Page images

would peep, and listen to know how she was employed. It happened accordingly; and the }. lady saw her good governante on her nees, and, after a mental behaviour, break into these words,-'As for the dear child committed to my care, let her sobriety of carriage, and severity of behaviour, be such as may make that noble lord who is taken with her beauty, turn his designs to such as are honourable.” Here Parisatis heard her neice nestle closer to the key-hole : she then goes on : ‘Make her the joyful mother of a numerous and wealthy off. spring ; and let her carriage be such, as may make this noble youth expect the blessings of a happy marriage, from the singularity of her life, in this loose and censorious age.’ Miss, having heard enough, sneaks off for fear of discovery, and immediately at her glass alters the sitting of her head; then pulls up her tucker, and forms herself into the exact manner of Lindamira; in a word, becomes a sincere convert to every thing that is commendable in a fine young lady; and two or three such matches as her aunt feigned in her devotions, are at this day in her choice. This is the history and original cause of Pastorella's conversion from coquetry. The prudence in the management of this young lady's temper, and good judgment of it, is hardly to be exceeded. I scarce remember a greater instance of forbearance of the usual peevish way with which the aged treat the young than this, except that of our famous Noy, whose good nature went so far as to make him put off his admonitions to his son, even until after his death; and did not give him his thoughts of him, until he came to read that memorable passage in his will: “All the rest of my estate,’ says he, “I leave to my son Edward (who is executor to this my will) to be squandered as he shall think fit; I leave it him for that purpose, and hope no better for him.’ A enerous disdain, and reflection upon how little e deserved from so excellent a father, reformed the young man, and made Edward, from an arrant rake, become a fine gentleman.

St. James's Coffee-house, April 29.

Letters from Portugal of the eighteenth in

stant, dated from Estremos, say, that on the sixth the earl of Galway arrived at that place, and had the satisfaction to see the quarters well furnished with all manner of provisions, and a quantity of bread sufficient for subsisting the troops for sixty days, besides biscuit for twentyfive days. The enemy give out, that they shall bring into the field fourteen regiments of horse, and twenty-four battalions. The troops in the service of Portugal will make up 14,000 foot, and 4000 horse. On the day these letters were dispatched, the earl of Galway received advice, that the marquis de Bav was preparing for some enterprise, by gathering his troops together on the frontiers. Whereupon his excellency resolved to go that same night to Villa Viciosa, to assemble the troops in that neighbourhood, in order to disappoint his designs. Yesterday, in the evening, captain Foxton, aid-de-camp to major-general Cadogan, arrived

and this day a mail is come in with letters from Brussels of the sixth of May, N. S. which advise, that the enemy had drawn together a body, consisting of 20,000 men, with a design, as was supposed, to intercept the great convoy on the march towards Lisle, which was safely arrived at Menin and Courtray, in its way to that place, the French having retired without making any attempt. We hear from the Hague, that a person of the first quality is arrived in the Low Countries from France, in order to be a plenipotentiary in an ensuing treaty of peace. Letters from France acknowledge, that monsieur Bernard has made no higher offers of satisfaction to his creditors than of thirty-five pounds per cent. These advices add, that the marshal Bousslers, monsieur Torcy (who distinguished himself formerly, by advising the court of France to adhere to the treaty of partition,) and monsieur d'Harcourt (who negotiated with cardinal Portocarrero for the succession of the crown of Spain in the house of Bourbon,) are all three joined in a commission for a treaty of peace. The marshal is come to Ghent : the other two are arrived at the Hague. It is confidently reported here, that the right honourable the lord Townshend is to go with his grace the duke of Marlborough into Holland. *...* Mr. Bickerstaff has received the epistles of Mrs. Rebecca Wagstaff, Timothy Pikestaff, and Wagstaff, which he will acknowledge farther as occasion shall serve.

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

My brother Isaac, having a sudden occasion to go out of town, ordered me to take upon me the despatch of the next advices from home, with liberty to speak in my own way: not doubting the allowances which would be given to a writer of my sex. You may be sure I undertook it with much satisfaction; and I confess, I am not a little pleased with the opportunity of running over all the papers in his closet, which he has left open for my use on this occasion. The first that I lay my hands on, is a treatise concerning “the empire of beauty,’ and the ef. fects it has had in all nations of the world, upon the public and private actions of men; with an appendix, which he calls, “The Bachelor's scheme for governing his wife.” The first thing he makes this gentleman propose, is, that she shall be no woman ; for she is to have an aversion to balls, to operas, to visits ; she is to think his company sufficient to fill up all the hours of life with great satisfaction; she is never to be. lieve any other man wise, learned, or valiant: place, he intends she shall be a cuckold; but expects, that he himself must live in perfect security from that tenor. He dwells a great while on instructions for her discreet behaviour, in case of his falsehood. I have not patience with these unreasonable expectations, therefore turn back to the treatise itself. Here, indeed, my brother deduces all the revolutions among men from the passion of love; and in his preface answers that usual observation against us, ‘that there is no quarrel without a woman in it,” with a gallant assertion, that “there is nothing else worth quarrelling for.’ My brother is of a complexion truly amorous; all his thoughts and actions carry in them a tincture of that obliging inclination; and this turn has opened his eyes to see, that we are not the inconsiderable creatures which unlucky pretenders to our favour would insinuate. He observes that no man begins to make any tolerable figure until he sets out with the hopes of pleasing some one of us. No sooner he takes that in hand, but he pleases every one else by the bye. It has an immediate effect upon his behaviour. There is colonel Ranter,” who never spoke without an oath, until he saw the lady Betty Modish; now, never gives his man an order, but it is ‘Pray Tom, do it.' The drawers where he drinks, live in perfect happiness. He asked Will at the George the other day, how he did? Where he used to say, “Damn it, it is so ;’ he now ‘believes there is some mistake; he must confess, he is of another opinion; but, however, he will not insist.’ Every temper, except downright insipid, is to be animated and softened by the influence of beauty; but of this untractable sort is a lifeless handsome fellow that visits us, whom I have dressed at this twelvemonth; but he is as insensible of all the arts I use, as if he conversed all that time with his nurse. He outdoes our whole sex in all the faults our enemies impute to us; he has brought laziness into an opinion, and makes his indolence his philosophy: insomuch that no longer ago than yesterday in the evening he gave me this account of himself: “I am, madam, perfectly unmoved at all that passes among men, and seldom give myself the fatigue of going among them; but when I do, I always appear the same thing to those whom I converse with. My hours of existence, or being awake, are from eleven in the morning to eleven at night; half of which I live to myself, in picking my teeth, washing my hands, paring my nails, and looking in the glass. The insignificancy of my manners to the rest of the world,t makes the laughers call me a Quidnunc, a phrase which I neither understand, nor shall ever inquire what they mean by it. The last of me each

here express from the duke of Marlborough; or at least, but in a second degree. In the next

• There is probably an allusion here to the celebrated Mrs. Anne Qidfield and brigadier-general Churchill. Mrs. 9. Played at this time inimitably well the character of Laoy Petty Modish in the ‘Careless Husband, which the author, Mr. Cibber, acknowledges was not only written for her, but copied from her, so that she was both the player, and the original of the character. Biog. Brit. Art. Oldfield.

+ What follows is inserted as a farther specimen of the manner of the Annotator on the Tatler, and of the nature of his remarks. See Tatler, Nos. 5, and 7. “Nothing is more apropos, than to talk in a dialect that is not English, of a phrase that is not sense.' . Annotations on the Tatter, part i. p. 83.

night is at St. James's coffee-house, where I converse, yet never fall into a dispute on any occasion; but leave the understanding I have, passive of all that goes through it, without entering into the business of life. And thus, madam, have I arrived by laziness, to what others pretend to by philosophy, a perfect neglect of the world.' Sure, if our sex had the liberty of frequenting public houses and conversations, we should put these rivals of our faults and follies out of countenance. However, we shall soon have the pleasure of being acquainted with them one way or other; for my brother Isaac designs, for the use of our sex, to give the exact characters of all the chief politicians, who frequent any of the coffee-houses from St. James's to the Exchange; but designs to begin with that cluster of wise-heads, as they are found sitting every evening from the left side of the fire, at the Smyrna, to the door. This will be of great service for us, and I have authority to promise an exact journal of their deliberations; the publication of which I am to be allowed for pin-money. In the meantime, I cast my eye upon a new book, which gave me more pleasing entertainment, being a sixth part of Miscellany Poems published by Jacob Tonson,” which, I find, by my brother's notes upon it, no way inferior to the other volumes. There is, it seems, in this, a collection of the best pastorals that have hitherto appeared in England; but among them, none superior to that dialogue between Sylvia and Dorinda, written by one of my own sex;t where all our little weaknesses are laid open in a manner more just, and with truer raillery, than ever man yet hit upon. Only this I now discern, From the things thou’dst have me learn, That womankind's peculiar joys From past or present beauties rise. But to reassume my first design, there cannot be a greater instance of the command of females, than in the prevailing charms of the heroine in the play, which was acted this night, called, “All for Love; or The World well Lost.’t The enamoured Anthony resigns glory and power to the force of the attractive Cleopatra, whose charms were the defence of her diadem against a people otherwise invincible. It is so natural for women to talk of themselves, that it is to be hoped, all my own sex at least will pardon me, that I could fall into no other discourse. If we have their favour, we give ourselves very little anxiety for the rest of our readers. I believe I see a sentence of Latin in my brother's day-book of wit, which seems applicable on this occasion, and in contempt of the critics– Tristitiam et motus

Tradam protervis in mare Creticum? -
Potare ventis. Hor. i. Od. xxvi. 2.

No boding fears shall break my rest,
Nor anxious cares invade my breast;

* Usually called ' Dryden's Collection." # By Mrs. Elizabeth Singer, celebrated by Prior in many parts of his poems, and afterwards Mrs. Rowc. I By Dryden, first acted in the year 1678. §The humour of Mrs. Jenny Distairs. Latin quotation ständs in need of some illustration. It rises out of the similarity between the words Cretecum and Criticom; which are sufficiently alike to mislead a lady unskilled in the Latin language, into this misapplication of the


[blocks in formation]

We are advised by letters from Bern, dated the first instant, N. S. that the duke of Berwick arrived at Lyons the twenty-fifth of the last month, and continued his journey the next day to visit the passes of the mountains and other posts in Dauphiné and Provence. These letters also inform us, that the miseries of the people in France are heightened to that degree, that unless a peace be speedily concluded, half of that kingdom would perish for want of bread. *On the twenty-fourth, the marshal de Thesse passed through Lyons, in his way to Versailles; and two battalions, which were marching from Alsace to reinforce the army of the duke of Berwick, passed also through that place. Those troops were to be followed by six battalions Inore. Letters from Naples of the sixteenth of April say, that the marquis de Pric's son was arrived there, with instructions from his father, to signify to the viceroy the necessity his imperial majesty was under, of desiring an aid from that kingdom, for carrying on the extraordinary expenses of the war. On the fourteenth of the same month they made a review of the Spanish troops in that garrison, and afterwards of the marines; one part of whom will embark with those designed for Barcelona, and the rest are to be sent on board the galleys appointed to convoy provisions to that place. We hear from Rome, by letters dated the twentieth of April, that the count de Mellos. envoy from the king of Portugal, had made his public entry into that city with much state and magnificence. The pope has lately held two other consistories, wherein he made a promotion of two cardinals; but the acknowledgment of king Charles is still deferred. Letters from other parts of Italy advise us, that the doge of Venice continues dangerously ill; that the prince de Carignan, having relapsed into a violent fever, died the twenty-third of April, in his eightieth year. Advices from Vienna of the twenty-seventh of April import, that the archbishop of Saltzburg is dead, who is succeeded by count Harrach, formerly bishop of Vienna, and for these last three years coadjutor to the said archbishop; and that prince Maximilian of Lichtenstein is likewise departed this life, at his country seat called Cromaw in Moravia. These advices add, that the emperor has named count Zinzendorf, count Goes, and monsieur Consbruck, for his plenipotentiaries in an ensuing treaty of peace ; and they hear from Hungary, that the imperial. ists have had several successful skirmishes with the malcontents. Letters from Paris, dated May the sixth, say that the marshal de Thesse arrived there on the twenty-ninth of last month, and that the chevalier de Beuil was sent thither by Don

Pedro Ronquillo, with advice, that the confederate squadron appeared before Alicant on the seventeenth; and, having for some time cannonaded the city, endeavoured to land some troops for the relief of the castle; but general Stanhope, finding the passes well guarded, and the enterprise dangerous, demanded to capitulate for the castle; which being granted him, the garrison, consisting of six hundred regular troops, marched out with their arms and baggage the day following; and being received on board, they immediately set sail for Barcelona. These letters add, that the march of the French and Swiss regiments is further deferred for a few days; and that the duke of Noailles was just ready to set out for Roussillon as well as the count de Bezons for Catalonia. The same advices say, bread was sold at Paris for sixpence a pound; and that there was not half enough, even at that rate, to supply the necessities of the people, which reduced them to the utmost despair; that three hundred men had taken up arms, and having plundered the market of the suburb of St. Germain, pressed down by their multitude the king's guards who opposed them. Two of those mutineers were afterwards seized and condemned to death ; but four others went to the magistrate who pronounced that sentence, and told him, he must expect to answer with his own life for those of their comrades. All order and sense of government being thus lost among the enraged people, to keep up a show of authority, the captain of the guards, who saw all their insolence, pretended, that he had represented to the king their deplorable condition, and had - obtained their pardon. It is further reported, that the dauphin and dutchess of Burgundy, as they went to the opera, were surrounded by crowds of people, who upbraided them with their neglect of the general calamity, in going to diversions, when the whole people were ready to perish for want of bread. Edicts are daily published to suppress these riots: and papers with menaces against the government, as publicly thrown about. Among others, these words were dropped in a court of Justice. “France wants a Ravilliac or Jesuit to deliver her.' Besides this universal distress, there is a contagious sickness, which, it is feared, will end in a pestilence. Letters from Bourdeaux bring accounts no less lamentable; the peasants are driven by hunger from their abodes into that city, and make lamentations in the streets without redress. We are advised by letters from the Hague, dated the tenth instant, N. S. that on the sixth the marquis de Torcy arrived there from Paris; but the passport, by which he came, having been sent blank by monsieur Rouille, he was there two days before his quality was known. That minister offered to communicate to monsieur Heinsius the proposals which he had to make : but the pensionary refused to see them, and said, he would signify it to the states, who deputed some of their own body to acquaint him, that they would enter into no negotiation until the arrival of his grace the duke of Marlborough, and the other ministers of the alliance. Prince Eugene was expected there the twelfth instant from Brussels. It is said, that besides monsieur de Torcy, and monsieur Pajot, director-general of the posts, there are two or three persons at the Hague whose names are not known; but it is supposed, that the duke d'Alba, ambassador from the duke of Anjou, was one of them. The states have sent letters to all the cities of the provinces, desiring them to send their deputies to receive the propositions of peace made by the court of France. *...* In the absence of Mr. Bickerstaff, Mrs. Distaff has received Mr. Nathaniel Broomstick's letter. N. B. Under the signature of Nath. Broom. stick, the subsequent paper, or hints for it, might have been communicated to Steele by Swift, by Anthony Henley, esq. or by Mr. Jabez Hughes. See Tatler, No. 11. ,

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

A kixsys AN has sent me a letter, wherein he informs me, he had lately resolved to write an heroic poem, but by business has been interrupted, and has only made one similitude, which he should be afflicted to have wholly lost; and begs of Ine to apply it to something, being very desirous to see it well placed in the world. I am so willing to help the distressed, that I have taken it in ; but, though his greater genius might very well distinguish his verses from mine, I have marked where his begin. His lines are a description of the sun in eclipse, which I know nothing more like than a brave man in sorrow, who bears it as he should, without imploring the pity of his friends, or being dejected with the contempt of his enemies; as in the case of Cato.

When all the globe to Corsar's fortune bowed, Cato alone his empire disallowed; With inborn strength, alone opposed mankind, with heaven in view, to all below it blind : Rezardless of his friends' applause, or moan, Alone triumphant, since he fails alone.

“Thus when the Ruler of the genial day Behind some dark'ning planet forms his way, Desponding mortals, with officious care, The concave drum and magic brass prepare ; Implore him to sustain the important fight, And save depending worlds from endless night: Fondly they hope their labour may avail To ease his conflict, and assist his toil, Whilst he, in beams of native splendour bright, (Through dark his orb appear to human sight) ! Shines to the gods with more diffusive light; To distant stars with equal glory burns, Inflames their lamps, and feeds their golden urns, Sure to retain his known superior tract, And proves the inore illustrious by defect.'

This is a very lively image; but I must take the liberty to say, my kinsman drives the sun a little like Phaeton;" he has all the warmth

of Phoebus, but will not stay for his direction of it. Acail and toil, defect and tract, will never do for rhymes. But, however, he has the true spirit in him; for which reason I was willing to entertain any thing he pleased to send me. The subject which he writes upon, naturally raises great reflections in the soul, and puts us in mind of the mixed condition which we mortals are to support; which, as it varies to good or bad, adorns or defaces our actions to the beholders; all which glory and shame must end in, what we so much repine at, death. But doctrines on this occasion, any other than that of living well, are the most insignificant and most empty of all the labours of men. None but a tragedian can die by rule, and wait till he discovers a plot, or says a fine thing upon his erit. In real life, this is a chimera; and by noble spirits it will be done decently, without the ostentation of it. We see men of all conditions and characters go through it with equal resolution; and if we consider the speeches of the mighty philosophers, heroes, lawgivers, and great captains, they can produce no more in a discerning spirit, than rules to make a man a fop on his death-bed. Commend me to that natural greatness of soul, expressed by an innocent, and consequently resolute country-fellow, who said, in the pains of the colic, ‘If I once get this breath out of my body, you shall hang me before you put it in again.' Honest Ned : and so he died.t But it is to be supposed, that from this place you may expect an account of such a thing as a new play is not to be omitted. That acted this night is the newest that ever was writ. The author is my ingenious friend Mr. Thomas Durfey. This drama is called, “The Modern Prophets,’ and is a most unanswerable satire against the late spirit of enthusiasm. The writer had by long experience observed that, in company, very grave discourses had been followed by bawdry; and therefore has turned the humour that way with great success, and taken from his audience all manner of superstition, by the agitations of pretty Mrs. Bignell, whom he has, with great subtilty, made a laysister, as well as a prophetess; by which means she carries on the affairs of both worlds with great success. My friend designs to go on with another work against winter, which he intends to call, “The Modern poets,' a people no less mistaken in their opinions of being inspired, than the other. In order to this, he has by him seven songs, besides many ambiguities, which cannot be mistaken for any thing but what he means them. Mr. Durfey generally writes state-plays, and is wonderfully useful to the world in such representations. This method is the same that was used by the old Athenians, to laugh out of countenance, or promote, opinions among the people. My friend has therefore, against this play is acted for his own benefit, made two dances, which may be also of an universal benefit. In the first, he has represented absolute power in the person

* Ovid. Metain. ii. 1. E

f This wed was a farmer of Anthony Henley, Esq. who mentions this saying of his in a letter to Swift.-Swift's Works, vol. xviii. p. 15.

of a tall man with a hat and feather, who gives his first minister, that stands just before him, a huge kick; the minister gives the kick to the next before; and so to the end of the stage. In this moral and practical jest, you are made to understand, that there is, in an absolute government, no gratification but giving the kick you receive from one above you to one below you. This is performed to a grave and melancholy air; but on a sudden the tune moves quicker, and the whole company fall into a circle, and take hands; and then, at a certain sharp note, they move round, and kick as kick can. This latter performance he makes to be the representation of a free state ; where, if you all mind your steps, you may go round and round very jollily, with a motion pleasant to yourselves and those you dance with ; nay, if you put yourselves out, at the worst, you only kick and are kicked, like friends and equals.

From my own Apartment, May 4.

Of all the vanities under the sun, I confess that of being proud of one's birth is the greatest. At the same time, since in this unreasonable age, by the force of prevailing custom, things in which men have no hand are imputed to them ; and that I am used by some people, as if Isaac Bickerstaff, though I write myself Esquire, was nobody; to set the world right in that particular, I shall give you my genealogy, as a kinsman of ours has sent it me from the herald's office. It is certain, and observed by the wisest writers, that there are women who are not nicely chaste, and men not severely honest, in all families; therefore let those who may be apt to raise aspersions upon ours, please to give us as impartial an account of their own, and we shall be satisfied. The business of heralds is a matter of so great nicety, that, to avoid mistakes, I shall give you my cousin's letter verbatim, without altering a syllable.

DEAR Cousin, “Since you have been pleased to make yourself so famous of late, by your ingenious writings, and some time ago by your learned predictions; since Partridge, of immortal memory, is dead and gone, who, poetical as he was, could not understand his own poetry; and philomatical as he was, could not read his own destiny; since the pope, the king of France, and great part of his court, are either literally or metaphorically defunct; since, I say, these things (not foretold by any one but yourself) have come to pass after so surprising a manner; it is with no small concern I see the original of the Staf. fian race so little known in the world as it is at this time; for which reason, as you have employed your studies in astronomy, and the occult sciences, so I, my mother being a Welch woman, dedicated mine to genealogy, particularly that of our own family, which, for its antiquity and number, may challenge any in Great Britain. The Staffs are originally of Staffordshire, which took its name from them : the first that I find of the Staffs was one Jacobstaff, a famous and renowned astronomer, who, by Dorothy his wife had issue seven sons: viz. Bickerstaff, Longstaff, Wagstaff, Quarterstaff, Whitestaff, Falstaff, and Tipstaff. He also had a younger

brother, who was twice married, and had five sons: viz. Distaff, Pikestaff, Mopstaff, Broomstaff, and Raggedstaff. As for the branch from whence you spring, I shall say very little of it, only that it is the chief of the Staffs, and called Bickerstaff, quasi Biggerstaff; as much as to say, the Great Staff, or Staff of Staffs; and that it has applied itself to astronomy with great success, after the example of our aforesaid forefather. The descendants from Longstaff, the second son, were a rakish disorderly sort of people, and rambled from one place to another, until, in the time of Harry the Second, they settled in Kent, and were called Long-tails, from the long tails which were sent them as a punishment for the murder of Thomas-a-Becket, as the legends say. They have always been sought after by the ladies; but whether it be to show their aversion to popery, or their love to miracles, I cannot say. The Wagstaffs are a merry, thoughtless sort of people, who have always been opinionatcd of their own wit; they have turned themselves mostly to poetry. This is the most numerous branch of our family, and the poorest. The Quarterstaffs are most of them prize-fighters or deer-stealers; there have been so many of them hanged lately, that there are very few of that branch of our family left. The Whitestaffs” are all courtiers, and have had very considerable places. There have been some of them of that strength and dexterity, that five hundredt of the ablest men in the kingdom have often tugged in vain to pull a staff out of their hands. The Falstaffs are strangely given to whoring and drinking ; there are abundance of them in and about London. One thing is very remarkable of this branch, and that is, there are just as many women as men in it. There was a wicked stick of wood of this name in Harry the Fourth’s time, one sir John Falstaff. As for Tipstaff, the youngest son, he was an honest fellow; but his sons, and his sons' sons, have all of them been the veriest rogues living ; it is this unlucky branch that has stocked the nation with that swarm of lawyers, attorneys, serjeants, and bailiffs, with which the nation is over-run. Tipstaff, being a seventh son, used to cure the king's-evil; but his rascally descendants are so far from having that healing quality, that, by a touch upon the shoulder, they give a man such an ill habit of body, that he can never come abroad afterwards. This is all I know of the line of Jacobstaff; his younger brother Isaacstaff, as I told you before, had five sons, and was married twice: his first wife was a Staff (for they did not stand upon false heraldry in those days) by whom he had one son, who, in process of time, being a schoolmaster and well read in the Greek, called himself Distaff, or Twicestaff. He was not very rich, so he put his children out to trades; and the Distaffs have cver since been employed in the woollen and linen manufactures, except myself, who am a genealogist. Pikestaff, the cliest son by the second renter, was a man of business, a downright plodding

* An allusion to the staff carried by the first lord of the treasury, afterwards humourosly compared by Steele to “an emmet distinguished from his fellows by a white straw.”

t The House of Commons.

« PreviousContinue »