothing that might give his passenger perplexity. But, to consummate all, he delivered the chest, with strict charge, “in case they were in danger of being taken, to throw it overboard, for there were letters in it, the matter of which might be of great service to the enemy.' the tremor of an awful love | Such a one could give confidence to bashful merit, and confusion to overbearing impudence.

that he was immediately disarined, and thrown had any value for the honour of a woman that upon his knees. In this posture he begged his loved him, he would jump out of the window.’

N. B.It is not thought advisable to proceed further in this account; Mr. Varnish being just returned from his travels, and willing to conceal the occasion of his first applying himself to the languages.

St. James's Coffee-house, February 20.

This day came in a mail from Holland, with a confirmation of our late advices, that a treaty of peace would very suddenly be set on foot, and that yachts were appointed by the States to convey the ministers of France from Moerdyke to Gertruydenburgh, which is appointed for the place wherein this important negotiation is to be transacted. It is said, this affair has been in agitation ever since the close of the last campaign : Mons. Pettecum having been appointed to receive from time to time the overtures of the enemy. During the whole winter, the ministers of France have used their utmost skill in forming such answers as might amuse the allies, in hopes of a favourable event either in the north, or some other part of Eu

rope, which might affect some part of the alliance too nearly to leave it in a capacity of adhering firmly to the interest of the whole. In all this transaction, the French king's own name has been as little made use of as possible: but the season of the year advancing too fast to admit of much longer delays in the present condition of France, Mons. Torcy, in the name of the king, sent a letter to Mons. Pette.cum, wherein he says, “That the king is willing all the preliminary articles shall rest as they are during the treaty for the 37th."

Sheer-lane, February 20.

I have been earnestly solicited for a further term, for wearing the fardingal by several of the fair sex, but more especially by the following petitioners. “The humble petition of Deborah IIark, Sarah Threadpaper, and Rachel Thimble, spinsters and single women, commonly called waitingmaids, in behalf of themselves and their sisterhood; showeth :

‘That your worship has been pleased to order and command, that no person or persons shall presume to wear quilted petticoats, on forfeiture of the said petticoats, or penalty of wearing ruffs, after the seventeenth instant now expired. ‘That your petitioners have, time out of mind, been entitled to wear their ladies' clothes, or to sell the same. ‘That the sale of the said clothes is spoiled by your worship's said prohibition. ‘Your petitioners therefore most humbly pray, that your worship will please to allow, that all gentlewomen's gentlewomen may be allowed to wear the said dress, or to repair the loss of such a perquisite in such manner as your worship shall think fit. “And your petitioners, &c."

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors]

and figures. What my good friend started dwelt upon me after I came home this evening, and led me into an inquiry with myself, whence should arise such strange excrescences in discourse 7 whereas it must be obvious to all reasonable beings, that the sooner a man speaks his mind, the more complaisant he is to the man with whom he talks: but, upon mature deliberation, I am come to this resolution, that for one man who speaks to be understood, there are ten who talk only to be admired. The ancient Greeks had little independent syllables called expletives, which they brought into their discourses both in verse and prose, for no other purpose but for the better grace and sound of their sentences and periods. I know no example but this, which can authorize the use of more words than are necessary. But whether it be from this freedom taken by that wise nation, or however it arises, Dick Reptile hit upon a very just and common cause of offence in the generality of people of all orders. We have one here in our lane, who speaks nothing without quoting an authority; for it is always with him, so and so, “as the man said.’ He asked me this morning, how I did, “as the man said " and hoped I would come now and then to see him, “as the man said.’ I am acquainted with another, who never delivers himself upon any subject, but he crics, “he only speaks his poor judgment; this is his humble opinion; as for his part, if he might F. to offer any thing on that subject."— ut of all the persons who add elegances and superfluities to their discourses, those who deserve the forcmost rank are the swearers; and the lump of these may, I think, be very aptly divided into the common distinction of high and low. Dulness and barrenness of thought is the original of it in both these sects, and they differ only in constitution. The low is generally a phlegmatic, and the high a choleric coxcomb. The man of phlegm is sensible of the emptiness of his discourse, and will tell you, that, ‘I’sackins,’ such a thing is true; or, if you warm him a little, he may run into passion, and cry, “Odsbodikins, you do not say right.' But the high affects a sublimity in dulness, and invokes “hell and damnation' at the breaking of a glass, or the slowness of a drawer. I was the other day trudging along Fleetstreet on foot, and an old army friend came up with me. We were both going towards Westminster; and, finding the streets were so crowdcd that we could not keep together, we resolved to club for a coach. This gentleman I knew to be the first of the order of the choleric. I must confess, were there no crime in it, nothing could be more diverting than the impertinence of the high juror: for, whether there is remedy or not against what offends him, still he is to show he is offended; and he must, sure, not omit to be magnificently passionate, by falling on all things in his way. We were stopped by a train of coaches at Temple-bar. “What the devil" says my companion, cannot you drive on, coachman 2 D–n you all, for a set of sons of whores; you will stop here to be paid by the hour ! There is not such a set of confounded dogs as the coachmen unhanged . But 2 K

these rascally cits—' Ounds, why should not there be a tax to make these dogs widen their gates ? Oh! but the hell-hounds move at last.” ‘Ay,' said I, ‘I knew you would make them whip on, if once they heard you.”—“No,' says he, “but would it not fret a man to the devil, to pay for being carried slower than he can walk 2 Look ye there is for ever a stop at this hole by St. Clement's church. Blood, you dog Hark ye, sirrah! Why, and be d——d to you, do not you drive over that fellow 7 Thunder, furies, and damnation' I will cut your ears off, you fellow before there—Come hither, you dog you, and let me wring your neck round your shoulders.' We had a repetition of the same eloquence at the Cockpit, and the turning into Palace-yard. This gave me a perfect image of the insignificancy of the creatures who practise this enormity; and made me conclude, that it is ever want of sense makes a man guilty in this kind. It was excellently well said, ‘that this folly had no temptation to excuse it, no man being born of a swearing constitution.” In a word, a few rumbling words and consonants clapped together without any sense, will make an ac: complished swearer. It is needless to dwell long upon this blustering impertinence, which is already banished out of the society of well: bred men, and can be useful only to bullies and ill tragic writers, who would have sound and noise pass for courage and sense.

St. James's Coffee-house, February 22.

There arrived a messenger last night from Harwich, who left that place just as the duke of Marlborough was going on board. The character of this important general going out by the command of his queen, and at the request of his country, puts me in mind of that noble figure which Shakspeare gives Harry the Fifth upon his expedition against France. The poet wishes for abilities to represent so great a hero:

“Oh for a nilso of fire!
Then should the warlike Harry like himself,
Assume the port of Mars, and at his Irels,
Leashod in, like hounds, should saliune, sword, and fire,
Crouch for employments.”

A conqueror drawn like the god of battle, with such a dreadiul leash of hell-hounds at his command, makes a picture of as much majesty and terror as is to be met with in any poet. Shakspeare understood the force of this particular allegory so well, that he had it in his thoughts in another passage, which is altogether as daring and sublime as the former. What I mean is in the tragedy of Julius Cæsar, where Antony, after having foretold the blood-shed and destruction that should be brought upon the earth by the death of that great man, to fill up the horror of his description, adds the fol. lowing verses: • And Caesar's spirit, raging for revenge, with Ate by his side, coine hot from holl, shall in those contines, with a monarch's voice, Cry havock; and let slip the dogs of war.'

[blocks in formation]

gil with the same spirit. Ise mentions it upon the occasion of a peace which was restored to the Roman empire; and which we may now hope for from the departure of that great man, who has given occasion to these reflections. The temple of Janus, says he, shall be shut, and in the midst of it military Fury shall sit upon a pile of broken arms, loaded with a hundred chains, bellowing with madness, and grinding his teeth in blood.

Claudentur belli porta', Furor impius intus
Sæva sedens super arma, et centum vinctus ahenis
Post tergum nouis, freunit horridus ore cruento.
Pirg, Æn. i. 298.
Janus himself before his fane shall wait,
And keep the dreadful issues of his gate,
With bolts and iron bars. Within remains
Imprisoned Fury bound in brazen chains;
High on a trophy raised of useless arms,
He sits, and threats the world with vain alarms.
Dryden.

ADVERTISEMENT.

The tickets which were delivered out for the benefit of Signor Nicolini Grimaldi on the twenty-fourth instant, will be taken on Thurs. day the second of March, his benefit being deferred until that day.

N. B. In all operas for the future, where it thunders and lightens in proper time, and in tune, the matter of the said lightning is to be of the finest rosin; and, for the sake of harmony, the same which is used to the best Cremona fiddles.

Note also, that the true perfumed lightning is only prepared and sold by Mr. Charles Lillie, at the corner of Beaufort-buildings.

*...* The lady who has chosen Mr. Bickerstaff for her Valentine, and is at a loss what to present him with, is desired to make him, with her own hands, a warin nightcap.

No. 138.) Saturday, February 25, 1709-10.

Secretosque pios, his dantem jura Catonem.
Pirg. AEn. viii. 670.

Apart from these, the happy souls he draws,
And Cato's pious ghost dispensing laws. Dryden.

Sheer-lane, February 24.

It is an argument of a clear and worthy spirit in a man to be able to disengage himself from the opinions of others, so far as not to let the deference due to the sense of mankind ensnare him to act against the dictates of his own reason. But the generality of the world are so far from walking by any such maxim, that it is almost a standing rule to do as others do, or be ridiculous. I have heard my old friend, Mr. Hart, speak it as an observation among the players, “that it is impossible to act with grace, except the actor has forgot that he is before an audience.’ Until he is arrived at that, his motion, his air, his every step and gesture, has something in them which discovers he is under a restraint, for fear of being ill received; or if he considers himself as in the presence of those who approve his behaviour, you see an affecta

tion of that pleasure run through his whole carriage. It is as common in life, as upon the stage, to behold a man in the most indifferent action betray a sense he has of doing what he is about gracefully. Some have such an immoderate relish for applause, that they expect it for things, which in themselves are so frivolous, that it is impossible, without this affectation, to make them appear worthy either of blame or praise. There is Will Glare, so passionately intent upon being admired, that when you see him in public places, every muscle of his face discovers, his thoughts are fixed upon the consideration of what figure he makes. He will often fall into a musing posture, to attract observation; and is then obtruding himself upon the company, when he pretends to be withdrawn from it. Such little arts are the certain and infallible tokens of a superficial mind, as the avoiding observation is the sign of a great and sublime one. It is therefore extremely difficult for a man to judge even of his own actions, without forming to himself an idea of what he should act, were it in his power to execute all his desires without the observation of the rest of the world. There is an allegorical fable in Plato, which seems to admonish us, that we are very little acquainted with ourselves, while we know our actions are to pass the censures of others; but, had we the power to accomplish all our wishes unobserved, we should then easily inform ourselves how far we are possessed of real and intrinsic virtue. fable I was going to mention is that of Gyges,

who is said to have had an enchanted ring,

which had in it a miraculous quality, making him who wore it visible or invisible, as he turned it to or from his body. The use Gyges made of his occasional invisibility was, by the advantage of it, to violate a queen, and murder a king. Tully takes notice of this allegory, and says very handsomely, “that a man of honour who had such a ring would act just in the same manner as he would without it.’ It is indeed no small pitch of virtue, under the temptation of impunity, and the hopes of accomplishing all a man desires, not to transgress the rules of justice and virtue; but this is rather not being an ill man, than being positively a good one; and it seems wonderful, that so great a soul as that of Tully should not form to himself a thousand worthy actions, which a virtuous mind would be prompted to by the possession of such a secret. There are certainly some part of mankind who are guardian-beings to the other. Sallust could say of Cato, ‘That he had rather be, than appear, good,' but, indeed, this eulogium rose no higher than, as I }. now hinted, to an inoffensiveness, rather than an active virtue. Had it occurred to the noble orator to represent, in his language, the glorious

The

[blocks in formation]

Certain it is, that secret kindnesses done to mankind are as beautiful as secret injuries are detestable. To be invisibly good, is as godlike, as to be invisibly ill, diabolical. As degenerate as we are apt to say the age we live in is, there are still amongst us men of illustrious minds, who enjoy all the pleasures of good actions, except that of being commended for them. There happens, among other very worthy instances of a public spirit, one which I am obliged to discover, because I know not otherwise how to obey the commands of the benefactor. A citizen of London has given directions to Mr. Rayner, the writing-master of St. Paul's school, to educate at his charge ten boys, who shall be nominated by me, in writing and accounts, un they shall be fit for any trade; I desire, therefore, such as know any proper objects for receiving this bounty, to give notice thereof to Mr. Morphew, or Mr. Lillie; and they shall, if properly qualified, have instructions accordingly.

Actions of this kind have in them something so transcendant, that it is an injury to applaud them, and a diminution of that merit which consists in shunning our approbation. We shall therefore leave them to enjoy that glorious obscurity; and silently admire their virtue who can contemn the most delicious of human pleasures, that of receiving due praise. Such celestial dispositions very justly suspend the discovery of their benefactions, until they come where their actions cannot be misinterpreted, and receive their first congratulations in the company of angels.

ADVERTISEMENT.

Whereas Mr. Bickerstaff, by a letter bearing date this twenty-fourth of February, has received information, that there are in and about the Royal Exchange a sort of people commonly known by the name of Whetters, who drink themselves into an intermediate state of being neither drunk nor sober before the hours of Exchange, or business; and in that condition buy and sell stocks, discount notes, and do many other acts of well-disposed citizens; this is to give notice, that from this day forward, no Whetter shall be able to give or endorse any note or execute any other point of commerce, after the third half-pint, before the hour of one: and whoever shall transact any matter or matters with a Whetter, not being himself of that order, shall be conducted to Moor-fields upon the first application of his next of kin.

N. B. No tavern near the Exchange shall deliver wine to such as drink at the bar standing, except the same shall be three-parts of the best cider; and she master of the house shall produce a certificate of the same from Mr. Tintoret, or some other credible wine-painter.

Whereas the model of the intended Bedlam is now finished, and the edifice itself will be very suddenly begun ; it is desired, that all such as have relations, whom they would recommend to our care, would bring in their proofs with all speed: none being to be admitted, of course,

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

WHEN I reflect upon the many nights I have sat up for some months last past, in the greatest anxiety for the good of my neighbours and contemporaries, it is no small discouragement to me, to see how slow a progress I make in the reformation of the world. But indeed I must do my female readers the justice to own, that their tender hearts are much more susceptible of good impressions, than the minds of the other sex. Business and ambition take up men's thoughts too much to leave room for philosophy; but if you speak to women in a style and manner proper to approach them, they never fail to improve by your counsels. I shall, therefore, for the future, turn my thoughts more particularly to their service; and study the best methods to adorn their persons, and inform their minds in the justest methods to make them what nature designed them, the most beauteous objects of our eyes, and the most agreeable companions of our lives. But when I say this, I must not omit, at the same time, to look into their errors and mistakes, that being the readiest way to the intended end of adorning and instructing them. It must be acknowledged, that the very inadvertencies of this sex are owing to the other; for if men were not flatterers, women could not fall into that general cause of all their follies and our misfortunes, their love of flattery. Were the commendation of these agreeable creatures built upon its proper foundation, the higher we raised their opinion of themselves, the greater would be the advantage to our sex; but all the topic of praise is drawn from very senseless and extravagant ideas we pretend we have of their beauty and perfection. Thus, when a young man falls in love with a young woman, from that moment she is no more Mrs. Alice such-a-one born of such a father, and educated by such a mother; but from the first minute that he cast his eye upon her with desire, he conceives a doubt in his mind, what heavenly power gave so unexpected a blow to a heart that was ever before untouched. But who can resist fate and destiny, which are lodged in Mrs. Alice's eyes 2 after which he desires orders accordingly, whether he is to live or die; the smile or frown of his goddess is the only thing that can now either save or destroy him. By this means, the well-humoured girl, that would have romped with him before she had received this declaration, assumes a state

« PreviousContinue »