« PreviousContinue »
the lawsuit about the summit of Parnassus, (which yet had many pretenders to it) that the air was so bleak there, and the ground so barren, that it would certainly starve the possessor. I fear my obstinacy in this particular broke my mother's heart, who died a short time after, and was soon followed by my father. “I now found myself at liberty, and notwithstanding the opposition of a great many rivals, I won and enjoyed Polyhymnia. Our amour was known to the whole country, and all who saw, extolled the beauty of my mistress, and pronounced me happy in the possession of so many charms. We lived in great splendour and gayety, I being persuaded that high living was necessary to keep up my reputation, and the beauty of my mistress; from whom I had daily expectations given me of a post in the government, or some lavish present from the great men of our commonwealth. I was so proud of my partner, that I was perpetually bringing company to see her, and was a little tiresome to my acquaintance, by talking continually of her several beauties. She herself had a most exalted conceit of her charms, and often invited the ladies to ask their opinions of her dress; which if they disapproved in any particular, she called them a pack of envious insipid things, and ridiculed them in all companies. She had a delicate set of teeth, which appeared most to advantage when she was angry; and therefore she was very often in a passion. By this imprudent behaviour, when we had run out of our money, we had no living soul to befriend us; and every body cried out, it was a judgment upon me for being a slave to such a proud minx, such a conceited hussy. ' “I loved her passionately, and exclaimed against a blind and injudicious world. Besides I had several children by her, and was likely still to have more; for I always thought the youngest the most beautiful. I must not forget that a certain great lord offered me a considerable sum in my necessity, to have the reputation of fathering one of them ; but I rejected his offer with disdain. In order to support her family and vanities, she carried me to Athens; where she put me upon a hundred pranks to get money. Sometimes she dressed me in an antique robe, and placed a diadem on my head, and made me gather a mob about me by talking in a blustering tone, and unintelligible language. Sometimes she made me foam at the mouth, roll my eyes, invoke the gods, and act a sort of madness which the Athenians call the Pindarism. At another time she put a sheephook into my hand, and drove me round my garret, calling it the plains of Arcadia. When these projects failed, she gave out, with good success, that I was an old astrologer; after that a dumb man; and last of all she made me pass for a lion. “It may seem strange, that after so tedious a slavery, I should ever get my freedom. But so it happened, that during the three last transformations, I grew acquainted with the lady Sophia, whose superior charins cooled my passion for Polyhymnia; insomuch that some envious dull fellows gave it out, my mistress had jilted and left me. But the slanders of my
‘MR. Ironside,-I came very early this morning to rouse your lion, thinking it the properest time to offer him trash when his stomach was empty and sharp set; and being informed, too, that he is so very modest, as to be shy of swallowing any thing before much company, and not without some other politic views, the principal of which was, that his digestion being then the most keen and vigorous, it might probably refine this raw piece from several of its crudities, and so make it proper food for his master; for as great princes keep their taster, so I perceive you keep your digester, having an appetite peculiarly turned for delicacies. If a fellow-feeling and similitude of employment are any motives to engage your attention, I may for once promise myself a favourable hearing. By the account you have given us of the Sparkler, and your other female wards, I am pretty confident you cannot be a stranger to the many great dif: ficulties there are in weaning a young lady's inclination from a frolic which she is fully bent upon. I am guardian to a young heiress, whose conduct I am more than ordinary solicitous to keep steady in the slippery age we live in. must confess miss hath hitherto been very tractable and toward, considering she is an heiress, and now unon the brink of fifteen : but here of late Tom Whirligig has so turned her head with the gallantries of a late masquerade, (which no doubt Tom, according to his usual vivacity, set forth in all its gayest colours) that the young creature has been perfectly giddy ever since, and so set agog with the thoughts of it, that I am teased to death by her importuning me to let her go to the next. In the mean time, I have surprised her more than once or twice very busy in pulling all her clothes to pieces, in order to make up a strange dress, and with much ado have reprieved them from her merciless scis. sors. Now you must understand, old Iron, I am very loth to trust her all alone into such an ocean of temptations. I have made use of all manner of dissuasives to her, and have sufficiently demonstrated to her, that the devil first addressed himself to Eve in a mask, and that we owe the loss of our first happy state to a masquerade, which that sly intriguer made in the garden, where he seduced her; but she does not at all regard all this; the passion of curiosity is as predominant in her as ever it was in her predecessor. Therefore I appeal, sage Nestor, to your experienced age, whether these nocturnal assemblies have not a bad tendency, to give a loose turn to a young lady's imagination. For the being in disguise takes away the usual checks and restraints of modesty; and conse. quently the beaux do not blush to talk wantonly, nor the belles to listen; the one as greedily sucks in the poison, as the other industriously infuses it; and I am apt to think too, that the ladies might possibly forget their own selves in such strange dresses, and do that in a personated character which may stain their real ones. A young milk-maid may indulge herself in the innocent freedom of a green gown; and a shep. herdess, without thinking any harm, may lie down with a shepherd on a mossy-bank; and all this while poor Sylvia may be so far lost in the pleasing thoughts of her new romantic attire, and Damon's soft endearing language, as never once to reflect who she is, until the romance is completed. Besides, do but consider, dear Nestor, when a young lady's spirits are fermented with sparkling champaign, her heart opened and dilated by the attractive gayety of every thing about her, her soul melted away by the soft airs of music, and the gentle powers of motion; in a word, the whole woman dissolved in a luxury of pleasure; I say, in such critical circumstances, in such unguarded moments, how easy is it for a young thing to be led aside by her stars. Therefore, good Mr. Ironside, set your lion a roaring against these dangerous as‘Tilt-yard Coffee-house. “Old TEsty, Your gray hairs for once shall be your protection, and this billet a fair warning to you for your audacious raillery upon the digrity of long swords. Look to it for the future; consider we brothers of the blade are men of a “long reach:” think betimes,
semblies: I can assure you, one good loud roar.
will be sufficient to deter my ward from them, for she is naturally mighty fearful, and has been always used from her childhood to be frightened into good behaviour. And it may prove, too, some benefit to yourself in the management of your own females, who, if they are not already, I do not at all question, but they will be very shortly gadding after these midnight gambols. Therefore, to promote your own peace and quietness, as well as mine, and the safety of all }. virgins, pray order your lion to exert his oudest notes against masquerades; I am sure it would be a perfect concert to all good mothers, and particularly charm the ears of your faithful friend and companion, “OLD RUSTISIDES."
“Most worthy SIR,-Being informed that the Eveites daily increase, and that fig-leaves are shortly coming into fashion; I have hired me a piece of ground, and planted it with fig-trees,
the soil being naturally productive of them. I hope, good sir, you will so far encourage my new project, as to acquaint the ladies, that I have now by me a choice collection of fig-leaves of all sorts and sizes, of a delicate texture, and a lovely bright verdure, beautifully scolloped at the extremities, and most curiously wrought with variety of slender fibres, ranged in beautiful meanders and windings. I have some very cool ones for summer, so transparently thin, that you may see through them, and others of a thicker substance for winter; I have likewise some very small ones, of a particular species, for little misses. So that I do not question but to give general satisfaction to all ladies whatsoever, that please to repair to me at the sign of the Adam and Eve, near Cupid's gardens. If you will favour me with the insertion of this in your Guardian, I will make your favourite, the Sparkler, a present of some of the choicest figleaves I have, and lay before her feet the primitiae of my new garden; and if you bring me a great many customers for my leaves, I promise you my figs shall be at your service. I am, worthy sir, your worship's most obedient humble servant, • ANTHONY EVERGREEN.
Notwithstanding the levity of the pun which is in the second line of my motto, the subject I am going upon is of the most serious consequence, and concerns no less than the peace and quiet, and (for aught I know) the very life and safety, of every inoffensive and well-disposed inhabitant of this city. Frequent complaints have been made to me, by men of discretion and sobriety, in most of the coffee-houses from St. James's to Jonathan's, that there is sprung up of late a very numerous race of young fellows about the town, who have the confidence to walk the streets, and come into all public places in open day-light, with swords of such immoderate length, as strike terror into a great many of her majesty's good subjects. Besides this, half a dozen of this fraternity in a room or a narrow street, are is inconvenient as so many turnstiles, because you can pass neither backward nor forward, until you have first put their weapons aside. When Jack Lizard made his first trip to town from the university, he thought he could never bring up with him too much of the
gentleman; this I soon perceived in the first visit he made me, when I remember, he came scraping in at the door, encumbered with a bar of cold iron so irksomely long, that it banged against his calf, and jarred upon his right heel, as he walked, and came rattling behind him as he ran down the stairs. But his sister Annabella's raillery soon cured him of this awkward air, by telling him that his sword was only fit for going up stairs, or walking up hill, and that she shrewdly suspected he had stolen it out of the college kitchen. But to return to the public grievance of this city; it is very remarkable, that these ‘brothers of the blade' began to appear upon the first suspension of arms; and that since the conclusion of the peace the order is very much increased, both as to the number of the men, and the size of their weapons. I am informed, that these men of preposterous bravery, who affect a military air in a profound peace, and dare to look terrible amongst their friends and fellow-citizens, have formed a plan to erect themselves into a society, under the name of the Terrible
Club; and that they entertain hopes of getting
the great armoury-hall in the tower for their clubroom. Upon this I have made it my business to inquire more particularly into the cabals of these Hectors; and by the help of my lion, I have got such informations as will enable me to countermine their designs, together with a copy of some fundamental articles drawn up by three of their ringleaders; the which it seems are to be augmented and assented to by the rest of the gang, on the first of January next, (if not timely prevented) at a general meeting in the swordcutlers’ hall. I shall at present (to let them see that they are not unobserved) content myself with publishing only the said articles.
Articles to be agreed upon by the Members of - the Terrible Club.
Imprimis, That the club do meet at midnight 1n the great armoury-hall in the tower, (if leave can be obtained) the first Monday in every month.
II. That the president be seated upon a drum at the upper end of the table, accoutred with a helmet, a basket-hilt sword, and a buff belt.
III. That the president be always obliged to provide, for the first and standing dish of the club, a pasty of bull beef, baked in a target made for that purpose.
IV. That the mombers do cut their mcat with
bayonets instead of knives.
W. That every member do sit to the table, and cat with his hat, his sword, and his gloves on.
VI. That there be no liquor drank but rackpunch, quickened with brandy and gunpowder.
VII. That a large mortar be made use of for a punch-bowl.
In all appearance it could be no other than a member of this club, who came last week to Button's, and sat over-arrainst the lion with such a settled fierceness in his countenance, as if he came to vie with that allinal in sternness of looks. His stature was somewhat low ; his motions quick and smart, and might be mistaken for startings and convulsions. He wore a broad
stiff hat, cudgel-proof, with an edging three fingers deep, trussed up into the fierce trooper's cock. To this was added a dark wig, very moderately curled, and tied in two large knots up to his ears; his coat was short, and rich in tarnished lace; his nostrils and his upper lip were all begrimmed with snuff. At first I was in hopes the gentleman's friends took care not to intrust him with any weapon; until looking down, I could perceive a sword of a most unwarrantable size, that hung carelessly below his knee, with two large tassels at the hilt, that played about his ankles. I must confess I cannot help shrewdly suspecting the courage of the Terribles. I beg pardon if I am in the wrong when I think, that the long sword, and the swaggering cock, are the ordinary disguises of a faint heart. These men while they think to impose terror upon others, do but render themselves contemptible; their very dress tells you that they are surrounded with fears, that they live in Hobbs's state of nature, and that they are never free from apprehensions. I dare say, if one were to look into the hearts of these champions, one should find there a great tendency to go cased in armour, and that nothing but the fear of a stronger ridicule restrains them from it. A brave man scorns to wear any thing that may give him an advantage over his neighbour; his great glory is neither to fear, nor to be feared. I remember, when I was abroad, to have seen a buffoon in an opera, whose excessive cowardice never failed to set the whole audience into a loud laughter; but the scene which seemed to divert them most, was that in which he came on with a sword that reached quite across the stage, and was put to flight by an adversary, whose stature was not above four feet high, and whose weapon was not three feet long. This brings to my mind what I have formerly read of a king of Arabia, who showing a rich sword, that had been presented to him, his courtiers unanimously gave their opinion, that it had no other fault, but that of being too short; upon which the king's son said, that there was no weapon too short for a brave man, since there needed no more but to advance one step to make . it long enough. To this I shall subjoin, by way of corollary, that there is no weapon long enough for a coward, who never thinks himself secure while he is within sight of his adversary's point. I would therefore advise these men of distant courage, as they tender their honour, to shorten their dimensions, and reduce their tilters to a more reputable, as well as a more portable size.
No. 141.] Wednesday, August 26, 1713.
Sua cuique qu'un sit animi goritatio,
Every man has his peculiar way of thinking and acting.
It is a very just, and a common observation upon the natives of this island, that in their different degrees, and in their several professions and employments, they abound as much and perhaps more, in good sense than any people; and yet, at the same time there is scarce an
Englishman of any life and spirit, that has not some odd cast of thought, some original humour that distinguishes him from his neighbour. Hence it is that our comedies are enriched with such a diversity of characters, as is not to be seen upon any other theatre in Europe. Even in tie masquerades that have been lately given to the town (though they are diversions we are not accustomed to) the singularities of dress were carried much farther than is usual in foreign countries, where the natives are trained up, as it were, from their infancy to those amusements. The very same measure of understanding, the very same accomplishments, the very same defects, shall, amongst us, appear under a quite different aspect in one man, to what they do in another. This makes it as impracticable to foreigners to enter into a thorough knowledge of the English, as it would be to learn the Chinese language, in which there is a different character for every individual word. I know not how to explain this vein of humour so obvious in my countrymen, better than by comparing it to what the French call Le gout du terroir in wines, by which they mean the different flavour one and the same grape shall draw from the different soils in which it is planted. This national mark is visible amongst us in every rank and degree of men, from the persons of the first quality and politest sense, down to the rudest and most ignorant of the people. Every me. chanic has a peculiar cast of head and turn of wit, or some uncommon whim, as a characteristic that distinguishes him from others of his trade, as well as from the multitudes that are upon a level with him. We have a small-coal. man, who from beginning with two plain notes, which made up his daily cry, has made himself master of the whole compass of the gamut, and has frequent concerts of music at his own house, for the entertaintment of himself and his friends. There is a person of great hospitality, who lives in a plastered cottage upon the road to Hamp. stead, and gets a superfluity of wealth, by accommodating holiday passengers with ale, brandy, pipes, tobacco, cakes, gingerbread, apples, pears, and other small refreshments of life; and on worky-days takes the air in his chaise, and recreates himself with the elegant pleasures of the beaumonde. The shining men amongst our mob, dignified by the title of ringleaders, have an inexhaustible fund of archness and raillery; as likewise have our sailors and watermen. Our very street-beggars are not without their pecu. liar oddities, as the schoolmen term them. The other day a tattered wag followed me across the Mews with ‘one farthing or halfpenny, good your honour, do your honour; and I shall make bold to pray for you.’ Shakspeare (who was a great copier of nature) whenever he introduces any artisans or low characters into his plays, never fails to dash
them strongly with some distinguishing strain
of humour, as may be seen more remarkably in the scene of the grave-diggers in Hamlet. Though this singularity of temper, which runs through the generality of us, may make us seen whimsical to strangers; yet it furnishes out a perpetual change of entertainment to ourselves, and diversifies all our conversations with
such a variety of mirth, as is not to be met with in any other country. Sir William Temple, in his Essay upon Poetry, endeavours to account for the British humours in the following manner: ‘This may proceed from the native plenty of our soil, the unequalness of our climate, as well as the ease of our government, and the liberty of professing opinions and factions, which perhaps our neighbours have about them, but are forced to disguise, and thereby may come in time to be extinguished. Thus we come to have more originals, and more that appear what they are. We have more humour, because every man follows his own, and takes a pleasure, perhaps a pride, to show it. On the contrary, where the people are generally poor, and forced to hard labour, their actions and lives are all of a piece. Where they serve hard masters, they must fol. low their examples, as well as commands, and are forced upon imitation in small inatters, as well as obedience in great: so that some nations look as if they were cast all by one mould, or cut out all by one pattern, at least the common people in one, and the gentlemen in another. They seem all of a sort in their habits, their customs, and even their talk and conversation, as well as in the application and pursuit of their actions, and their lives. Besides all this, there is another sort of variety amongst us, which arises from our climate, and the dispositions it naturally produces. We are not only more unlike one another, than any nation I know; but we are more unlike ourselves too, at several times, and owe to our very air some ill qualities, as well as many good.’ Ours is the only country, perhaps, in the whole world, where every man, rich and poor, dares to have a humour of his own, and to avow it upon all occasions. I make no doubt, but that it is to this great freedom of temper, and this unconstrained manner of living, that we owe in a great measure, the number of shining geniuses, which rise up amongst us from time to time, in the several arts and sciences, for the service and for the ornament of life. This frank and generous disposition in a people, will likewise never fail to keep up in their uninds an aversion to slavery, and be, as it were, a standing bulwark of their liberties. So long as ever wit and humour continue, and the generality of us will have their own way of thinking, speaking, and acting, this nation is not like to give any quarter to an invader, and much less to bear with the absurditics of popery, in exchange for an established and a reasonable faith.
ous resentment of a coxcomb that vents his indignation with an insipid pertness. In either of these two lights I think it may divert my readers, for which reason I shall make no scru. ple to comply with the gentleman's request, and make his letter public.
“How many perils do environ
It has always been held dangerous to play with edge-tools. I grant you, we men of valour are but awkward jesters; we know not how to repay joke for joke; but then we always make up in point what we want in wit. He that shall rashly attempt to regulate our hilts, or reduce our blades, had need to have a heart of oak, as well as “sides of iron.” Thus much for the present. In the mean time, Bilbo is the word, remember
that, and tremble. • THO. SWAGGER."
This jocose manner of bullwing an old man, so long as it affords some entertainment to my friends, is what I shall not go about to discourage. However, my witty antagonist must give me leave, since he attacks me in proverbs, to exchange a thrust or two with him at the same weapons; and so let me tell Mr. Swagger, “There is no catching old birds with chaff;' and that ‘Brag is a good dog, but Hold-fast is a bet. ter.’ ‘Fore-warned, fore-armed.' Having des. patched this combatant, and given him as good as he brings, I proceed to exhibit the case of a person who is the very reverse of the former : the which he lays before me in the following epistle :
“Worthy Sir, I am the most unfortunate of men, if you do not speedily interpose with your authority in behalf of a gentleman, who, by his own example, has for these six months endeavoured, at the peril of his life, to bring little swords into fashion, in hopes to prevail upon the gentry by that means (winning them over inch by inch) to appear without any swords at all. It was my misortune to call in at Tom's last night, a little fuddled, where I happened only to point towards an odd fellow with a nonstrous sword, that made a ring round him as he turned upon his heel to speak to one or other in the room. Upon this peccadillo, the bloody. minded villain has sent me a challenge this morning. I tremble at the very thought of it, and am sick with the apprehension of seeing that weapon naked, which terrified me in the scabbard. The unconscionable ruffian desires, in the most civil terms, he may have the honour of measuring swords with me. Alas, sir, mine is not (hilt and all) above a foot and a hals. I take the liberty of inclosing it to you in my wig-box, and shall be eternally obliged to you,
Good MR. Bodkin, The perusal of this paper will give you to understand, that your letter, together with the little implement you sent me in the band-box, came safe to my hands. From the dimensions of it I perceive your courage lies in a narrow compass. Suppose you should send this bravo the fellow to it, and desire him to meet you in a closet, letting him know at the same time, that you fight all your duels under lock and key, for the sake of privacy. But if this proposal seems a little too rash, I shall send my servant with your sword to the person of: fended, and give him instructions to tell him you are a little purblind, and dare not for that reason trust to a longer weapon, and that an inch in his body will do your business as well as an ell. Or, if you would have me proceed yet more cautiously, my servant shall let him know, as from me, that he should meddle with his match; and that alone, if he be a man of honour, will make him reflect; if otherwise, (as I am very inclinable to doubt it) you need give yourself no farther unnecessary fears; but rely upon the truth of my remarks upon the terribles. I have bethought myself of one expedient more for you, which seems to be the most likely to succeed. Send your own servant to wait upon the gentleman: let him carry with him your sword and a letter, in which you tell him, that, admiring the magnificence and grandeur of his weapon at Tom's, you thought it great pity so gallant a cavalier should not be completely arined; for which reason you humbly request, that you may have the honour of presenting him with a dagger. I am, sir, your faithful servant, NESTOR II&ONSIDE.
I received a letter last week from one of my female wards, who subscribes herself Teraminta. She seems to be a lady of great delicacy, by the concern she shows for the loss of a small covering, which the generality of the sex have laid aside. She is in pain, and full of those fears which are natural in a state of virginity, lest any, the smallest part of her linen, should be in the possession of a man. In compliance therefore with her request, and to gratify her modesty so far as lies in my power, I have given orders to my printer to make room for her advertisement in this day's paper.
- Anventisp...Mr. Nr.
August 10. “Whereas, a modesty-piece was lost at the masquerade last Monday night, being the seventeenth instant, between the hours of twelve awd one, the author of this paper gives notice, that if any person will put it into the hands of Mr. Daniel Button, to be returned to the owner, it shall, by her be acknowledged as the last favour, and no questions asked.
‘N. B. It is of no use but to the owner.”