Page images

ing-glass, so that I am vain enough to think I was as perfect in my part as most who had of. tener frequented those diversions. You must understand I personated a devil, and that for several weighty reasons. First, because appearing as one of that fraternity, I expected to meet with particular civilities from the more polite and better-bred part of the company. Besides, as from their usual reception, they are called familiars, I fancied I should in this character be allowed the greatest liberties, and soonest be led into the secrets of the masquerade. To recommend and distinguish me from the vulgar, I drew a very long tail after me. But to speak the truth, what persuaded me most to this disguise was, because I heard an intriguing lady say, in a large company of females, who unanimously assented to it, that she loved to converse with such, for that generally they were very clever fellows who made choice of that shape. At length, when the long-wished-for evening came, which was to open to us such vast scenes of pleasure, I repaired to the place appointed about ten at night, where I found nature turned topsy-turvy, women changed into men, and men into women, children in leading-strings seven feet high, courtiers transformed into clowns, ladies of the night into saints, people of the first quality into beasts or birds, gods or goddesses. I fancied I had all Ovid's Metamorphoses before me. Among these were several monsters to which I did not know how to give a name; “worse Than fables yet have feigned, or far conceived, Gorgons, and hydras, and chimeras dire.” . Milton. “In the middle of the first room, I met with one drest in a shroud. This put me in nind of the old custom of serving up a death's head at a feast. I was a little angry at the dress, and asked the gentleman whether he thonght a dead man was fit company for such an assembly; but he told me that he was one who loved his money, and that he considered this dress would serve him amother time. This walking coarsewas followed by a gigantic woman with a highcrowned hat, that stood up like a steeple'over the heads of the whole assembly. I then chanced to tread upon the foot of a female quaker, to all outward appearance; but was surprised to hear her cry out, “D–n you, you son of a -s” upon which I, immediately rebuked her, when all of a sudden, resuming her character, “Veri. ly,” says she, “I was to blame; but thou hast bruised me sorely.” A few moments aster this adventure, I had like to have been knocked down by a shepherdess, for having run my el. bow a little inadvertently into one of her sides. She swore like a trooper, and threatened me with a very masculine voice; but I was timely taken off by a presbyterian parson, who told me in a very soft tone, that he believed I was a pretty fellow, and that he would meet me in Spring. gardens to-morrow night. The next object I saw was a chimney-sweeper made up of black crape and velvet, with a huge diamond in his mouth, making love to a butterfly. On a sud. den I found myself among a flock of bats, owls, and lawyers. But what took up my attention

* Corpse.


most, was one dressed in white feathers that represented a swan. He would fain have found out a Leda among the fair sex, and indeed was the most unlucky bird in the company. I was then engaged in a discourse with a runningfootman; but as I treated him like what he appearcd to be, a Turkish emperor whispered me in the ear, desiring one “to use him civilly, for that it was his master.” I was here interrupted

by the famous large figure of a woman hung.

with little looking-glasses. She had a great many that followed her as she passed by me, but I would not have her value herself upon that account, since it was plain they did not follow so much to look upon her as to see themselves. The next I observed was a nun making an assignation with a heathen god; for I heard them mention the Little Piazza in Covent-garden. I was by this time exceeding hot and thirsty; so that I inade the best of my way to the place where wine was dealt about in great quantities. I had no sooner presented myself before the table, but a magician seeing me, made a circle over my head with his wand, and seemed to do me homage. I was at a loss to account for his behaviour, until I recollected who I was; this however drew the eyes of the servants upon me, and immediately procured me a glass of excellent Champaign. The magician said I was a spirit of an adust and dry constitution; and desired that I might have another refreshing glass: adding withal, that it ought to be a brimmer. I took it in my hand, and drank it off to the magician. This so enlivened me, that I led him by the hand into the next room, where we danced a rigadoon together. I was here a little offended at a jackananes of a scaramouch, that cried out, “Avaunt Satan;” and gave me a little tap on my left shoulder with the end of his lath sword. As I was considering how I ought to resent this

offront, a well-shaped person that stood at my

left-hand, in the figure of a bell-man, cried out with a suitable voice, “Past twelve o'clock.” This put me in mind of bed-time. Accordingly I made my way towards the door, but was intercepted by an Indian king, a tall, slender youth, dressed up in a most beautiful party-coloured plumage. He regarded my habit very attentively, and aster having turned me about once or twice, asked me “whom I had been tempting " I conlú not tell what was the matter with me, but my heart leaped as soon as he touched me, and was still in greater disorder,

upon my hearing his voice. In short, I found .

after a little discourse with him, that his Indian majesty was my dear Leonora, who knowing the disguise I had put on, would not let me pass by her unobserved. Her awkward manliness made me guess at her sex, and her own confession quickly let me know the rest. This masquerade did more for me than a twelvermonth's courtship : for it inspired her with such tender

sentiments, that I married her the next morn

Ang. ‘How happy I shall be in a wise taken out of a masquerade, I cannot yet tell; but I have reason to hope the best, Leonora having assured me it was the first, and shall be the last time of her appearing at such an entertainment. • ‘And now, sir, having given you the history


what really came to p.


of this strange evening, which looks rather like a dream than a reality, it is my request to you, that you will oblige the world with a dissertation on masquerades in general, that we may know how far they are useful to the public, and consequently how far they ought to be encour

aged. I have heard of two or three very odd ac

eidents that have happened upon this occasion, as in particular of a lawyer's being now bigbellied, who was present at the first of these entertainments; not to mention (what is still more strange) an old man with a long beard, who was got with child by a milk-maid. But in cases of this nature, where there is such a confusion of sex, age, and quality, men are apt to report rather what might have happened, than s. Without giving credit therefore to any of these rumours, I shall only renew my petition to you, that you will tell us your opinion at large of these matters, and am, sir, &c. LUCITER,”

, UT

- No. 155.] - Tuesday, September 8, 1713.

— fibelli stoici inter sericosJacene pulvillos annant. IIor. Epod. viii. 15. The books of stoics over chose On Silken cushions to repose. I HAVE often wondered that learning is not thought a proper ingredient in the education of a woman of quality or fortune. Since they have the same improveable minds as the inale part of the species, why should they not be cultivated by the same method Why should reason be left to itself in one of the sexes, and be disciplined with so much care in the other " There are some reasons why learning scems more adapted to the female world, than to the male. As in the first place, because they have more spare time upon their hands, and lead a more sedentary life. Their employments are of a domestic nature, and not like those of the other sex, which are often inconsistent with and contemplation. The excellent lady, the lady Lizard, in the space of one summer, furnished a gallery with chairs and couches of her own and her daughters' working; and at the same time heard all doctor Tillotson's ser. mons twice over. It was always the custom for one of the young ladies to read, while the others are at work; so that the learning of the family

is not at all prejudicial to its manufactures. I

was mightily pleased the other day to find them all busy in preserving several fruits of the season, with the Sparkler in the midst of them, reading over the Plurality of Worlds. It was very entertaining to me to see them dividing their speculations between jellies and stars, and making a sudden transition from the sun to an apricot, or from the Copernican system to the figure of a cheesecake.

A second reason why women should apply themselves to useful knowledge rather than men, is because they have that natural gift of speech in greater perfection. Since they have

, so excellent a talent, such a copia cerharum, or

plenty of words, it is pity they should not put it to some use. If the female tongue will be in motion, why should it not be set to go right !

- - -

Could they discourse about the spots in the sun, it might divert them from publishing the faults of their neighbours. Could they talk of the different aspects and conjunctions of the planets, they need not be at the pains to comment upon oglings and clandestine marriages. In short, were they furnished with matters of fact, out of arts and sciences, it would now and then be a great ease to their invention. There is another reason why those especially who are women of quality, should apply themsclves to letters, namely, because their husbands are generally strangers to them. It is great pity there should be no knowledge in a family. For my own part, I am concerned, when I go into a great house, where perhaps there is not a single person that can spell, unless it be by chance the butler, or one of the footmen. What a figure is the young heir likely to make, who is a dunce both by father and mother's side : If we look into the histories of famous women, we find many eminent philosophers of this sex. Nay, we find that several females have distinguished themselves in those sects of philosophy which seem almost repugnant to their natures. There have been famous female Pythagoreans, notwithstanding most of that philosophy consisted in keeping a secret, and that the disciple was to hold bor tongue five years together. I need not mention Portin, who was a stoic in petticoats; nor Hipparchia, the famous she cynic, who arrived at such a perfection in her studies, that she conversed with her husband, or man-planter, in broad day-light, and in the open streets, Learning and knowledge are perfections in us, not as we are men, but as we are reasonable creatures, in which order of beings the female world is upon the same level with the miale. We ought to consider in this particular, not what is : the sex, but what is the species to which they belong. At least I believe every one will allow me, that a female philosopher is not so absurd a character, and so opposite to the sex, as a female gainester; and that it is more irrational for a woman to pass away half a dozen hours at cards or dice, than in getting up stores of useful learning. This therefore is another reason why I would recommend the studies of knowledge to the female world, that they may not be at a loss how to employ those hours that lie upon their hands, I might also add this motive to my fair readers, that several of their sex who have improved their minds by books and literature, have raised themselves to the highest posts of honour and fortune. A neighbouring nation may at this time furnish us with a very remarkable instance of this kind; but I shall conclude this head with the history of Athenais, which is a very signal example to my present purpose. The emperor Theodosius being about the age of one-and-twenty, and designing to take a wife, desired his sister Pulcheria and his friend Paulinus to search his whole empire for a woman of the most exquisite beauty and highest accomplishments. In the midst of this search, Athenais, a Grecian virgin, accidentally offered herself. Her father, who was an eminent philosopher of Athens, and had bred her up in all the - *


learning of that place, at his death left her but a very small portion, in which also she suffered great hardships from the injustice of her two brothers. This forced her upon a journey to Constantinople, where she had a relation who rcpresented her case to Pulcheria in order to obtain some redress from the emperor. By this means that religious princess became acquainted with Athenais, whom she found the most beautiful woman of her age, and educated under a long course of philosophy in the strictest virtue, and most unspotted innocence. Pulcheria was charmed with her conversation, and immediately made her reports the omperor, her brother Theodosius. The character she gave, made such an impression on him, that he desired his sister to bring her away immediately to the lodgings of his friend Paulinus, where he found her beauty and her conversation beyond the highest idea he had framed of them. His friend Paulinus converted her to Christianity, and gave her the name of Eudosia; after which the emperor publicly espoused her, and enjoyed all the happiness in his marriage which he promised himself from such a virtuous and learned bride. She not only forgave the injuries which her two brothers had done her, but raised them to great honours; and by several works of learn

ing, as well as by an exemplary life, made her

self so dear to the whole empire, that she had many statues erected to her memory, and is celebrated by the fathers of the church, as the or. nament of her sex. , * . j ño

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

IN my last Saturday's paper I supposed a mole-hill inhabited by pismires or ants, to be a lively image of the earth, peopled by human creatures. This supposition will not appear too forced or strained to those who are acquainted with the natural history of these little insects; in order to which I shall present my render with the extract of a letter upon this curious subject, as it was published by the members of the French academy, and since translated into English. I must contess I was never in my life better entertained than with this narrative, which is of undoubted credit and anthority. . “In a room next to mine, which had been empty for a long time, there was upon a window a box full of earth, two feet deep, and fit to keep flowers in. That kind of parterre had been long uncultivated; and tucrefore it was covered with old plaster, and a great deal of rubbish that fell from the top of the house and from the walls, which, togethcr with the earth formerly imbibed

with water, made a kind of dry and barren soil. That place lying to the south, and out of the reach of the wind and rain, besides the neighbourhood of a granary, was a most delightful spot of ground for ants; and therefore they had made three nests there, without doubt for the same reason that men build cities in fruitful and convenient places, near springs and rivers. “Having a mind to cultivate soine flowers, I took a view of that place, and removed a tulip out of the garden into that box; but casting my eyes upon the ants, continually taken up with a thousand cares, very inconsiderable with respect to us, but of the greatest importance for them, they appeared to me more worthy of my curiosity than all the flowers in the world. I quickly removed the tulip, to be the admirer and restorer of that little countmonwealth. This was the only thing they wanted; for their policy and the order observed among them, are more perfect than those of the wisest republics: and therefore they have nothing to fear, unless a new le. gislator should attempt to change the form of their government. ‘I made it my business to procure them all sorts of conveniences. I took out of the box every thing that might be troublesome to them; and frequently visited my ants, and studied all their actions. Being used to go to bed very late, I went to see then work in a moon-shiny night; and I did frequently, get up in the night, to take a view of their labours. I always found

| some going up and down, and very busy: one

would think that they never sleep. Every body knows that ants come out of their holes in the day-time, and expose to the sun the corn, which they keep under ground in the night. Those who have seen ant-hillocks, have easily perceived those small heaps of corn about their nests. What surprised me at first was, that my ants never brought out their corn but in the night, when the moon did shine, and kept it under ground in the day time : which was contrary to what I had seen, and saw still practised by those insects in other places. I quickly found out the reason of it: there was a pigeon-house not far from thence: pigeons and birds would have eaten their corn, if they had brought it out in the day time. It is highly probable they knew it by experience; and I frequently found pigeons and birds in that place, when I went to it in a morning. I quickly delivered them from those robbers: I frighted the birds away with some pieces of paper tied to the end of a string over the window. As for the pigeons, I drove then away several times; and when they perceived that the place was more frequent, d than before, they never came to it again. What is most admirable, and what I could hardly believe, if I did not know it by experience, is, that those ants knew some days after that they had nothing to fear, and began to lay out their corn in the sun. However, I perceived they were not fis"; convinced of being out of all danger; for they durst not bring out their provisions all at once, but by degrees, first in a suall quantity, and without any great order, that they might quickly carry them away, in case of any misfortune, watching, and looking every way. At last, being persuaded that they had nothing to fear,

[ocr errors]

they brought out all their corn, almost every day, and in good order, and carried it in at night. ‘'There is a straight hole in every ant's nest, about half an inch deep, and then it goes down sloping into a place where they have their magazine, which I take to be a different place from that where they rest and eat. For it is highly improbable that an ant, which is a very cleanly insect, and throws out of her nest all the small remains of the corn on which she feeds, as I have observed a thousand times, would fill up her magazine, and mix her corn with dirt and ordure. “The corn that is laid up by ants, would shoot under ground, if those insects did not take care to prevent it. They bite off all the buds before they lay it up; and therefore the corn that has lain in their nests will produce nothing. Any one may easily make this experiment, and even plainly see that there is no bud in their corn. But though the bud be bitten off, there remains another inconvenience, that corn must needs swell and rot under ground; and therefore it could be of no use for the nourishment of ants. Those insects prevent that inconvenience by their labour and industry, and contrive the matter so, that corn will keep as dry in their nests as in our granaries. “They gather many small particles of dry earth, which they bring every day out of their holes, and place them round to heat them in the sun. Every ant brings a small particle of that earth in her pincers, lays it by the hole, and then goes and fetches another. Thus, in less than a quarter of an hour, one may see a vast number of such small particles of dry earth, heaped up round the hole. They lay their corn under ground upon that earth, and cover it with the same. They perform this work almost every day, during the heat of the sun; and though the sun went from the window about three of four o'clock in the afternoon, they did not remove their corn and their particles of earth, because the ground was very hot, until the heat was over. “If any one should think that those animals should use sand, or small particles of brick or stone, rather than take so much pains about dry earth ; I answer, that upon such an occasion, nothing can be more proper than earth heated in the sun. Corn does not keep upon sand: besides, a grain of corn that is cut, being deprived of its bud, would be filled with small sandy particles that could not easily cone out. To which I add, that sand consists of such small particles, that an ant could not take them up one after another ; and, therefore, those insects are seldon to be seen near rivers, or in a very sandy ground. “As for the small particles of brick or stone, the least moistness would join them together, and turn then into a kind of mastic, which those insects could not divide. Those particles sticking together could not come out of an ant's nest, and would spoil its symmetry. “When ants have brought out those particles of earth, they bring out their corn after the same manner, and place it round the earth. Thus, one may see two heaps surrounding their hole, one of dry earth, and o other of corn; and 2

then they fetch out a remainder of dry earth, on which doubtless their corn was laid up. “Those insects never go about this work but when the weather is clear, and the sun very hot. I observed, that those little animals having one day brought out their corn at eleven o'clock in the forenoon, removed it, against their usual custom, before one in the afternoon. The sun being very hot, and sky very clear, I could perceive no reason for it. But half an hour after, the sky began to be overcast, and there sell a small rain, which the ants foresaw ; whereas, the Milan almanack had foretold there would be no rain upon that day. ‘I have said before, that those ants which I did so particularly consider, fetched their corn out of the garret. I went very frequently into that garret. There was some old corn in it; and because every grain was not alike, I observed that they chose the best. ‘I know, by several experiments, that those little animals take great care to provide themselves with wheat when they can find it, and always pick out the best; but they can make shift without it. When they can get no wheat, they take rye, oats, millet, and even crumbs of bread; but seldom any barley, unless it be in a time of great scarcity, and when nothing else can be had. “Being willing to be more particularly informed of their forecast and industry, I put a small heap of wheat in a corner of the room where they kept; and to prevent their fetching corn out of the garret, I shut up the window, and stopped all the holes. Though ants are very knowing, I do not take them to be conjurers; and therefore they could not guess that I had put some corn in that room. I perceived for several days that they were very much perplexed, and went a great way to fetch their provisions. I was not willing for some time to make them more easy; for I bad a mind to know whether they would at last find out the treasure, and see it at a great distance; and whether smelling enabled them to know what is good for their nourishment. Thus they were some time in great trouble, and took a great deal of pains. They went up and down a great way, looking out for some grains of corn: they were sometimes disappointed, and sometimes they did not like their corn, after many long and painful excursions. What appeared to me wonderful was, that none of them came home without bringing something : one brought a grain of wheat, another a grain of rye or oats, or a particle of dry earth, if she could get nothing else. “The window upon which those ants had made their settlement, looked into a garden, and was two stories high. Some went to the farther end of the garden, others to the fifth story, in quest of some corn. It was a very hard journey for them, especially when they came home loaded with a pretty large grain of corn, which must needs be a heavy burden for an ant, and as much as she can bear. The bringing of that grain from the middle of the garden to the nest, took up four hours; whereby one may judge of the strength and prodigious labour of

those little animals. It appears from thence, 18+

that an ant works as hard as a man who should carry a very heavy load on his shoulders almost every day for the space of four leagues. It is true, those insects do not take so much pains upon a flat ground: but then how great is the hardship of a poor ant, when she carries a grain of corn to the second story, climbing up a wall with her head downwards, and her backside upwards ! None can have a true notion of it, unless they see those little animals at work in such a situation. The frequent stops they made in the most convenient places, are a plain indication of their weariness. Some of them were strangely perplexed, and could not get to their journey's end. In such a case, the strongest ants, or those that are not so weary, having car. ried their corn to their nests, came down again to help them. Some are so unfortunate as to fall down with their load, when they are almost come home. When this happens, they seldom lose their corn, but carry it up again. “I saw one of the smallest carrying a large grain of wheat with incredible pains. When she came to the box where the nest was, she made so much haste that she fell down with her load, after a very laborious march. Such an unlucky accident would have vexed a philosopher. I went down, and found her with the same corn in her paws. She was ready to climb up again. The same misfortune happened to her three tinges. Sometimes she fell in the middle of her way, and sometimes higher; but she never let go her hold, and was not discouraged. At last her strength failed her: she stopt; and another ant helped her to carry her load, which was one of the largest and finest grains of wheat that an ant can carry. It happens sometimes, that a corn slips out of their paws when they are climbing up ; they take hold of it again, when they can find it; otherwise they look for another, or take something else, being ashamed to return to their nest without bringing something. This I have experimented, by taking away the grain which they looked for. All those experiments may easily be made by any one that has patience enough : they do not require so great a patience as that of ants; but few people are capable of it.'

No. 157.] Thursday, September 10, 1713.

Go to the ant, thou sluggard: consider her ways and wise. Prov. vi. G. It has been observed by writers of morality, that in order to quicken human industry, Provi. dence has so contrived it, that our daily food is not to be procured without much pains and labour. The chace of birds and beasts, the se. veral arts of fishing, with all the different kinds of agriculture, are necessary scenes of business, and give employment to the greatest part of mankind. If we look into the brute creation, we find all its individuals engaged in a painful and laborious way of life, to procure a necessary subsistence for themselves, or those that grow up under them. The preservation of their being is the whole business of it. An idle man is therefore a kind of monster in the creation. All

nature is busy about him ; every animal he sees reproaches him. Let such a man, who lies as a burden or dead weight upon the species, and contributes nothing either to the riches of the commonwealth, or to the maintenance of himself and family, consider that instinct with which Providence has endowed the ant, and by which is exhibited an example of industry to rational creatures. This is set forth under many surprising instances in the paper of yesterday, and in the conclusion of that narrative, which is as follows: “Thus my ants were forced to make shift for a livelihood, when I had shut up the garret, out of which they used to fetch their provisions. At last, being sensible that it would be a long time before they could discover the small heap of corn which I had laid up for them, I resolved to show it to them. “In order to know how far their industry could reach, I contrived an expedient, which had good success. The thing will appear incredible to those who never considered that all animals of the same kind, which form a society, are more knowing than others. I took one of the largest ants, and threw her upon that small heap of wheat. She was so glad to find herself at liberty, that she ran away to her nest, without carrying off a grain; but she observed it: for an hour after, all my ants had notice given them of such a provision; and I saw most of them very busy in carrying away the corn I had laid up in the room. I leave it to you to judge, whether it may not be said, that they have a particular way of communicating their knowledge to one another; for otherwise, how could they know, one or two hours after, that there was corn in that place It was quickly exhausted; and I put in more, but in a small quantity, to know the true extent of their appetite or prodigious avarice; for I make no doubt but they lay up provisions against the winter. We read it in holy scripture; a thousand experiments teach us the same; and I do not believe that any experiment has been made that shows the contrary. ‘I have said before, that there were three ants' nests in that box or parterre, which formed, if I may say so, three different cities, governed by the same laws, and observing the same order, and the same customs. However, there was this difference, that the inhabitants of one of those holes, seemed to be more knowing and industrious than their neighbours. The ants of that nest were disposed in a better order; their corn was finer; they had a greater plenty of provisions; their nest was furnished with more inhabitants, and they were bigger and stronger. It was the principal and the capital nest. Nay, I observed that those ants were distinguished from the rest, and had some pre-eminence over them. “Though the box full of earth, where the ants had made their settlement, was generally free from rain, yet it rained sometimes upon it, when a certain wind blew. It was a great inconvenience for those insects. Ants are afraid of water; and when they go a great way in quest of provisions, and are surprised by the rain, they shelter themselves under some tile, or

« PreviousContinue »