« PreviousContinue »
successfully executed; whereby we were masters of the Scheld and Scarp. Eight men were drawn out of each troop of dragoons and company of foot in the garrison of Tournay, to make up the reinforcement which was ordered to join marshal Villars. On advice, that the allies were marching towards Tournay, they endeavoured to return into the town, but were intercepted by the earl of Orkney, by whom the whole body was killed or taken. These letters add, that twelve hundred dragoons (each horseman carrying a foot-soldier behind him) were detached from Mons to throw themselves into Tournay; but, upon appearance of a great body of horse of the allies, retired towards Conde. We hear that the garrison does not consist of more than three thousand five hundred men. Of the sixty battalions designed to be employed in this siege, seven are English, viz. two of guards, and the regiments of Argyle, Temple, Evans, and Meredith.
No. 36.] Saturday, July 2, 1709. Quicquid agunt homines—— nostriest farrago libelli. Juv. Sat. i. 85, 86.
Whate'er men do, or say, or think, or dream, Our Inotley paper seizes for its theme.
by MRS. JENNY DISTAFF, HALF-SISTER To MR. BlcKERSTAFF.
From my own Apartment, June 30.
MANY affairs calling my brother into the country, the care of our intelligence with the town is left to me for some time; therefore you must expect the advices you meet with in this paper, to be such as more immediately and naturally fall under the consideration of our sex. History, therefore, written by a woman, you will easily imagine to consist of love in all its forms, both in the abuse of, and obedience to that passion. As to the faculty of writing itself, it will not, it is hoped, be demanded that style and ornament shall be so much consulted, as truth and simplicity; which latter qualities we may more justly pretend to beyond the other sex. While, therefore, the administration of our af. fairs is in my hands, you shall from time to time have an exact account of all false lovers, and their shallow pretences for breaking off; of all termagant wives who make wedlock a yoke; of men who affect the entertainments and manners suitable only to our sex, and women who pretend to the conduct of such affairs as are only within the province of men. It is necessary further to advertise the reader, that the usual places of resort being utterly out of my province or observation, I shall be obliged frequently to change the dates of places, as occurrences come into my way. The following letter I lately received from Epsom.*
* Epsom, June 28.
* It is now almost three weeks since what you writ about happened in this place. The quarrel
* About this time Epsom was a place pretty much resorted to in the surnmer season; but the company there generally consisted more of people in health, than of persons who had any real want of its mineral waters-
between my friends did not run so high as I find your accounts have made it. The truth of the fact you shall have very faithfully. You are to understand, that the persons concerned in this scene were lady Autumn, and lady Springly: Autumn is a person of good breeding, formality, and a singular way practised in the last age; and lady Springly a modern impertinent of our sex, who affects as improper a familiarity, as the other does distance. Lady Autumn knows to a hair's breadth where her place is in all assemblies and conversations; but Springly neither gives nor takes place of any body, but understands the place to signify no more, than to have room enough to be at ease wherever she comes. Thus, while Autumn takes the whole of this life to consist in understanding punctilio and decorum, Springly takes every thing to be becoming, which contributes to her ease and satisfaction. These heroines have married two brothers, both knights. Springly is the spouse of the elder, who is a baronet; and Autumn, being a rich widow, has taken the younger, and her purse endowed him with an equal fortune, and knighthood of the same order. This jumble of titles, you need not doubt, has been an aching torment to Autumn, who took place of the other on no pretence, but her carelessness and disregard of distinction. The secretaccasion of envy broiled long in the breast of Autumn; but no opportunity of contention on that subject happening, kept all things quiet until the accident of which you demand an account. “It was given out among all the gay people of this place, that on the ninth instant several damsels, swift of foot, were to run for a suit of head-clothes at the Old Wells. Lady Autumn on this occasion invited Springly to go with her in her coach to see the race. When they came to the place, where the governor of Epsom and all his court of citizens were assembled, as well as a crowd of people of all orders, a brisk young fellow addresses himself to the younger of the ladies, viz. Springly, and offers her his service to conduct her into the music-room. Springly accepts the compliment, and is led triumphantly through a bowing crowd, while Autumn is left among the rabble, and has much ado to get back into her coach; but she did it at last: and as it is usual to see by the horses my lady's present disposition, she orders John to whip furiously home to her husband; where, when she enters, down she sits, began to unpin her hood, and lament her foolish fond heart, to marry into a family where she was so little regarded; she that might . Here she stops; then rises up, and stamps and sits down again. Her gentle knight made his approach with a supple beseeching gesture. “My dear!” said he—“Tell me no dears!” replied Autumn, in the presence of the governor and all the merchants—“What will the world say of a woman that has thrown herself away at this rate 7" Sir Thomas withdrew, and knew it would not be long a secret to him; as well as that experience told him, he that marries a fortune is of course guilty of all faults against his wife, let them be committed by whom they will. But Springly, an hour or two after, returns from the Wells, and finds the whole company together. Down she sat, and a pro
found silence ensued. You know a premedi. tated quarrel usually begins, and works up with the words some people. The silence was broken by lady Autumn, who began to say, “There are some people who fancy, that if some people”— Springly immediately takes her up, “There are some people who fancy, if other people.”—Autumn repartees, “People may give themselves airs; but other people, perhaps, who make less ado, may be, perhaps, as agreeable as people who set themselves out more.” All the other people at the table sat mute, while these two people, who were quarrelling, went on with the use of the word people, instancing the very accidents between them, as if they kept only in distant hints. Therefore, says Autumn, reddening, “There are some people will go abroad in other people's coaches, and leave those with whom they went to shift for themselves: and if, perhaps, those people have married the younger brother; yet, perhaps, he may be beholden to those people for what he is. Springly smartly answers, “People may bring so much ill-humour into a family, as people may repent their receiving their money;” and goes on “Every body is not considerable enough to give her uneasiness.” Upon this Autumn comes up to her, and desired her to kiss her, and never to see or again; which her sister refusing, my lady gave her a box on the ear.—Springly returns; “Ay, ay, said she, I knew well enough you meant me by your some people;” and gives another on the other side. To it they went with most masculine fury; each husband ran in. The wives immediately fell upon their husbands, and tore perriwigs and cravats; the company interposed, when (according to the slip-knot of matrinony, which makes them return to one another when any put in between) the ladies and their husbands fell upon all the rest of the company; and, having beat all their friends and relations out of the house, came to themselves time enough to know, there was no bearing the jest of the place after these adventures, and therefore marched off the next day. It is said, the governor has sent several joints of mutton, and has proposed divers dishes very exquisitely dressed, to bring thern down again. From his address and knowledge in roast and boiled, all our hopes of the return of this good company depend. I am, dear Jenny, your ready friend and servant, MIAR THA. TATI, ER."
White's Chocolate-house, June 30.
This day appeared here a figure of a person, whose services to the fair sex have reduced him to a kind of existence for which there is no name. If there be a condition between life and death, without being absolutely dead or living, his state is that. His aspect and complexion, in his robust days, gave him the illustrious title of Africanus : but it is not only from the warm climates in which he has served, nor from the disasters which he has suffered, that he deserves the same appellation with that renowned Roman; but the magnanimity with which he appears in his last moments, is what gives him the undoubted character of hero. Cato stabbed himself, and Hannibal drank poison; but our
Africanus lives in the continual puncture of aching bones and poisoned juices. The old heroes fled from torinents, by death; and this modern lives in death and torments, with a heart wholly bent upon a supply for remaining in them. An ordinary spirit would sink under his oppressions, but he makes an advantage of his very sorrow, and raises an income from his diseases. Long has this worthy been conversant in bartering, and knows that when stocks are lowest, it is the time to buy. Therefore, with much prudence and tranquillity, he thinks, that now, he has not a bone sound, but a thousand nodous parts for which the anatomists have not words, and more diseases than the college ever heard of, it is the only time to purchase an annuity for life. Sir Thomas told me, it was an entertainment more surprising and pleasant than can be imagined, to see an inhabitant of neither world, without hand to lift, or leg to move, scarce tongue to utter his meaning, so keen upon biting the whole world, and making bubbles at his exit. Sir Thomas added, that he world have bought twelve shillings ayear of him, but that he feared there was some trick in it, and believed him already dead. ‘What,’ says the knight, ‘is Mr. Partridge, whorn I met just now going on both his legs firmer than I can, allowed to be quite dead; and shall Africanus, without one limb that can do its office, be pronounced alive '' What heightened the tragi-comedy of this market for annuities was, that the observation of it provoked Monoculus (who is the most eloquent of all men) to many excellent reflections, which he spoke with the vehemence and language both of a gamester and an orator. “When I cast,” said that delightful speaker, my eye upon thee, thou unaccountable Africanus, I cannot but call myself as unaccountable as thou art; for certainly we were born to show what contradictions nature is pleased to form in the same species. Here am I, able to eat, to drink, to sleep, and to do all acts of nature, except begetting my like; and yet, by an unintelligible force of spleen and fancy, I every moment imagine I am dying. It is utter madness in thee to provide for supper; for I will bet you ten to one, you do not live until half an hour after four; and yet I am so distracted as to be in fear every moment, though I will lay ten to three, I drink three pints of burnt claret at your funeral three nights hence. After all, I envy thee; thou who, dying, hast no sense of death, art happier than one in health, who always fears it.” The knight had gone on, but that a third man ended the scene by applauding the knight's eloquence and philosophy, in a laughter too violent for his own constitution, as much as he mocked that of Africanus and Monoculus.
St. James's Coffee-house, July 1.
This day arrived here three mails from Holland, with advices relating to the affairs of the Low-Countries, which say, that the confederate army extends from Louchin, on the causeway between Tournay and Lisle, to Epain, near Mortagne on the Scheld. The marshal Villars remains in his camp at Lens; but it is said, he detached ten thousand men under the command of the chevalier de Luxemburg, with orders to form a camp at Crepin on the Haine, between Conde and St. Guillain, where he is to be joined by the elector of Bavaria with a body of troops, and after their conjunction, to attempt to march into Brabant. But they write from Brussels, that the duke of Marlborough having it equally in his power to make detachments to the same parts, they are under no apprehensions from these reports for the safety of their country. They further add from Brussels, that they have good authority for believing that the French troops, under the conduct of the marshal de Bezons, are retiring out of Spain.
It may be thought very unaccountable, that I, who can never be supposed to go to White's, should pretend to talk to you of matters proper for, or in the style of that place. But though I never visit these public haunts, I converse with those who do; and for all they pretend so much to the contrary, they are as talkative as our sex, and as much at a loss to entertain the present company, without sacrificing the last, as we ourselves. This reflection has led me into the consideration of the use of steech; and made me look over in my memory, all my acquaintance of both sexes, to know to which I may more justly impute the sin of superfluous discourse in regard to conversation, without entering into it, as it respects religion.
I foresee my acquaintance will, immediately upon starting this subject, ask me how I shall celebrate Mrs. Alse Copswood, the Yorkshire huntress, who is come to town lately, and moves as if she were on her nag, and going to take a five-bar gate ; and is as loud as if she were fol. lowing her dogs 2 I can easily answer that; for she is as soft as Damon, in comparison of her brother-in-law, Tom Bellfrey, who is the most accomplished man in this kingdom for all gentleman-like activities and accomplishments. It is allowed, that he is a professed enemy to the Italian performers in music. But then for our own native manner, according to the customs and known usage of our island, he is to be preferred, for the generality of the pleasure he be. stows, much before those fellows, though they sing to full theatres. For what is a theatrical voice to that of a fox-hunter I have been at a musical entertainment in an open field, where it amazed me to hear to what pitches the chief masters would reach. There was a meeting near our seat in Staffordshire, and the most eminent of all the counties of England were at
it. How wonderful was the harmony between men and dogs : Robin Cartail of Bucks was to answer to Jowler; Mr. Tinbreast of Cornwall was appointed to open with Sweetlips, and beau Slimber, a Londoner, undertook to keep up with Trips, a whelp just set in : Tom Bellfrey and Ringwood were coupled together, to fill the cry on all occasions, and be in at the death of the fox, hare, or stag ; for which, both the dog and the man were excellently suited, and loved one another, and were as much together as Banister and King. When Jowler first alarmed the field, Cartail repeated every note ; Sweetlip's treble succeeded, and shook the wood; Tinbreast echoed a quarter of a mile beyond it. We were soon, after all, at a loss, until we rode up and found Trips and Slimber at a desault in half notes; but the day and the tune was recovered by Tom Bellfrey and Ringwood, to the great joy of us all, though they drowned every other voice: for Bellfrey carries a note four furlongs, three rods, and six paces, farther than any other in England. I fear the mention of this will be thought a digression from my purpose about speech ; but I answer, no. Since this is used where speech rather should be employed, it may come into consideration in the same chapter: for Mr. Bellfrey being at a visit where I was, viz. at his cousin's (Lady Dainty's) in Soho-square, was asked, what entertainments they had in the country 7 Now, Belfrey is very ignorant, and much a clown ; but confident withal. In a word, he struck up a fox-chase; lady Dainty's dog, Mr. Sippet, as she calls him, started, jumped out of his lady's lap, and fell a-barking. Bellfrey went on, and called all the neighbouring parish into the square. Never was woman in such confusion as that delicate lady. But there was no stopping her kinsman. A room full of ladies sell into the most violent laughter: my lady looked as if she was shrieking : Mr. Sippet in the middle of the room, breaking his heart with barking, but all of us unheard. As soon as Bellfrey became silent, up gets my lady, and takes him by the arm, to lead him off; Bellfrey was in his boots. As she was hurrying him away, his spurs take hold of her petticoat; his whip throws down a cabinet of china; he cries, ‘What are your crocks rotten ? are your petticoats ragged 2 a man cannot walk in your house for trincums." Every county of Great Britain has one hundred or more of this sort of sellows, who roar instead of speaking. Therefore if it be true, that we women are also given to a greater fluency of words than is necessary, sure, she that disturbs but a room or family, is more to be tolerated, than one who draws together whole parishes and counties, and sometimes (with an estate that might make him the blessing and ornament of the world around him) has no other view and ambition, but to be an animal above dogs and horses, without the relish of any one enjoyment which is peculiar to the faculties of human nature. I know it will here be said, that talking of mere country squires at this rate, is, as it were, to write against Valentine and Orson. To prove any thing against the race of men, you must take them as they are adorned with education; as they live in courts, or have received instructions in colleges.
But I am so full of my late entertainment by Mr. Bellfrey, that I must defer pursuing this subject to another day; and wave the proper observations on the different offenders in this kind, some by profound eloquence on small occasions, others by degrading speech upon great circumstances. Expect, therefore, to hear of the whisperer without business, the laugher without wit, the counplainer without receiving injuries, and a very large crowd, which I shall not forestall, who are common (though not commonly observed) impertinents, whose tongues are too valuable for their brains, and are the general despisers of us women, though we have their superiors, men of sense, for our serwants.
* # * * *
Will's Coffee-house, July 3.
A very ingenious gentleman was complaining this evening, that the players are grown so severe critics, that they would not take in his play, though it has as many fine things in it as any play that has been writ since the days of Dryden. He began his discourse about his play with a preface.
“There is,' said he, “Somewhat (however we palliate it) in the very frame and make of us, that subjects our minds to chagrin and irresolution on any emergency of time or place. The difficulty grows on our sickened imagination, under all the killing circumstances of danger and disappointment. This we see, not only in the men of retirement and fancy, but in the characters of the men of action; with this only difference, the coward sees the danger, and sickens under it; the hero, warmed by the difficulty, dilates, and rises in proportion to that, and in some sort makes use of his very fears to disarm it. A remarkable instance of this we have in the great C , when he came to the Rubicon, and was entering upon a part, perhaps the most hazardous he ever bore (certainly the most ungrateful) a war with his countrymen. When his mind brooded o'er personal affronts, perhaps his anger burned with a desire of revenge. But when more serious reflections laid before him the hazard of the enterprise, with the dismal consequences which were like to attend it, aggravated by a special circumstance, “What figure it would bear in the world, or how be excused to posterity: What shall he do *" His honour, which was his religion, bids him arm ; and he sounds the inclinations of his party, by this set speech:
Brave actions dazzle with too bright a ray;
St. James's Coffee-house, July 4.
There has arrived no mail since our last; so that we have no manner of foreign news, except we were to give you for such, the many speculations which are on foot concerning what was imported by the last advices. There are, it seems, sixty battalions and seventeen squadrons appointed to serve in the siege of Tournay; the garrison of which place consists of but eleven battalions and four squadrons. Letters of the twenty-ninth of the last month from Berlin, have brought advice, that the kings of Denmark and Prussia, and his majesty Augustus, were, within few days, to come to an interview at Potsdam. These letters mention, that two Polish princes, of the family of Sapieha and Lubermirsky, lately arrived from Paris, confirm the reports of the misery in France for want of provisions, and give a particular instance of it; which is, that on the day monsieur Rouille returned to court, the common people gathered in crowds about the dauphin's coach, crying, “Peace and bread, bread and peace.”
Mrs. Distaff has taken upon her, while she writes this paper, to turn her thoughts wholly to the service of her own sex, and to propose remedies against the greatest vexations attending female life. She has for this end written a small treatise concerning the Second Word, with an appendix on the use of a Reply, very proper for all such as are married to persons either ill-bred, or ill-natured. There is in this tract a digression for the use of virgins, concerning the words, I Will.
A gentlewoman who has a very delicate ear, wants a maid who can whisper, and help her in the government of her family. If the said servant can clear-starch, lisp, and tread softly, she shall have suitable encouragement in her wages.
No. 38.] Thursday, July 7, 1709.
BY MRS, JENNY DISTAFF, HALF-SISTER TO Mirr. bick ERSTAFF.
From my own Apartment, July 6.
I Find among my brother's papers the fol. lowing letter, verbatim, which I wonder how he could suppress so long as he has, since it was sent him for no other end, but to show the good effect his writings have already had upon the ill customs of the age.
London, June 23.
‘SIR,-The end of all public papers ought to be the benefit and instruction, as well as the diversion of the readers: to which I see none so truly conducive as your late performances; especially those tending to the rooting out from among us, that unchristian-like and bloody custom of duelling; which, that you have already in some measure performed, will appear to the public in the following no less true than heroic story. “A noble gentleman of this city, who has the honour of serving his country as major of the trainbands, being at the general mart of stockjobbers, called Jonathan's, endeavouring to raise imself (as all men of honour ought) to the degree of colonel at least; it happened that he bought the bear of another officer, who, though not commissioned in the army, yet no less eminently serves the public than the other, in raising the credit of the kingdom, by raising that of the stocks. However, having sold the bear, and words arising about the delivery, the most noble major, no less scorning to be outwitted in the coffee-house, than to run into the field according to method, abused the other with the titles of rogue, villain, bearskin-man, and the like. Whereupon satisfaction was demanded, and accepted; so, forth the major marched, commanding his adversary to follow. To a most spacious room in the sheriff's house, near the place of quarrel, they come; where, having due regard to what you have lately published, they resolved not to shed one another's blood in that barbarous manner you prohibited; yet, not willing to put up affronts without satisfac. tion, they stripped, and, in decent manner, fought full fairly with their wrathful hands. The combat lasted a quarter of an hour; in which time victory was often doubtful, and many a dry blow was strenuously laid on by each side, until the major, finding his adversary obstinate, unwilling to give him further chastisement, with most shrill voice cried out, “I am satisfied, enough '" Whereupon the combat ceased, and both were friends immediately. “Thus the world may see, how necessary it is to encourage those men, who make it their business to instruct the people in every thing necessary for their preservation. I am informed, a body of worthy citizens have agreed on an address of thanks to you, for what you have writ on the foregoing subject, whereby they acknowledge one of their highly esteemed officers preserved from death.-Your humble Servant- A. B."
I fear the word bear is hardly to be under. stood among the polite people; but I take the meaning to be, that one who insures a real value upon an imaginary thing, is said to sell a hear, and is the same thing as a promise among courtiers, or a vow between lovers. I have writ to my brother to hasten to town; and hope that printing the letters directed to him,
which I know not how to answer, will bring him speedily ; and, therefore, I add also the following:
* July 5, 1709.
‘MR. Bickerstaff, You have hinted a generous intention of taking under your consideration the whisperers without business, and laughers without occasion; as you tender the welfare of your country, I entreat you not to forget or delay so public-spirited a work. Now or never is the time. Many other calamities may cease with the war; but I dismally dread the multiplication of these mortals under the case and luxuriousness of a settled peace, half the blessing of which may be destroyed by them. Their mistake lies certainly here, in a wretched belief, that their mimicry passes for real business, or true wit. Dear sir, convince them, that it never was, is, or ever will be, either of them; nor ever did, does, or to all futurity ever can, look like either of them ; but that it is the most cursed disturbance in nature, which is possible to be inflicted on mankind, under the noble definition of a sociable creature. In doing this, sir, you will oblige more humble servants than can find room to subscribe their names.’
White's Chocolate-house, July 6.
In pursuance to my last date from hence, I am to proceed on the accounts I promised of several personages among the men, whose conspicuous fortunes, or ambition in showing their follies, have exalted them above their fellows. The levity of their minds is visible in their every word and gesture, and there is not a day passes but puts me in mind of Mr. Wycherley's character of a coxcomb : ‘He is ugly all over with the affectation of the fine gentleman.” Now though the women may put on softness in their looks, or affected severity, or impertinent gaiety, or pert smartness, their self-love and admiration cannot, under any of these disguises, appear so invincible as that of the men. You may easily take notice, that in all their actions there is a secret approbation, either in the tone of their voice, the turn of their body, or cast of their eye, which shows that they are extremely in their own favour.
Take one of your men of business, he shall keep you half an hour with your hat off, entertaining you with his consideration of that affair you spoke of to him last, until he has drawn a crowd that observes you in this grimace. Then, when he is public enough, he immediately runs into secrets, and falls a-whispering. You and he make breaks with adverbs; as, “But however, thus far;' and then you whisper again, and so on, until they who are about you are dispersed, and your busy man's vanity is no longer gratified by the notice taken of what importance he is, and how inconsiderable you are; for your pretender to business is never in secret, but in public.
There is my dear lord Nowhere, of all men the most gracious and most obliging, the terror of valets de chambre, whom he oppresses with good-breeding, by inquiring for my good lord, and for my good lady's health. This inimitable