Page images

suitable to the majesty he has given her, and treats him as the vassal he calls himself. The girl's head is immediately turned by having the power of life and death, and takes care to suit every motion and air to her new sovereignty. After he has placed himself at this distance, he must never hope to recover his former familiarity, until she has had the addresses of another, and found them less sincere. If the application to women were justly turncd, the address of flattery, though it implied at the same time an admonition, would be much more likely to succeed. Should a captivated lover, in a billet, let his mistress know, that her piety to her parents, her gentleness of behaviour, her prudent economy with respect to her own little affairs in a virgin condition, had improved the passion which her beauty had inspired him with, into so settled an esteem for her, that of all women breathing he wished her his wife; though his commending her for qualities she knew she had as a virgin, would make her be. lieve he expected from her an answerable con. duct in the character of a matron ; I will answer for it, his suit would be carried on with less perplexity. Instead of this, the generality of our young women, taking all their notions of life from gay writings, or letters of love, consider themselves as goddesses, nymphs, and shepherdesses. By this romantic sense of things, all the natural relations and duties of life are forgotten; and our female part of mankind are bred and treated, as if they were designed to inhabit the happy fields of Arcadia, rather than be wives and mothers in Old England. It is, indeed, long since I had the happiness to converse familiarly with this sex, and therefore have been fearful of falling into the error which recluse men are very subject to, that of giving false representations of the world, from which they have retired, by imaginary schemes drawn from their own reflections. An old man cannot easily gain admittance into the dressing room of ladies; I therefore thought it time well spent, to turn over Agrippa, and use all my occult art, to give my old Cornelian ring the same force with that of Gyges, which I have lately spoken of. By the help of this I went unobserved to a friend's house of mine, and followed the chamber-maid invisibly, about twelve of the clock, into the bedchamber of the beauteous Flavia his fine daughter, just before she got up. I drew the curtains ; and being wrapped up in the safety of my old age, could with much pleasure, without passion, behold her sleeping, with Waller's poems, and a letter fixed in that part of him where every woman thinks herself described. The light flashing upon her face, awakened her; she opened her eyes, and her lips too, repeating that piece of false wit in that admired poet, Such Helen was ; and who can blame the boy, * That in so bright a flame consumed his Troy –Waller. This she pronounced with a most bewitching sweetness; but after it fetched a sigh, that, me. thought, had more desire than languishment; then took out her letter, and read aloud, for the pleasure, I suppose, of hearing soft words in praise of herself, the following epistle :

‘MADAM, I sat near you at the opera last night; but knew no entertainment from the vain show and noise about me, while I waited wholly intent upon the motion of your bright eyes, in hopes of a glance that might restore me to the pleasures of sight and hearing in the midst of beauty and harmony. It is said, the hell of the accursed in the next life arises from an incapacity to partake of the joys of the blessed, though they were to be admitted to them. Such, I am sure, was my condition all that evening; and if you, my deity, cannot have so much mercy, as to make me by your influence capable of tasting the satisfactions of life, my being is ended, which consisted only in your favour.”

The letter was hardly read over, when she rushed out of bed in her wrapping gown, and consulted her glass for the truth of his passion.

She raised her head, and turned it to a profile,

repeating the last line, ‘My being is ended, which consisted only in your favour.' The goddess immediately called her maid, and fell to dressing that mischievous face of hers, without any manner of consideration for the mortal who had offered up his petition. Nay, it was so far otherwise, that the whole time of her woman's combing her hair was spent in discourse of the impertinence of his passion, and ended in declaring a resolution, “if she ever had him, to make him wait.” She also frankly told the favorite gipsy that was prating to her, “that her passionate lover had put it out of her power to be civil to him, if she were inclined to it; for,” said she, “if I am thus celestial to my lover, he will certainly so far think himself disapppointed, as I grow into the familiarity and form of a mortal woman.” I came away as I went in, without staying for other remarks than what confirmed me in the opinion, that it is from the notions the men inspire them with, that the women are so fantastical in the value of themselves. This imaginary pre-eminence which is given to the fair sex, is not only formed from the addresses of people of condition; but it is the fashion and humour of all orders to go regularly out of their wits, as soon as they begin to make love. I know at this time three goddesses in the New Exchange; and there are two shepherdesses that sell gloves in Westminster-hall.

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

wholly to the pastry-cooks, the eyes of the nation being turned upon greater matters." This, therefore, being a time when none but my immediate correspondents will read me, I shall speak to them chiefly at this present writing. It is the fate of us who pretend to joke, to be frequently understood to be only upon the droll when we are speaking the most seriously, as appears by the following letter to Charles Lillie. London, Feb. 28, 1709-10. “Mr. Lillie, It being professed by Esquire Bickerstaff, that his intention is to expose the vices and follies of the age, and to promote virtue and good-will amongst mankind; it must be a comfort for a person labouring under great straits and difficultics, to read * thing that has the appearance of succour. should be glad to know, therefore, whether the intelligence given in his Tatler of Saturday last, of the intended charity of a certain citizen of London, to maintain the education of ten boys in writing and accounts until they be fit for trade, be given only to encourage and recommend per, sons to the practice of such noble and charitable designs; or, whether there be a person who really intends to do so. If the latter, I humbly beg Esquire Bickerstaff's pardon for making a doubt, and impute it to my ignorance; and most humbly crave, that he would be pleased to give notice in his Tatler, when he thinks fit, whether his nomination of ten boys be disposed, or whether there be room for two boys to be recommended to him; and that he will permit the writer of this to present him with two boys, who, it is humbly presumed, will be judged to be very remarkable objects of such charity. 'Sir, your most humble servant.”

I am to tell this gentleman in sober sadness, and without jest, that there really is so good and charitable a man as the benefactor inquired for in his letter, and that there are but two boys yet named. The father of one of them was killed at Blenheim, the father of the other at Almanza. I do not here give the names of the children, because I should take it to be an insolence in me to publish them, in a charity which I have only the direction of as a servant to that worthy and generous spirit, who bestows upon them this bounty without laying the bondage of an obligation. What I have to do is to tell them, they are beholden only to their Maker, to kill in them, as they grow up, the false shame of poverty; and let them know, that their present fortune, which is come upon them by the loss of their poor fathers on so glorious occasions, is much more honorable than the inheritance of the most ample ill-gotten wealth.

The next letter which lies before me is from a man of sense, who strengthens his own authority with that of Tully, in persuading me to what he very justly believes one cannot be awctse.

London, Feb. 27, 1700.

“Mr. BickFRSTAFF,-I am so confident of

your inclination to promote any thing that is

* An allusion to ‘The Trial of Dr. Sacheverell, which was between Feb. 27, and March 23, 1709-10.

for the advancement of liberal arts, that I lay before you the following translation of a paragraph in Cicero's oration in defence of Archias the poet, as an incentive to the agreeable and instructive reading of the writings of the Augustan age. Most vices and follies proceed from a man's incapacity of entertaining himself, and we are generally fools in company, because we dare not be wise alone. I hope, on some future occasions, you will find this no barren hint. Tully, after having said very handsome things of his client, commends the arts of which he was master, as follows: “If so much profit be not reaped in the study of letters, and if pleasure only be found ; yet, in my opinion, this relaxation of the mind should be esteemed most humane and ingenuous. Other things are not for all ages, places, and seasons. These studies form youth, delight old age, adorn prosperity, and soften, and even remove adversity, entertain at home, are no hindrance abroad; do not leave us at night, and keep us company on the road, and in the coun

try-I am, your humble servant, - STREPHON."

The following epistle seems to want the quickest despatch, because a lady is every moment offended until it is answered; which is best done by letting the offender see in her own letter how tender she is of calling him so.

‘SIR,-This comes from a relation of yours, though unknown to you, who besides the tie of consanguinity, has some value for you on the account of your lucubrations, those being designed to refine our conversation, as well as cultivate our minds. I humbly beg the favour of you, in one of your Tatlers, after what manner you please, to correct a particular friend of mine, for an indecorum he is guilty of in discourse, of calling his acquaintance, when he speaks to them, Madam : as for example, my cousin Jenny Distaff, Madam Distaff; which, I am sure you are sensible, is very unpolite, and it is what makes me often uneasy for him, though I cannot tell him of it myself, which makes me guilty of this presumption, that I depend upon your goodness to excuse; and I do assure you, the gentleman will mind your reprehension, for he is, as I am, Sir, your most

humble servant and cousin, • DOROTHY DRUMSTICK.

“I write this in a thin under-petticoat, and never did or will wear a fardignal.”

I had no sooner read the just complaint of Mrs. Drumstick, but I received an urgent one from another of the fair sex, upon faults of more pernicious consequence.

“Mr. Bickerstaff, Observing that you are entered into a correspondence with Pasquin, who is, I suppose, a Roman catholic, I beg of you to forbear giving him any account of our religion or manners, until you have rooted out certain misdemeanours even in our churches.

Among others, that of bowing, saluting, taking

snuff," and other gestures. Lady Autumn made me a very low courtesy the other day from the next pew, and, with the most courtly air imaginable, called herself miserable sinner. Her niece, soon after, saying, Forgive us our tres. passes, courtesied with a glouting look at my brother. He returned it, opening his snuff-box, and repeating yet a more solemn expression. ..I beg of you, good Mr. Censor, not to tell Pasquin any thing of this kind, and to believe this does not come from one of a morose temper, mean birth, rigid education, narrow fortune, or bigotry in opinion, or from one in whom time has worn out all taste of pleasure. I assure you, it is far otherwise, for I am possessed of all the contrary advantages; and, I hope, wealth, good humour, and good breeding, may be best employed in the service of religion, and virtue; and desire you would, as soon as possible, remark upon the above-mentioned indecorums, that we may not long transgress against the latter, to preserve our reputation in the former. Your humble servant, LY DIA.”

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

March 1, 1709-10.

‘Sin, Having a daughter about nine years of age, I would endeavour she might have education. I mean such as may be useful, as working well, and a good deportment. In order to it, I am persuaded to place her at some boarding-school, situate in a good air. My wife opposes it, and gives for her greatest reason, that she is too much a woman, and understands the formalities of visiting and a tea-table so very nicely, that none, though much older, can exceed her; and, with all these perfections, the girl can scarce thread a needle : but, however,

* At St. Mary's, among the papers of the University of Cambridge, there is a letter of James I. against the use of tobacco.

after several arguments, we have agreed to be decided by your judgment: and, knowing your abilities, shall manage our daughter exactly as you shall please to direct... I am serious in my request, and hope you will be so in your answer, which will lay a deep obligation upon, Sir, your humble servant, T. T.

‘Sir, pray answer it in your Tatler, that it may be serviceable to the public.’

I am as serious on this subject as my correspondent can be ; and am of opinion, that the great happiness or missortune of mankind depend upon the manner of educating and treating that sex. I have lately said, I design to turn my thoughts more particularly to them, and their service: I beg therefore a little time to give my opinion on so important a subject, and desire the young lady may fill tea one week longer, until I have considered whether she shall be removed or not.

Chancery-lane, Feb. 27, 1709.

“Mr. BickFRSTAFF,-Your notice in the advertisement, in your Tatler of Saturday last, about Whetters in and about the Royal Exchange, is mightily taken notice of by gentlemen who use the coffee-houses near the Chancery-office in Chancery-lane. And there being a particular certain set of both young and old gentlemen that belong to, and near adjoining to the Chancery-office, both in Chancery-lane and Bell-yard, that are not only Whetters all the morning long, but very musically given about twelve at night the same days, and mightily taken with the union of the dulcimer, violin, and song ; at which recreation they rejoice together with perfect harmony, however their clients disagree : You are humbly desired by several gentlemen to give some regulation concerning them; in which you will contribute to the repose of us, who are your

very humble servants, - • L. T. N. F. T. W.”

These Whetters are a people I have considered with much pains; and find them to differ from a sect I have hitherto spoken of, called snuff-takers, only in the expedition they take in destroying their brains: the Whetter is obliged to refresh himself every moment with a liquor, as the snuff-taker with a powder. As for their harmony in the evening, I have nothing to object; provided they remove to Wapping, or the Bridge-foot, where it is not to be supposed that their vociferations will annoy the studious, the busy, or the contemplative. I once had lodgings in Gray’s-Inn, where we had two hard students, who learned to play upon the hautboy; and I had a couple of chamber-fellows over my head not less diligent in the practice of backsword and single-rapier. I remember these gentlemen were assigned by the benchers the two houses at the end of the terrace-walk, as the only place fit for their meditations. Such students as will let none improve but them selves, ought, indeed, to have their proper dis tances from societies.

The gentlemen of loud mirth above-mentioned I take to be, in the quality of their crime, the same as caves-droppers; for they who will be in your company whether you will or no, are to as great a degree offenders, as they who hearken to what passes, without being of your company at all. The ancient punishment for the latter, when I first came to this town, was the blanket, which, I humbly conceive, may be as justly applied to him that bawls, as to him that listens. It is therefore provided for the future, that except in the long vacation, no retainers to the law with dulcimer, violin, or any other instrument in any tavern within a furlong of an inn of court, shall sing any tune, or pretended tune whatsoever, upon pain of the blanket, to be administered according to the discretion of all such peaceable people as shall be within the annoyance. And it is further di. rected, that all clerks who shall offend in this kind, shall forfeit their indentures, and be turned over as assistants to the clerks of parishes within the bills of mortality, who are hereby empowered to demand them accordingly. I am not to omit the receipt of the following letter, with a night-cap from my Valentine; which night-cap, I find, was finished in the year 1588, and is too finely wrought to be of any modern stitching. Its antiquity will better appear by my Valentine's own words: ‘SIR,-Since you are pleased to accept of so mean a present as a night-cap from your Valentime, I have sent you one, which I do assure you has been very much esteemed of in our family; for my great-grandmother's daughter, who worked it, was maid of honour to queen Elizabeth, and had the misfortune to lose her life by pricking her finger in the making of it, of which she bled to death, as her tomb now at Westminster* will show. For which reason, neither myself, nor any of the family, have loved work ever since ; otherwise you should have one, as you desired, made by the hands of Sir, your affectionate WALENTINE.”

“To the right worshipful Isaac Bickerstaff,

, Esquire, Censor of Great Britain, and Go. vernor of the Hospital erected, or to be erected in Moor:fields;

• The petition of the inhabitants of the parish of Gotham, in the county of Middlesex, humbly showeth, ‘That whereas it is the undoubted right of your said petitioners to repair on every Lord's day to a chapel of ease in the said parish, there to be instructed in their duties in the known or vulgar tongue; yet so it is, may it please your worship, that the preacher of the said chapel has of late given himself wholly up to matters of controversy, in nowise tending to the edification of your said petitioners; and in handling, as he calls it, the same, has used divers hard and crabbed words; such as, among many others, orthodor and heterodor, which are in no sort understood by your said petitioners; and it is with grief of heart, that your petitioners beg leave to represent to you, that, mentioning the aforesaid words or names, the latter of which, as we have reason to believe, is his deadly enemy, he will fall into ravings and foamings, ill be.

* A banter on an idle story, to this day repeated by the man who shows the toubs.

coming the meckness of his office, and tending to give offence and scandal to all good people.

‘Your petitioners further say, that they are ready to prove the aforesaid allegations; and therefore humbly hope, that from a true sense of their condition, you will please to receive the said preacher into the hospital, until he shall recover a right use of his senses.—And your petitioners, &c."

No. 142.] Tuesday, March 7, 1709-10.

Sheer-lane, March 6.

ALL persons who employ themselves in public, are still interrupted in the course of their affairs; and, it seems, the admired cavalier Nicolini himself is commanded by the ladies, who at present employ their time with great assiduity in the care of the nation, to put off his day until he shall receive their commands, and notice that they are at leisure for diversions. In the mean time it is not to be expressed, how many cold chickens the fair-ones have eaten since this day sevennight for the good of their country. This great occasion has given birth to many discoveries of high moment for the conduct of life. There is a toast of my acquaintance who told me, “she had now found out, that it was day before nine in the morning;' and I am very confident, if the affair hold many days longer, the ancient hours of eating will be revived among us, many having by it been made acquainted with the luxury of hunger and thirst.

There appears, methinks, something very venerable in all assemblies; and I must confess, I envied all who had youth and health enough to make their appearance there, that they had the happiness of being a whole day in the best company in the world. During the adjournments of that awful court, a neighbour of mine was telling me, that it gave him a notion of the ancient grandeur of the English hospitality, to see Westminster-Hall a dining-room. There is a cheerfulness in such repasts, which is very delightful to tempers which are so happy as to be clear of spleen and vapour; for, to the jovial, to see others pleased is the greatest of all pleasures.

But, since age and infirmities forbid my appearance at such public places, the next happiness is to make the best use of privacy, and acquit myself of the demands of my correspondents. The following letter is what has given me no small inquietude, it being an accusation of partiality, and disregard to merit, in the person of a virtuoso, who is the most eloquent of all men upon small occasions, and is the more to be admired for his prodigious fertility of invention, which never appears but upon subjects which others would have thought barrem. But in consideration of his uncommon talents, I am contented to let him be the hero of my next two days, by inserting his friend's recommendation of him at large.

Nando's,” Feb. 28, 1709.

‘DEAR Cocsin, I am just come out of the

country, and upon perusing your late lucubra

* It is almost superfluous to say, that this coffee house still subsists in Fleet-street in high reputation.

tions, I find Charles Lillie to be the darling of your affections; that you have given him a place, and taken no small pains to establish him in the world; and, at the same time, have passed by his name sake" at this end of the town, as if he was a citizen defunct, and one of no use in a commonwealth. I must own, his circumstances are so good, and so well known, that he does not stand in need of having his fame published to the world; but, being of an ambi. tious spirit, and an aspiring soul, he would be rather proud of the honour, than desirous of the profit, which might result from your recommendation. He is a person of a particular genius, the first that brought toys in fashion, and baubles to perfection. He is admirably well versed in screws, springs, and hinges, and deeply read in knives, combs, or scissars, buttons, or buckles. He is a perfect master of words, which, uttered with a smooth voluble tongue, flow into a most persuasive eloquence; insomuch, that I have known a gentleman of distinction find several ingenious faults with a toy of his, and show his utmost dislike to it, as being either useless or ill-contrived; but when the orator, behind the counter, had harangued upon it for an hour and a half, displayed its hidden beauties, and revealed its secret perfec. tions, he has wondered how he had been able to spend so great a part of his life without $o important a utensil. I will not pretend to furnish out an inventory of all the valuable commodities that are to be found at his shop. “I shall content myself with giving an account of what I think most curious. Imprimis, his pocket-books are very neat and well contrived, not for keeping bank-bills, or goldsmith's notes, I confess; but they are admirable for registering the lodgings of Madonas, and for preserving letters from ladies of quality. His whips and spurs are so nice, that they will make one that buys them ride a fox-hunting, though before he hated noise and early rising, and was afraid of breaking his neck. II is seals are curiously fancied, and exquisitely well cut, and of great use to encourage young gentlemen to write a good hand. Ned Puzzle-post has been ill used by his writing-master, and writ a sort of a Chinese, or downright scrawlium; however, upon his buying a seal of my friend, he is so much improved by continual writing, that it is believed in a short time one may be able to read his letters, and find out his meaning, without guessing. His pistols and fusees are so very good, that they are fit to be laid up aumong the finest china. Then his tweezercases are incomparable; you shall have one not much bigger than your finger, with seventeen several instruments in it, all necessary every hour of the day, during the whole course of a man's life. But if this virtuoso excels in one thing more than another, it is in canes. He has spent his most select hours in the knowledge of them ; and is arrived at the perfection, that he is able to hold forth upon canes longer than upon any one subject in the world. Indeed, his cancs are so finely clouded, and so

* Charles Mather,

well made up, either with gold or amber heads, that I am of the opinion it is impossible for a gentleman to walk, talk, sit, or stand, as he should do, without one of them. He knows the value of a cane, by knowing the value of the buyer's estate. Sir Timothy Shallow has two thousand pounds per annum, and Tom Empty, one. They both at several times bought a cane of Charles: sir Timothy's cost ten guineas, and Tom Empty's five. Upon comparing them, they were perfectly alike. Sir Timothy, surprised there should be no difference in the canes, and so much in the price, comes to Charles: “Damn it, Charles,” says he, “you have sold me a cane here for ten pieces, and the very same to Tom Empty for five.” “Lord! sir Timothy,” says Charles, “I am concerned that you, whom I took to understand canes better than any baronet in town, should be so overseen " “Why, sir Timothy, your's is a true Jambee, and esquire Empty’s only a plain Dragon.” ‘This virtuoso has a parcel of Jambees now growing in the East-Indies, where he keeps a man on purpose to look after them, which will be the finest that ever landed in Great-Britain, and will be fit to cut about two years hence. Any gentleman may subscribe for as many as he pleases. Subscriptions will be taken in at his shop at ten guineas each joint. They that subscribe for six shall have a Dragon gratis. This is all I have to say at present concerning Charles's curiosities; and hope it may be sufficient to prevail with you to take him into your consideration, which if you comply with, you will oblige your humble servant.”

N. B. Whereas there came out, last term, several gold snuffboxes, and others: this is to give notice, that Charles will put out a new edition on Saturday next, which will be the only one in fashion until after Easter. The gentleman that gave fifty pounds for the box sct with diamonds, may show it until Sunday night, provided he goes to church; but not after that time, there being one to be published on Monday, which will cost fourscore guineas.

No. 143. ] Thursday, March 9, 1709.

Sheer-lane, March 8.

I was this afternoon surprized with a visit from my sister Jenny, after an absence of some time. She had, methought, in her manner and air, something that was a little below that of women of the first breeding and quality, but, at the same time, above the simplicity and familiarity of her usual deportment. As soon as she was scated, she began to talk to me of the odd place I lived in, and begged of me to remove out of the lane where I have been so long acquainted; “for,” said she, ‘it does so spoil one's horses, that I must beg your pardon if you see me much seldomer, when I am to make so great a journey with a single pair, and make visits and get home the same night." I understood her pretty well, but would not ; therefore desired her, “to pay off her coach, for I had a great deal to talk to her. She very pertly told

« PreviousContinue »