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I have received five hundred pounds by his or- ||
der; and his letters, which came at the same time, bade me want for nothing that was necessary.' I was heartily concerned at her folly, whose affairs render her but just able to bear such an expense. However, I considered, that, according to the British custom of treating women, there is uo other method to be used, in remov. ing any of their faults and errors, but conducting their minds from one humour to another, with as much ceremony as we lead their persons from one place to another. I therefore dissembled my concern; and, in compliance with her, as a lady that was to use her feet no more, I begged of her, after a short visit, “to let me persuade her not to stay out until it was late, for fear of catching cold as she went into her coach in the dampness of the evening.' The malapert knew well enough I laughed at her; but was not ill pleased with the certainty of her power over her husband, who, she knew, would support her in any humour he was able, rather than pass through the torment of an expostulation to gainsay any thing she had a mind to. . As soon as my fine lady was gone, I writ the following letter to my brother:
"DEAR BROTHER,--I am at present under very much concern at the splendid appearance I saw my sister make in an equipage, which she has set up in your absence. I beg of you not to indulge her in this vanity; and desire you to consider, the world is so whimsical, that though it will value you for being happy, it will hate you for appearing so. The posses. sion of wisdom and virtue, the only solid distinctions of life, is allowed much more easily than that of wealth and quality. Besides which, I must entreat you to weigh with yourself, what it is that people aim at in setting themselves out to show in gay equipages and moderate fortunes You are not by this means a better man than your neighbour is ; but your horses are better than his are. And will you suffer care and inquietude, to have it said, as you pass by, “Those are very pretty punch nags '' Nay, when you have arrived at this, there are a hundred worthless fellows who are still four horses happier than you are. Remember, dear brother, there is a certain modesty in the enjoyment of moderate wealth, which, to transgress, exposes men to the utmost derision; and, as there is nothing but meanness of spirit can move a man to value himself upon what can be purchased with money, so he that shows an ambition that way, and cannot arrive at it, is more emphatically guilty of that meanness. I give you only my first thoughts on this occasion; but shall, as I am a Censor, entertain you in Iny next with my sentiments in general upon the subject of equipage; and show, that though there are no sumptuary laws amongst us, reason and good sense are equally binding, and will ever prevail in appointing approbation or dislike in all matters of an indifferent nature, when they are pursued with earnestness.
“I am, Sir, &c."
To all Gentlemen, and Ladies, and others, that - delight in soft lines.
These are to give notice, that the proper time of the year for writing Pastorals now drawing near, there is a stage coach settled from the One-bell in the Strand to Dorchester, which sets out twice a week, and passes through Basingstoke, Sutton, Stockbridge, Salisbury, Blandford, and so to Dorchester, over the finest downs in England. At all which places, there are accommodations of spreading beeches, beds of flowers, turf seats, and purling streams, for happy swains; and thunder-struck oaks, and left-handed ravens, to foretell misfortunes to those that please to be wretched, with all other necessaries for pensive passion.
And, for the conveniency of such whose af. fairs will not permit them to leave this town, at the same place they may be furnished, during the season, with opening buds, flowering thyme, warbling birds, sporting lambkins, and fountain water, right and good, and bottled on the spot by one sent down on purpose.
N. B. The nymphs and swains are further given to understand, that, in those happy climes, they are so far from being troubled with wolves, that, for want of even foxes, a considerable pack of hounds have been lately forced to eat sheep.
Whereas, on the sixteenth instant at midnight, several persons of light honour and loose mirth, having taken upon them in the shape of men, but with the voice of the players belonging to Mr. Powell's company, to call up surgeons at midnight, and send physicians to persons in sound sleep, and perfect health : This is to certify, that Mr. Powell had locked up the legs of his company for fear of mischief that night; and that Mr. Powell will not pay for any damages done by the said persons. It is also further advised, that there were no midwives wanted when those persons called them up in the several parts of Westminster; but that those gentlewomen who were in the company of the said impostors, may take care to call such useful persons on the sixth of December next.
The Censor having observed, that there are fine-wrought ladies' shoes and slippers put out to view at a great shoemaker's shop towards Saint James's end of Pall-mall, which create irregular thoughts and desires in the youth of this nation; the said shop-keeper is required to take in those eye-sores, or show cause the next court-day why he continues to expose the same; and he is required to be prepared particularly to answer to the slippers with green lace, and blue heels.
It is impossible for me to return the obliging things Mr. Joshua Barnes has said to me, upon the account of our mutual friend Homer. He and I have read him now forty years with some understanding, and great admiration. A work to be produced by one who has enjoyed so great an intimacy with an author, is certainly to be valued more than any comment made by persons of yesterday. Therefore, according to my friend Joshua's request, I recommend his work ;
and, having used a little magic in the case, I give this recommendation by way of “Amulet or charm against the malignity of envious backbiters, who speak evil of performances whereof themselves were never capable.” If I may use my friend Joshua's own words, I shall at present say no more, but that we, Homer's oldest acquaintance now living, know best his ways; and can inform the world, that they are often mistaken when they think he is in lethargic fits, which we know he was never subject to; and shall make appear to be rank, scandal and envy, that of the Latin poet, —Aliquando bonus dormitat Homerus. Hor. Ars Poet. ver, 359. —Good old Homer sometimes nods.
No. 144.] Saturday, March 11, 1709
Sheer-lane, March 10.
In a nation of liberty, there is hardly a person in the whole mass of the people more absolutely necessary than a Censor. It is allowed that I have no authority for assuming this important appellation, and that I am censor of these nations just as one is chosen king at the game of ‘Questions and Commands;' but if, in the execution of this fantastical dignity, I observe upon things which do not fall within the cognizance of real authority, I hope it will be granted, that an idle man could not be more usefully employed. Among all the irregularities of which I have taken notice, I know none so proper to be presented to the world by a cen. sor, as that of the general expense and affectation in equipage. I have lately hinted, that this extravagance must necessarily get footing where we have no sumptuary laws, and where every man may be dressed, attended, and carried, in what manner he pleases. But my tenderness to my fellow-subjects will not permit me to let this enorinity go unobserved.
As the matter now stands, every man takes it in his head, that he has a liberty to spend his money as he pleases. Thus, in spite of all order, justice, and decorum, we, the greater number of the queen's loyal subjects, for no reason in the world but because we want money, do not share alike in the division of her majesty's high road. The horses and slaves of the rich take up the whole street; while we peripatetics are very glad to watch an opportunity to whisk cross a passage, very thankful that we are not run over for interrupting the machine that carries in it a person neither more handsome, wise, or valiant, than the meanest of us. For this reason, were I to propose a tax, it should certainly be upon coaches and chairs; for no man living can assign a reason, why one man should have half a street to carry him at his ease, and perhaps only in pursuit of pleasures, when as good a man as himself wants room for his own person to pass upon the most necessary and urgent occasion. Until such an acknowledgment is made to the public, I shall take upon me to vest certain rights in the scavengers of the cities of London and Westminster, to tako
the horses and servants of all such as do not become, or deserve such distinctions, into their peculiar custody. The offenders themselves I shall allow safe conduct to their places of abode in the carts of the said scavengers, but their horses shall be mounted by their footmen, and sent into the service abroad; and I take this opportunity, in the first place, to recruit the regiment of my good old friend, the brave and honest Sylvius,” that they may be as, well taught as they are fed. It is to me most miraculous, so unreasonable a usurpation as this I am speaking of, should so long have been tolerated. We hang a poor fellow for taking any trifle from us on the road, and bear with the rich for robbing us of the road itself. Such a tax as this would be of great satisfaction to us who walk on foot; and, since the distinction of riding in a coach is not to be appointed according to a man's merit or service to his country, nor that liberty given as a reward for some eminent virtue, we should be highly contented to see them pay something for the insult they do us, in the state they take upon them while they are drawn by us. Until they have made us some reparation of this kind, we, the peripatetics of Great Britain, eannot think ourselves well treated, while every one that is able is allowed to set up an equipage. As for my part, I cannot but admire how persons, conscious to themselves of no manner of superiority above others, can, out of mere pride or laziness, expose themselves at this rate to public view, and put us all upon pronouncing those three terrible syllables, ‘Who is that I’ When it comes to that question, our method is, to consider the mien and air of the passenger, and comfort ourselves for being dirty to the ancles, by laughing at his figure and appearance who overlooks us. I must confess, were it not for the solid injustice of the thing, there is nothing could afford a discerning eye greater occasion for mirth, than this licentious huddle of qualities and characters in the equipages about this town. The overseers of the highways and constables have so little skill or power to rectify this matter, that you may often see the equipage of a fellow, whom all the town knows to deserve hanging, make a stop that shall interrupt the lord-high-chancellor and all the judges in their way to Westminster. For the better understanding of things and persons in this general confusion, I have given directions to all the coach-makers and coachpainters in town, to bring me in lists of their several customers; and doubt not, but with comparing the orders of each man, in the placing his arms on the door of his chariot, as well as the words, devices, and cyphers, to be fixed upon them, to make a collection which shall let us into the nature, if not the history, of mankind, more usefully than the curiosities of any medalist in Europe. But this evil of vanity in our figure, with many others, proceeds from a certain gayety of heart, which has crept into men's very
* The real person here alluded to, under his Latin name of Sylvius, was most probably Cornelius Wood, a gentleman of an excellent character, and very dis tinguished military merit. He was born in Stafford shire ann. 1636.
thoughts and complexions. The passions and adventures of heroes, when they enter the lists for the tournament in romances, are not more easily distinguishable by their palfreys and their armour, than the secret springs and affections of the several pretenders to show amongst us are known by their equipages in ordinary life. The young bridegroom with his gilded cupids and winged angels, has some excuse in the joy of his heart to launch out into something that may be significant of his present happiness. But to see men, for no reason upon earth but that they are rich, ascend triumphant chariots, and ride through the people, has at the bottom nothing else in it but an insolent transport, arising only from the distinction of fortune.
It is therefore high time that I call in such coaches as are, in their embellishments, improper for the character of their owners. find I am not obeyed herein, and that I cannot pull down those equipages already erected, I shall take upon me to prevent the growth of this evil for the future, by inquiring into the pretensions of the persons, who shall hereafter attempt to make public entries with ornaments and decorations of their own appointment. If a man, who believed he had the handsomest leg in this kingdom, should take a fancy to adorn so deserving a limb with a blue garter, he would justly be punished for offending against the most noble order: and I think, the general prostitution of equipage and retinue is as destructive to all distinction, as the impertinence of one man, if permitted, would certainly be to that illustrious fraternity.
This evening was allotted for taking into consideration a late request of two indulgent parents, touching the care of a young daughter, whom they design to send to a boarding-school, or keep at home, according to my determination; but I am diverted from that subject by letters which I have received from several ladies, complaining of a certain sect of professed enemies to the repose of the fair sex, called Oglers. These are, it seems, gentlemen who look with deep attention on one object at the playhouses, and are ever staring all round them in churches.
But if I’
It is urged by my correspondents, that they do all that is possible to keep their eyes off these ensnarers; but that, by what power they know not, both their diversions and devotions are interrupted by them in such a manner, as that they cannot attend to either, without stealing looks at the persons whose eyes are fixed upon them. By this means, my petitioners say, they find themselves grow insensibly less offended, and in time enamoured of these their enemies. What is required of me on this occasion is, that as I love and study to preserve the better part of mankind, the females, I would give them some account of this dangerous way of assault; against which there is so little defence, that it lays ambush for the sight itself, and makes them seeingly, knowingly, willingly, and forcibly, go on to their own captivity. This representation of the present state of affairs between the two sexes gave me very much alarm; and I had no more to do but to recollect what I had seen at any one assembly for some years last past, to be convinced of the truth and justice of this remonstrance. If there be not a stop put to this evil art, all the modes of address, and the elegant embellishments of life, which arise out of the noble passion of love, will of necessity decay. Who would be at the trouble of rhetoric, or study the bon mien, when his introduction is so much easier obtained by a sudden reverence in a downcast look at the
meeting the eye of a fair lady, and beginning
again to ogle her as soon as she glances another way ? ... I remember very well, when I was last at an opera, I could perceive the eyes of the whole audience cast into particular cross angles one upon another, without any manner of regard to the stage, though king Latinus was himself present when I made that observation. It was then very pleasant to look into the hearts of the whole company; for the balls of sight are so formed, that one man's eyes are spectacles to another to read his heart with. The most ordinary beholder can take notice of any violent agitation in the mind, any pleasing transport, or any inward grief, in the person he looks at ; but one of these oglers can see a studied indif. ference, a concealed love, or a smothered resentment, in the very glances that are made to hide those dispositions of thought. The naturalists tell us, that the rattle-snake will fix himself under a tree where he secs a squirrel playing ; and, when he has once got the exchange of a glance from the pretty wanton, will give it such a sudden stroke on its imagination, that though it may play from bough to bough, and strive to avert its eyes from it for some time, yet it comes nearer and nearer by little intervals of looking another way, until it drops into the jaws of the animal, which it knew gazed at it for no other reason but to ruin it. I did not believe this piece of philosophy until that night I was just now speaking of; but I then saw the same thing pass between an ogler and a coquette. Mirtillo, the most learned of the former had for some time discontinued to visit. Flavia, no less eminent among the latter. They industriously avoided all places where they might probably meet, but chance brought them together to the play-house, and scated them in a
direct line over against each other, she in a front box, he in the pit next the stage. As soon as Flavia had received the looks of the whole crowd with that air of insensibility which is necessary at the first entrance, she began to look around her, and saw the vagabond Mirtillo, who had so long absented himself from her circle; and when she first discovered him, she looked upon him with that glance, which, in the language of the oglers, is called the scornful, but immediately turned her observation another way, and returned upon him with the indifferent. This gave Mirtillo no small resentment; but he used her accordingly. He took care to be ready for her next glance. She found his eyes full in the indolent, with his lips crumpled up, in the posture of one whistling. Her anger at this usage o in every muscle of her face; and after many emotions, which glistened in her eyes, she cast them round the whole house, and gave them softnesses in the face of every man she had ever seen before. After she thought she had reduced all she saw to her obedience, the play began, and ended their dialogue. As soon as the first act was over, she stood up with a visage full of dissembled alacrity and pleasure, with which she overlooked the audience, and at last came to him ; he was then placed in a side way, with his hat slouched over his eyes, and gazing at a wench in the side-box, as talking of that gipsy to the gentleman who sat by him. But, as she fixed upon him, he turned suddenly with a full face upon her, and, with all the respect imaginable, made her the most obsequious bow in the presence of the whole theatre.” This gave her a pleasure not to be concealed; and she made him the recovering, or second courtesy, with a smile that spoke a perfect reconcilation. Between the ensuing acts, they talked to each other with gestures and glances so significant, that they ridiculed the whole house in this silent speech, and made an appointment that Mirtillo should lead her to her coach. The peculiar language of one eye, as it dif. fers from another as much as the tone of one voice from another, and the fascination or enchantment, which is lodged in the optic nerves of the persons concerned in these dialogues, is, I must confess, too nice a subject for one who is not an adept in these speculations; but I shall, for the good and safety of the fair sex, call my learned friend sir William Read to my assistance, and, by the help of his observations on this organ, acquaint them when the eye is to be believed, and when distrusted. On the contrary, I shall conceal the true meaning of the looks of ladies, and indulge in them all the art they can acquire in the management of their glances: all which is but too little against creatures who triumph in falsehood, and begin to forswear with their eyes, when their tongues can be no longer believed.
A very clean well-behaved young gentleman, who is in a very good way in Cornhill, has writ
* For many years last past this behaviour from a per. *on in the pot, to a lady or even a gentleman in a bor, would be thought monstrous.
to me the following lines; and seems in some passages of his letter, which I omit, to lay it very much to heart, that I have not spoken of a supernatural beauty, whom he sighs for, and complains to in most elaborate language. Alas! What can a monitor do 7 All mankind live in rolinance.
w - Royal Exchange, March 11. | ‘Mr. Bickenstaff, Some time since, you were pleased to mention the beauties in the New Exchange and Westminster-hall, and, in my judgment, were not very impartial; for if you were pleased to allow there was one goddess in the New Exchange, and two shepherdesses in Westminster-hall, you very well might say, there was and is at present one angel in the Royal Exchange; and I humbly beg the favour of you to let justice be done her, by inserting this in your next Tatler; which will make her my good angel, and me your most humble servant, A. B.’
No. 146.] Thursday, March 16, 1709-10.
Permittes ipsis expendere numinibus, quid
- Juv. Sat. x. 347, et seq.
Intrust thy fortune to the powers above:
From my own Apartment, March 15.
AMoNG the various sets of correspondents who apply to me for advice, and send up their cases from all parts of Great Britain, there are none who are more importunate with me, and whom I am more inclined to answer, than the Complainers. One of them dates his letter to me from the banks of a purling stream, where he used to ruminate in solitude upon the divine Clarissa, and where he is now looking about for a convenient leap, which he tells me he is resolved to take, unless I support him under the loss of that charming perjured woman. Poor Lavinia presses as much for consolation on the other side, and is reduced to such an extremity of despair by the inconstancy of Philander, that she tells me she writes her letter with her pen in one hand, and her garter in the other. A gentleman of an ancient family in Norfolk is almost out of his wits upon the account of a greyhound, that, after having been his inseparable companion for ten years, is at last run mad. Another, who, I believe, is serious, complains to me, in a very moving manner, of the loss of a wife; and another, in terms still more moving, of a purse of money that was taken from him on Bagshot-heath, and which, he tells me, would not have troubled him, if he had given it to the poor. In short, there is scarce a calamity in human life that has not produced me a letter.
It is indeed wonderful to consider, how men are able to raise affliction to themselves out of every thing. Lands and houses, sheep and oxen, can convey happiness and misery into the hearts of reasonable creatures. Nay, I have known a muff, a scarf, or a tippet, become a solid blessing or misfortune. A lap-dog has broke the hearts of thousands. Flavia, who had buried five children and two husbands, was never able to get over the loss of her parrot. How often has a divine creature been thrown into a fit by a neglect at a ball or an assembly Mopsa has kept her chamber ever since the last masquerade, and is in greater danger of her life upon being left out of it, than Clarinda from the violent cold which she caught at it. Nor are these dear creatures the only sufferers by such imaginary calamities. Many an author has been dejected at the censure of one whom he ever looked upon as an idiot; and many a hero cast into a fit of melancholy, because the rabble have not hooted at him as he passed through the streets. Theron places all his happiness in a running horse, Suffenus in a gilded chariot, Fulvius in a blue string, and Florio in a tulip-root. It would be endless to enumerate the many fantastical afflictions that disturb mankind; but as a misery is not to be measured from the nature of the evil, but from the temper of the sufferer, I shall present my readers, who are unhappy either in reality or imagination, with an allegory, for which I am indebted to the great father and prince of poets. As I was sitting after dinner in my elbowchair, I took up Homer, and dipped into that famous speech of Achilles to Priam," in which he tells him, that Jupiter has by him two great vessels, the one filled with blessings, and the other misfortunes; out of which he mingles a composition for every man that comes into the world. This passage so exceedingly pleased me, that, as I fell insensibly into my afternoon's slumber, it wrought my imagination into the following dream. When Jupiter took into his hands the government of the world, the several parts of nature, with the presiding deities, did homage to him. One presented him with a mountain of winds, another with a magazine of hail, and a third with a pile of thunder-bolts. The stars offered up their influences; ocean gave in his trident, earth her fruits, and the sun his seasons. Among the several deities who came to make their court on this occasion, the destinies advanced with two great tuns carried before them, one of which they fixed at the right hand of Jupiter, as he sat upon his throne, and the other on his left. The first was filled with all the blessings, and the other with all the calamities of human life. Jupiter, in the beginning of his reign, finding the world much more innocent than it
* Two urns by Jove's high throne have ever stood,
Pope's Hon. Il. xiv. ver. 863.
is in this iron age, poured very plentifully out of the tun that stood at his right hand; but, as mankind degenerated, and became unworthy of his blessings, he set abroach the other vessel, that filled the world with pain and poverty, battles and distempers, jealousy and falsehood, intoxicating pleasures, and untimely deaths. He was at length so very much incensed at the great depravation of human nature, and the . repeated provocations which he received from: all parts of the earth, that, having resolved to destroy the whole species, except Deucalion and Pyrrha, he commanded the destinies to gather up the blessings which he had thrown away upon the sons of men, and lay them up until the world should be inhabited by a more vir. tuous and deserving race of mortals. The three sisters immediately repaired to the earth, in search of the several blessings that had been scattered on it; but found the task which was enjoined them, to be much more dif. ficult than they imagined. The first places they resorted to, as the most likely to succeed in, were cities, palaces, and courts; but, instead of meeting with what they looked for here, they found nothing but envy, repining, uneasiness, and the like bitter ingredients of the left-hand vessel. Whereas, to their great surprise, they discovered content, cheerfulness, health, innocence, and other the most substantial blessings of life, in cottages, shades, and solitudes. There was another circumstance no less unexpected than the former, and which gave them very great perplexity, in the discharge of the trust which Jupiter had committed to them. They observed, that several blessings had degenerated into calamitics, and that several calamities had improved into blessings, according as they foll into the possession of wise or foolish men. They often found power, with so much insolence and impatience cleaving to it, that it became a misfortune to the person on whom it was conferred. Youth had often distempers growing about it, worse than the infirmities of old age. Wealth was often united to such a $ordid avarice, as made it the most uncomfortable and painful kind of poverty. On the contrary, they often found pain made glorious by fortitude, poverty lost in content, deformity beautified with virtue. In a word, the blessings were often like good fruits planted in a bad soil, that by degrees fall off from their natural relish, into tastes altogether insipid or unwholesome; and the calamities, like harsh fruits, cultivated in a good soil, and enriched by proper grafts and inoculations, until they swell with generous and delightful juices. There was still a third circumstance that occasioned as great a surprise to the three sisters as either of the foregoing, when they discovered several blessings and calamities which had never been in either of the tuns that stood by the throne of Jupiter, and were nevertheless as great occasions of happiness or misery as any there. These were that spurious crop of blessings and calamities which were never sown by the hand of the deity, but grow of themselves out of the fancies and dispositions of human creatures. Such “,o titles, place, equi