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Isaac Bickerstaff by Richard Steele

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boy, who was too young to know the reason, weeping only because his
sisters did. The only one in the room who seemed resigned and
comforted was the dying person. At my approach to the bedside, she
told me, with a low broken voice, "This is kindly done--take care of
your friend--do not go from him!" She had before taken leave of her
husband and children, in a manner proper for so solemn a parting,
and with a gracefulness peculiar to a woman of her character. My
heart was torn to pieces, to see the husband on one side suppressing
and keeping down the swellings of his grief, for fear of disturbing
her in her last moments; and the wife even at that time concealing
the pains she endured, for fear of increasing his affliction. She
kept her eyes upon him for some moments after she grew speechless,
and soon after closed them for ever. In the moment of her
departure, my friend, who had thus far commanded himself, gave a
deep groan, and fell into a swoon by her bedside. The distraction
of the children, who thought they saw both their parents expiring
together, and now lying dead before them, would have melted the
hardest heart; but they soon perceived their father recover, whom I
helped to remove into another room, with a resolution to accompany
him till the first pangs of his affliction were abated. I knew
consolation would now be impertinent; and, therefore, contented
myself to sit by him, and condole with him in silence. For I shall
here use the method of an ancient author, who in one of his
epistles, relating the virtues and death of Macrinus's wife,
expresses himself thus: "I shall suspend my advice to this best of
friends, till he is made capable of receiving it by those three
great remedies (necessitas ipsa, dies longa, et satietas doloris),
the necessity of submission, length of time, and satiety of grief."

In the meantime, I cannot but consider, with much commiseration, the
melancholy state of one who has had such a part of himself torn from
him, and which he misses in every circumstance of life. His
condition is like that of one who has lately lost his right arm, and
is every moment offering to help himself with it. He does not
appear to himself the same person in his house, at his table, in
company, or in retirement; and loses the relish of all the pleasures
and diversions that were before entertaining to him by her
participation of them. This additional satisfaction, from the taste
of pleasures in the society of one we love, is admirably described
in Milton, who represents Eve, though in Paradise itself, no further
pleased with the beautiful objects around her, than as she sees them
in company with Adam, in that passage so inexpressibly charming:

"With thee conversing, I forget all time;
All seasons, and their change; all please alike.
Sweet is the breath of morn, her rising sweet
With charm of earliest birds; pleasant the sun,
When first on this delightful land he spreads
His orient beams, on herb, tree, fruit, and flower,
Glistering with dew; fragrant the fertile earth
After short showers; and sweet the coming on
Of grateful evening mild; the silent night,
With this her solemn bird, and this fair moon,
And these the gems of Heaven, her starry train.
But neither breath of morn when she ascends
With charm of earliest birds; nor rising sun
On this delightful land; nor herb, fruit, flower,
Glistering with dew; nor fragrance after showers;
Nor grateful evening mild; nor silent night,
With this her solemn bird, nor walk by moon,
Or glittering star-light, without thee is sweet."

The variety of images in this passage is infinitely pleasing; and
the recapitulation of each particular image, with a little varying
of the expression, makes one of the finest turns of words that I
have ever seen: which I rather mention because Mr. Dryden has said,
in his preface to Juvenal, that he could meet with no turn of words
in Milton.

It may further be observed, that though the sweetness of these
verses has something in it of a pastoral, yet it excels the ordinary
kind, as much as the scene of it is above an ordinary field or
meadow. I might here, as I am accidentally led into this subject,
show several passages in Milton that have as excellent turns of this
nature as any of our English poets whatsoever; but shall only
mention that which follows, in which he describes the fallen angels
engaged in the intricate disputes of predestination, free-will, and
fore-knowledge; and, to humour the perplexity, makes a kind of
labyrinth in the very words that describe it.

"Others apart sat on a hill retired,
In thoughts more elevate, and reasoned high
Of providence, fore-knowledge, will, and fate,
Fixed fate, free-will, fore-knowledge absolute,
And found no end, in wandering mazes lost."

XV.--THE CLUB AT "THE TRUMPET."

Sheer Lane, February 1O, 171O.

After having applied my mind with more than ordinary attention to my
studies, it is my usual custom to relax and unbend it in the
conversation of such as are rather easy than shining companions.
This I find particularly necessary for me before I retire, to rest,
in order to draw my slumbers upon me by degrees, and fall asleep
insensibly. This is the particular use I make of a set of heavy
honest men, with whom I have passed many hours with much indolence,
though not with great pleasure. Their conversation is a kind of
preparative for sleep; it takes the mind down from its abstractions,
leads it into the familiar traces of thought, and lulls it into that
state of tranquillity, which is the condition of a thinking man,
when he is but half-awake. After this, my reader will not be
surprised to hear the account which I am about to give of a club of
my own contemporaries, among whom I pass two or three hours every
evening. This I look upon as taking my first nap before I go to
bed. The truth of it is, I should think myself unjust to posterity,
as well as to the society at "The Trumpet," of which I am a member,
did not I in some part of my writings give an account of the persons
among whom I have passed almost a sixth part of my time for these
last forty years. Our club consisted originally of fifteen; but,
partly by the severity of the law in arbitrary times, and partly by
the natural effects of old age, we are at present reduced to a third
part of that number: in which, however, we have this consolation
that the best company is said to consist of five persons. I must
confess, besides the aforementioned benefit which I meet with in the
conversation of this select society, I am not the less pleased with
the company, in that I find myself the greatest wit among them, and
am heard as their oracle in all points of learning and difficulty.

Sir Jeoffery Notch, who is the oldest of the club, has been in
possession of the right-hand chair time out of mind, and is the only
man among us that has the liberty of stirring the fire. This our
foreman is a gentleman of an ancient family, that came to a great
estate some years before he had discretion, and run it out in
hounds, horses, and cock-fighting; for which reason he looks upon
himself as an honest, worthy gentleman, who has had misfortunes in
the world, and calls every thriving man a pitiful upstart.

Major Matchlock is the next senior, who served in the last civil
wars, and has all the battles by heart. He does not think any
action in Europe worth talking of, since the fight of Marston Moor;
and every night tells us of his having been knocked off his horse at
the rising of the London apprentices; for which he is in great
esteem among us.

Honest old Dick Reptile is the third of our society. He is a
good-natured indolent man, who speaks little himself, but laughs at
our jokes; and brings his young nephew along with him, a youth of
eighteen years old, to show him good company, and give him a taste
of the world. This young fellow sits generally silent; but whenever
he opens his mouth, or laughs at anything that passes, he is
constantly told by his uncle, after a jocular manner, "Ay, ay, Jack,
you young men think us fools; but we old men know you are."

The greatest wit of our company, next to myself, is a Bencher, of
the neighbouring Inn, who in his youth frequented the ordinaries
about Charing Cross, and pretends to have been intimate with Jack
Ogle. He has about ten distichs of Hudibras without book, and never
leaves the club till he has applied them all. If any modern wit be
mentioned, or any town-frolic spoken of, he shakes his head at the
dulness of the present age, and tells us a story of Jack Ogle.

For my own part, I am esteemed among them, because they see I am
something respected by others; though at the same time I understand
by their behaviour, that I am considered by them as a man of a great
deal of learning, but no knowledge of the world; insomuch, that the
Major sometimes, in the height of his military pride, calls me the
philosopher; and Sir Jeoffery, no longer ago than last night, upon a
dispute what day of the month it was then in Holland, pulled his
pipe out of his mouth, and cried, "What does the Scholar say to it?"

Our club meets precisely at six o'clock in the evening; but I did
not come last night till half an hour after seven, by which means I
escaped the battle of Naseby, which the Major usually begins at
about three-quarters after six. I found also, that my good friend
the Bencher had already spent three of his distichs; and only
waiting an opportunity to hear a sermon spoken of that he might
introduce the couplet where "a stick" rhymes to "ecclesiastic." At
my entrance into the room, they were naming a red petticoat and a
cloak, by which I found that the Bencher had been diverting them
with a story of Jack Ogle.

I had no sooner taken my seat, but Sir Jeoffery, to show his good
will towards me, gave me a pipe of his own tobacco, and stirred up
the fire. I look upon it as a point of morality, to be obliged by
those who endeavour to oblige me; and therefore, in requital for his
kindness, and to set the conversation a-going, I took the best
occasion I could to put him upon telling us the story of old
Gantlett, which he always does with very particular concern. He
traced up his descent on both sides for several generations,
describing his diet and manner of life, with his several battles,
and particularly that in which he fell. This Gantlett was a
game-cock, upon whose head the knight, in his youth, had won five
hundred pounds, and lost two thousand. This naturally set the Major
upon the account of Edge-hill fight, and ended in a duel of Jack
Ogle's.

Old Reptile was extremely attentive to all that was said, though it
was the same he had heard every night for these twenty years, and
upon all occasions winked upon his nephew to mind what passed.

This may suffice to give the world a taste of our innocent
conversation, which we spun out till about ten of the clock, when my
maid came with a lantern to light me home. I could not but reflect
with myself, as I was going out, upon the talkative humour of old
men, and the little figure which that part of life makes in one who
cannot employ this natural propensity in discourses which would make
him venerable. I must own, it makes me very melancholy in company,
when I hear a young man begin a story; and have often observed, that
one of a quarter of an hour long in a man of five-and-twenty,
gathers circumstances every time he tells it, till it grows into a
long Canterbury tale of two hours by that time he is three-score.

The only way of avoiding such a trifling and frivolous old age is to
lay up in our way to it such stores of knowledge and observation as
may make us useful and agreeable in our declining years. The mind
of man in a long life will become a magazine of wisdom or folly, and
will consequently discharge itself in something impertinent or
improving. For which reason, as there is nothing more ridiculous
than an old trifling story-teller, so there is nothing more
venerable than one who has turned his experience to the
entertainment and advantage of mankind.

In short, we, who are in the last stage of life, and are apt to
indulge ourselves in talk, ought to consider if what we speak be
worth being heard, and endeavour to make our discourse like that of
Nestor, which Homer compares to the flowing of honey for its
sweetness.

I am afraid I shall be thought guilty of this excess I am speaking
of, when I cannot conclude without observing that Milton certainly
thought of this passage in Homer, when, in his description of an
eloquent spirit, he says--

"His tongue dropped manna."

XVI.--A VERY PRETTY POET.

Will's Coffee-house, April 24.

I yesterday came hither about two hours before the company generally
make their appearance, with a design to read over all the
newspapers; but, upon my sitting down, I was accosted by Ned Softly,
who saw me from a corner in the other end of the room, where I found
he had been writing something. "Mr. Bickerstaff," says he, "I
observe by a late paper of yours, that you and I are just of a
humour; for you must know, of all impertinences, there is nothing
which I so much hate as news. I never read a gazette in my life;
and never trouble my head about our armies, whether they win or
lose, or in what part of the world they lie encamped." Without
giving me time to reply, he drew a paper of verses out of his
pocket, telling me, "that he had something which would entertain me
more agreeably, and that he would desire my judgment upon every
line, for that we had time enough before us till the company came
in."

Ned Softly is a very pretty poet, and a great admirer of easy lines.
Waller is his favourite: and as that admirable writer has the best
and worst verses of any among our great English poets, Ned Softly
has got all the bad ones without book, which he repeats upon
occasion, to show his reading, and garnish his conversation. Ned is
indeed a true English reader, incapable of relishing the great and
masterly strokes of this art; but wonderfully pleased with the
little Gothic ornaments of epigrammatical conceits, turns, points,
and quibbles, which are so frequent in the most admired of our
English poets, and practised by those who want genius and strength
to represent, after the manner of the ancients, simplicity in its
natural beauty and perfection.

Finding myself unavoidably engaged in such a conversation, I was
resolved to turn my pain into a pleasure and to divert myself as
well as I could with so very odd a fellow. "You must understand,"
says Ned, "that the sonnet I am going to read to you was written
upon a lady, who showed me some verses of her own making, and is,
perhaps, the best poet of our age. But you shall hear it."

Upon which he began to read as follows:

"TO MIRA, ON HER INCOMPARABLE POEMS.

1.
"When dressed in laurel wreaths you shine,
And tune your soft melodious notes,
You seem a sister of the Nine,
Or Phoebus' self in petticoats.

2.
"I fancy, when your song you sing,
Your song you sing with so much art,
Your pen was plucked from Cupid's wing;
For, ah! it wounds me like his dart."

"Why," says I, "this is a little nosegay of conceits, a very lump of
salt: every verse has something in it that piques; and then the
dart in the last line is certainly as pretty a sting in the tail of
an epigram, for so I think you critics call it, as ever entered into
the thought of a poet." "Dear Mr. Bickerstaff," says he, shaking me
by the hand, "everybody knows you to be a judge of these things;
and, to tell you truly, I read over Roscommon's translation of
Horace's 'Art of Poetry' three several times before I sat down to
write the sonnet which I have shown you. But you shall hear it
again, and pray observe every line of it; for not one of them shall
pass without your approbation.

"'When dressed in laurel wreaths you shine,'

"That is," says he, "when you have your garland on; when you are
writing verses." To which I replied, "I know your meaning: a
metaphor!" "The same," said he, and went on.

"'And tune your soft melodious notes,'

"Pray observe the gliding of that verse; there is scarce a consonant
in it: I took care to make it run upon liquids. Give me your
opinion of it." "Truly," said I, "I think it as good as the
former." "I am very glad to hear you say so," says he; "but mind
the next.

"'You seem a sister of the Nine,

"That is," says he, "you seem a sister of the Muses; for, if you
look into ancient authors, you will find it was their opinion that
there were nine of them." "I remember it very well," said I; "but
pray proceed."

"'Or Phoebus' self in petticoats.'

"Phoebus," says he, "was the god of Poetry. These little instances,
Mr. Bickerstaff, show a gentleman's reading. Then to take off from
the air of learning, which Phoebus and the Muses had given to this
first stanza, you may observe, how it falls all of a sudden into the
familiar; 'in petticoats!'

"'Or Phoebus' self in petticoats.'"

"Let us now," says I, "enter upon the second stanza; I find the
first line is still a continuation of the metaphor.

"'I fancy when your song you sing.'"

"It is very right," says he; "but pray observe the turn of words in
those two lines. I was a whole hour in adjusting of them, and have
still a doubt upon me whether in the second line it should be, 'Your
song you sing; or, You sing your song?' You shall hear them both:

"'I fancy, when your song you sing,
Your song you sing with so much art,'

or,

"'I fancy, when your song you sing,
You sing your song with so much art.'"

"Truly," said I, "the turn is so natural either way, that you have
made me almost giddy with it." "Dear sir," said he, grasping me by
the hand, "you have a great deal of patience; but pray what do you
think of the next verse?

"'Your pen was plucked from Cupid's wing.'"

"Think!" says I; "I think you have made Cupid look like a little
goose." "That was my meaning," says he: "I think the ridicule is
well enough hit off. But we come now to the last, which sums up the
whole matter.

"'For, ah! it wounds me like his dart.'

"Pray how do you like that Ah! doth it not make a pretty figure in
that place? Ah!--it looks as if I felt the dart, and cried out at
being pricked with it.

"'For, ah! it wounds me like his dart.'

"My friend Dick Easy," continued he, "assured me, he would rather
have written that Ah! than to have been the author of the AEneid.
He indeed objected, that I made Mira's pen like a quill in one of
the lines, and like a dart in the other. But as to that--" "Oh! as
to that," says I, "it is but supposing Cupid to be like a porcupine,
and his quills and darts will be the same thing." He was going to
embrace me for the hint; but half a dozen critics coming into the
room, whose faces he did not like, he conveyed the sonnet into his
pocket, and whispered me in the ear, "he would show it me again as
soon as his man had written it over fair."

XVII.--FATHERLY CARE.

From my own Apartment, June 23.

Having lately turned my thoughts upon the consideration of the
behaviour of parents to children in the great affair of marriage, I
took much delight in turning over a bundle of letters which a
gentleman's steward in the country had sent me some time ago. This
parcel is a collection of letters written by the children of the
family to which he belongs to their father, and contain all the
little passages of their lives, and the new ideas they received as
the years advanced. There is in them an account of their diversions
as well as their exercises; and what I thought very remarkable is,
that two sons of the family, who now make considerable figures in
the world, gave omens of that sort of character which they now bear
in the first rudiments of thought which they show in their letters.
Were one to point out a method of education, one could not,
methinks, frame one more pleasing or improving than this; where the
children get a habit of communicating their thoughts and
inclinations to their best friend with so much freedom, that he can
form schemes for their future life and conduct from an observation
of their tempers; and by that means be early enough in choosing
their way of life, to make them forward in some art or science at an
age when others have not determined what profession to follow. As
to the persons concerned in this packet I am speaking of, they have
given great proofs of the force of this conduct of their father in
the effect it has upon their lives and manners. The older, who is a
scholar, showed from his infancy a propensity to polite studies, and
has made a suitable progress in literature; but his learning is so
well woven into his mind, that from the impressions of it, he seems
rather to have contracted a habit of life than manner of discourse.
To his books he seems to owe a good economy in his affairs, and a
complacency in his manners, though in others that way of education
has commonly a quite different effect. The epistles of the other
son are full of accounts of what he thought most remarkable in his
reading. He sends his father for news the last noble story he had
read. I observe he is particularly touched with the conduct of
Codrus, who plotted his own death, because the oracle had said, if
he were not killed, the enemy should prevail over his country. Many
other incidents in his little letters give omens of a soul capable
of generous undertakings; and what makes it the more particular is,
that this gentleman had, in the present war, the honour and
happiness of doing an action for which only it was worth coming into
the world. Their father is the most intimate friend they have; and
they always consult him rather than any other, when any error has
happened in their conduct through youth and inadvertency. The
behaviour of this gentleman to his sons has made his life pass away
with the pleasures of a second youth; for as the vexations which men
receive from their children hasten the approach of age, and double
the force of years; so the comforts which they reap from them, are
balm to all other sorrows, and disappoint the injuries of time.
Parents of children repeat their lives in their offspring; and their
concern for them is so near, that they feel all their sufferings and
enjoyments as much as if they regarded their own proper persons.
But it is generally so far otherwise, that the common race of
'squires in this kingdom use their sons as persons that are waiting
only for their funerals, and spies upon their health and happiness;
as indeed they are, by their own making them such. In cases where a
man takes the liberty after this manner to reprehend others, it is
commonly said, Let him look at home. I am sorry to own it; but
there is one branch of the house of the Bickerstaffs who have been
as erroneous in their conduct this way as any other family
whatsoever. The head of this branch is now in town, and has brought
up with him his son and daughter, who are all the children he has,
in order to be put some way into the world, and see fashions. They
are both very ill-bred cubs; and having lived together from their
infancy, without knowledge of the distinctions and decencies that
are proper to be paid to each other's sex, they squabble like two
brothers. The father is one of those who knows no better than that
all pleasure is debauchery, and imagines, when he sees a man become
his estate, that he will certainly spend it. This branch are a
people who never had among them one man eminent either for good or
ill: however, have all along kept their heads just above water, not
by a prudent and regular economy, but by expedients in the matches
they have made in to their house. When one of the family has in the
pursuit of foxes, and in the entertainment of clowns, run out the
third part of the value of his estate, such a spendthrift has
dressed up his eldest son, and married what they call a good
fortune: who has supported the father as a tyrant over them during
his life, in the same house or neighbourhood. The son, in
succession, has just taken the same method to keep up his dignity,
till the mortgages he has ate and drank himself into have reduced
him to the necessity of sacrificing his son also, in imitation of
his progenitor. This had been for many generations, the whole that
had happened in the family of Sam Bickerstaff, till the time of my
present cousin Samuel, the father of the young people we have just
now spoken of.

Samuel Bickerstaff, esquire, is so happy as that by several legacies
from distant relations, deaths of maiden sisters, and other
instances of good fortune, he has besides his real estate, a great
sum of ready money. His son at the same time knows he has a good
fortune, which the father cannot alienate; though he strives to make
him believe he depends only on his will for maintenance. Tom is now
in his nineteenth year. Mrs. Mary in her fifteenth. Cousin Samuel,
who understands no one point of good behaviour as it regards all the
rest of the world, is an exact critic in the dress, the motion, the
looks, and gestures, of his children. What adds to their misery is,
that he is excessively fond of them, and the greatest part of their
time is spent in the presence of this nice observer. Their life is
one of continued constraint. The girl never turns her head, but she
is warned not to follow the proud minxes of the town. The boy is
not to turn fop, or be quarrelsome, at the same time not to take an
affront. I had the good fortune to dine with him to-day, and heard
his fatherly table-talk as we sat at dinner, which, if my memory
does not fail me, for the benefit of the world, I shall set down as
he spoke it; which was much as follows, and may be of great use to
those parents who seem to make it a rule, that their children's turn
to enjoy the world is not to commence till they themselves have left
it.

"Now, Tom, I have bought you chambers in the inns of court. I allow
you to take a walk once or twice a day round the garden. If you
mind your business, you need not study to be as great a lawyer as
Coke upon Littleton. I have that that will keep you; but be sure
you keep an exact account of your linen. Write down what you give
out to your laundress, and what she brings home again. Go as little
as possible to the other end of the town; but if you do, come home
early. I believe I was as sharp as you for your years, and I had my
hat snatched off my head coming home late at a stop by St. Clement's
church, and I do not know from that day to this who took it. I do
not care if you learn to fence a little; for I would not have you
made a fool of. Let me have an account of everything, every post; I
am willing to be at that charge, and I think you need not spare your
pains. As for you, daughter Molly, do not mind one word that is
said to you in London, for it is only for your money."

XVIII.--BICKERSTAFF CENSOR:--CASES IN COURT.

From my own Apartment, December 5.

There is nothing gives a man greater satisfaction than the sense of
having despatched a great deal of business, especially when it turns
to the public emolument. I have much pleasure of this kind upon my
spirits at present, occasioned by the fatigue of affairs which I
went through last Saturday. It is some time since I set apart that
day for examining the pretensions of several who had applied to me
for canes, perspective glasses, snuff-boxes, orange-flower-waters,
and the like ornaments of life. In order to adjust this matter, I
had before directed Charles Lillie of Beaufort Buildings to prepare
a great bundle of blank licenses in the following words:

"You are hereby required to permit the bearer of this cane to pass
and repass through the streets and suburbs of London, or any place
within ten miles of it, without let or molestation, provided that he
does not walk with it under his arm, brandish it in the air, or hang
it on a button: in which case it shall be forfeited; and I hereby
declare it forfeited, to any one who shall think it safe to take it
from him.
"ISAAC BICKERSTAFF."

The same form, differing only in the provisos, will serve for a
perspective, snuff-box, or perfumed handkerchief. I had placed
myself in my elbow-chair at the upper end of my great parlour,
having ordered Charles Lillie to take his place upon a joint stool,
with a writing-desk before him. John Morphew also took his station
at the door; I having, for his good and faithful services, appointed
him my chamber-keeper upon court days. He let me know that there
were a great number attending without. Upon which I ordered him to
give notice, that I did not intend to sit upon snuff-boxes that day;
but that those who appeared for canes might enter. The first
presented me with the following petition, which I ordered Mr. Lillie
to read.

"TO ISAAC BICKERSTAFF, ESQUIRE, CENSOR OF GREAT BRITAIN.

"The humble petition of SIMON TRIPPIT,

"Showeth,

"That your petitioner having been bred up to a cane from his youth,
it is now become as necessary to him as any other of his limbs.

"That, a great part of his behaviour depending upon it, he should be
reduced to the utmost necessities if he should lose the use of it.

"That the knocking of it upon his shoe, leaning one leg upon it, or
whistling with it on his mouth, are such great reliefs to him in
conversation, that he does not know how to be good company without
it.

"That he is at present engaged in an amour, and must despair of
success if it be taken from him.

"Your petitioner, therefore, hopes, that the premises tenderly
considered, your Worship will not deprive him of so useful and so
necessary a support.

"And your petitioner shall ever, etc."

Upon the hearing of his case, I was touched with some compassion,
and the more so, when, upon observing him nearer, I found he was a
prig. I bade him produce his cane in court, which he had left at
the door. He did so, and I finding it to be very curiously clouded
with a transparent amber head, and a blue riband to hang upon his
wrist, I immediately ordered my clerk Lillie to lay it up, and
deliver out to him a plain joint headed with walnut; and then, in
order to wean him from it by degrees, permitted him to wear it three
days in a week, and to abate proportionably till he found himself
able to go alone.

The second who appeared came limping into the court; and setting
forth in his petition many pretences for the use of a cane, I caused
them to be examined one by one, but finding him in different
stories, and confronting him with several witnesses who had seen him
walk upright, I ordered Mr. Lillie to take in his cane, and rejected
his petition as frivolous.

A third made his entry with great difficulty, leaning upon a slight
stick, and in danger of falling every step he took. I saw the
weakness of his hams; and I bade him leave his cane, and gave him a
new pair of crutches, with which he went off in great vigour and
alacrity. This gentleman was succeeded by another, who seemed very
much pleased while his petition was reading, in which he had
represented, That he was extremely afflicted with the gout, and set
his foot upon the ground with the caution and dignity which
accompany that distemper. I suspected him for an impostor, and,
having ordered him to be searched, I committed him into the hands of
Doctor Thomas Smith in King Street, my own corn-cutter, who attended
in an outward room: and wrought so speedy a cure upon him, that I
thought fit to send him also away without his cane.

While I was thus dispensing justice, I heard a noise in my outward
room; and inquiring what was the occasion of it, my door-keeper told
me, that they had taken one up in the very fact as he was passing by
my door. They immediately brought in a lively fresh-coloured young
man, who made great resistance with hand and foot, but did not offer
to make use of his cane, which hung upon his fifth button. Upon
examination, I found him to be an Oxford scholar who was just
entered at the Temple. He at first disputed the jurisdiction of the
court; but, being driven out of his little law and logic, he told me
very pertly, "that he looked upon such a perpendicular creature as
man to make a very imperfect figure without a cane in his hand. It
is well known," says he, "we ought, according to the natural
situation of our bodies, to walk upon our hands and feet: and that
the wisdom of the ancients had described man to be an animal of four
legs in the morning, two at noon, and three at night; by which they
intimated that a cane might very properly become part of us in some
period of life." Upon which I asked him, whether he wore it at his
breast to have it in readiness when that period should arrive. My
young lawyer immediately told me, he had a property in it, and a
right to hang it where he pleased, and to make use of it as he
thought fit, provided that he did not break the peace with it; and
farther said, that he never took it off his button, unless it were
to lift it up at a coachman, hold it over the head of a drawer,
point out the circumstances of a story, or for other services of the
like nature, that are all within the laws of the land. I did not
care for discouraging a young man, who, I saw, would come to good;
and, because his heart was set upon his new purchase, I only ordered
him to wear it about his neck, instead of hanging it upon his
button, and so dismissed him.

There were several appeared in court, whose pretensions I found to
be very good, and, therefore, gave them their licenses upon paying
their fees; as many others had their licenses renewed, who required
more time for recovery of their lameness than I had before allowed
them.

Having despatched this set of my petitioners, there came in a
well-dressed man with a glass tube in one hand, and his petition in
the other. Upon his entering the room, he threw back the right side
of his wig, put forward his right leg, and advancing the glass to
his right eye, aimed it directly at me. In the meanwhile, to make
my observations also, I put on my spectacles, in which posture we
surveyed each other for some time. Upon the removal of our glasses
I desired him to read his petition, which he did very promptly and
easily; though at the same time it set forth that he could see
nothing distinctly, and was within very few degrees of being utterly
blind, concluding with a prayer that he might be permitted to
strengthen and extend his sight by a glass. In answer to this I
told him he might sometimes extend it to his own destruction. "As
you are now," said I, "you are out of the reach of beauty, the
shafts of the finest eyes lose their force before they can come at
you; you cannot distinguish a Toast from an orange-wench; you can
see a whole circle of beauty without any interruption from an
impertinent face to discompose you. In short, what are snares for
others--" My petitioner would hear no more, but told me very
seriously, "Mr. Bickerstaff, you quite mistake your man; it is the
joy, the pleasure, the employment, of my life to frequent public
assemblies, and gaze upon the fair." In a word, I found his use of
a glass was occasioned by no other infirmity than his vanity, and
was not so much designed to make him see, as to make him be seen and
distinguished by others. I therefore refused him a license for a
perspective, but allowed him a pair of spectacles, with full
permission to use them in any public assembly as he should think
fit. He was followed by so very few of this order of men that I
have reason to hope this sort of cheats are almost at an end.

The orange-flower-men appeared next with petitions perfumed so
strongly with musk, that I was almost overcome with the scent; and
for my own sake was obliged forthwith to license their
handkerchiefs, especially when I found they had sweetened them at
Charles Lillie's, and that some of their persons would not be
altogether inoffensive without them. John Morphew, whom I have made
the general of my dead men, acquainted me that the petitioners were
all of that order, and could produce certificates to prove it if I
required it. I was so well pleased with this way of embalming
themselves that I commanded the above-said Morphew to give it in his
orders to his whole army, that every one, who did not surrender
himself to be disposed of by the upholders, should use the same
method to keep himself sweet during his present state of
putrefaction.

I finished my session with great content of mind, reflecting upon
the good I had done; for, however slightly men may regard these
particularities, "and little follies in dress and behaviour, they
lead to greater evils. The bearing to be laughed at for such
singularities, teaches us insensibly an impertinent fortitude, and
enables us to bear public censure for things which more
substantially deserve it." By this means they open a gate to folly,
and oftentimes render a man so ridiculous, as discredit his virtues
and capacities, and unqualify them from doing any good in the world.
Besides, the giving into uncommon habits of this nature is a want of
that humble deference which is due to mankind, and, what is worst of
all, the certain indication of some secret flaw in the mind of the
person that commits them. When I was a young man, I remember a
gentleman of great integrity and worth, was very remarkable for
wearing a broad belt, and a hanger instead of a fashionable sword,
though in all other points a very well-bred man. I suspected him at
first sight to have something wrong in him, but was not able for a
long time to discover any collateral proofs of it. I watched him
narrowly for six-and-thirty years, when at last, to the surprise of
everybody but myself, who had long expected to see the folly break
out, he married his own cook-maid.

-----

Sheer Lane, December 21.

As soon as I had placed myself in my chair of judicature, I ordered
my clerk, Mr. Lillie, to read to the assembly, who were gathered
together according to notice, a certain declaration, by way of
charge, to open the purpose of my session, which tended only to this
explanation, that as other courts were often called to demand the
execution of persons dead in law; so this was held to give the last
orders relating to those who are dead in reason. The solicitor of
the new Company of Upholders, near the Haymarket, appeared in behalf
of that useful society, and brought in an accusation of a young
woman, who herself stood at the bar before me. Mr. Lillie read her
indictment, which was in substance, "That, whereas Mrs. Rebecca
Pindust, of the parish of Saint Martin-in-the-Fields, had, by the
use of one instrument called a looking-glass, and by the further use
of certain attire, made either of cambric, muslin, or other linen
wares, upon her head, attained to such an evil art and magical force
in the motion of her eyes and turn of her countenance, that she the
said Rebecca had put to death several young men of the said parish;
and that the said young men had acknowledged in certain papers,
commonly called love-letters, which were produced in court, gilded
on the edges, and sealed WITH A PARTICULAR WAX, with certain amorous
and enchanting words wrought upon the said seals, that they died for
the said Rebecca: and, whereas the said Rebecca persisted in the
said evil practice; this way of life the said society construed to
be, according to former edicts, a state of death, and demanded an
order for the interment of the said Rebecca."

I looked upon the maid with great humanity, and desired her to make
answer to what was said against her. She said, "It was indeed true,
that she had practised all the arts and means she could, to dispose
of herself happily in marriage, but thought she did not come under
the censure expressed in my writings for the same; and humbly hoped
I would not condemn her for the ignorance of her accusers, who,
according to their own words, had rather represented her killing
than dead." She further alleged, "That the expressions mentioned in
the papers written to her were become mere words, and that she had
been always ready to marry any of those who said they died for her;
but that they made their escape, as soon as they found themselves
pitied or believed." She ended her discourse by desiring I would
for the future settle the meaning of the words "I die," in letters
of love.

Mrs. Pindust behaved herself with such an air of innocence, that she
easily gained credit, and was acquitted. Upon which occasion I gave
it as a standing rule, "That any person, who in any letter, billet,
or discourse, should tell a woman he died for her, should, if she
pleased, be obliged to live with her, or be immediately interred
upon such their own confessions without bail or mainprize."

It happened that the very next who was brought before me was one of
her admirers, who was indicted upon that very head. A letter, which
he acknowledged to be his own hand, was read, in which were the
following words, "Cruel creature, I die for you." It was observable
that he took snuff all the time his accusation was reading. I asked
him, "how he came to use these words, if he were not a dead man?"
He told me, "he was in love with the lady, and did not know any
other way of telling her so; and that all his acquaintance took the
same method." Though I was moved with compassion towards him, by
reason of the weakness of his parts, yet for example sake I was
forced to answer, "Your sentence shall be a warning to all the rest
of your companions, not to tell lies for want of wit." Upon this,
he began to beat his snuff-box with a very saucy air; and opening it
again, "Faith, Isaac," said he, "thou art a very unaccountable old
fellow--Pr'ythee, who gave thee the power of life and death? What
hast thou to do with ladies and lovers? I suppose thou wouldst have
a man be in company with his mistress, and say nothing to her. Dost
thou call breaking a jest telling a lie? Ha! is that thy wisdom,
old stiffback, ha?" He was going on with this insipid commonplace
mirth, sometimes opening his box, sometimes shutting it, then
viewing the picture on the lid, and then the workmanship of the
hinge, when, in the midst of his eloquence, I ordered his box to be
taken from him; upon which he was immediately struck speechless, and
carried off stone dead.

The next who appeared was a hale old fellow of sixty. He was
brought in by his relations, who desired leave to bury him. Upon
requiring a distinct account of the prisoner, a credible witness
deposed, "that he always rose at ten of the clock, played with his
cat till twelve, smoked tobacco till one, was at dinner till two,
then took another pipe, played at backgammon till six, talked of one
Madame Frances, an old mistress of his, till eight, repeated the
same account at the tavern till ten, then returned home, took the
other pipe, and then to bed." I asked him, "what he had to say for
himself?"--"As to what," said he, "they mention concerning Madame
Frances--"

I did not care for hearing a Canterbury tale, and, therefore,
thought myself seasonably interrupted by a young gentleman, who
appeared in the behalf of the old man, and prayed an arrest of
judgment; "for that he, the said young man, held certain lands by
his the said old man's life." Upon this, the solicitor of the
Upholders took an occasion to demand him also, and thereupon
produced several evidences that witnessed to his life and
conversation. It appeared that each of them divided their hours in
matters of equal moment and importance to themselves and to the
public. They rose at the same hour: while the old man was playing
with his cat, the young one was looking out of his window; while the
old man was smoking his pipe, the young man was rubbing his teeth;
while one was at dinner, the other was dressing; while one was at
backgammon, the other was at dinner; while the old fellow was
talking of Madame Frances, the young one was either at play, or
toasting women whom he never conversed with. The only difference
was, that the young man had never been good for anything; the old
man a man of worth before he know Madame Frances. Upon the whole, I
ordered them to be both interred together, with inscriptions proper
to their characters, signifying, that the old man died in the year
1689, and was buried in the year 17O9; and over the young one it was
said, that he departed this world in the twenty-fifth year of his
death.

The next class of criminals were authors in prose and verse. Those
of them who had produced any stillborn work were immediately
dismissed to their burial, and were followed by others, who
notwithstanding some sprightly issue in their lifetime, had given
proofs of their death, by some posthumous children, that bore no
resemblance to their elder brethren. As for those who were the
fathers of a mixed progeny, provided always they could prove the
last to be a live child, they escaped with life, but not without
loss of limbs; for, in this case, I was satisfied with amputation of
the parts which were mortified.

These were followed by a great crowd of superannuated benchers of
the Inns of Court, senior fellows of colleges, and defunct
statesmen: all whom I ordered to be decimated indifferently,
allowing the rest a reprieve for one year, with a promise of a free
pardon in case of resuscitation.

There were still great multitudes to be examined; but, finding it
very late, I adjourned the court, not without the secret pleasure
that I had done my duty, and furnished out a handsome execution.

-----

Haymarket, December 23.

Whereas the gentleman that behaved himself in a very disobedient and
obstinate manner at his late trial in Sheer Lane on the twentieth
instant, and was carried off dead upon taking away of his snuff-box,
remains still unburied; the company of Upholders, not knowing
otherwise how they should be paid, have taken his goods in execution
to defray the charge of his funeral. His said effects are to be
exposed to sale by auction, at their office in the Haymarket, on the
fourth of January next, and are as follow:--

A very rich tweezer-case, containing twelve instruments for the use
of each hour in the day.

Four pounds of scented snuff, with three gilt snuff-boxes; one of
them with an invisible hinge, and a looking-glass in the lid.

Two more of ivory, with the portraitures on their lids of two ladies
of the town; the originals to be seen every night in the side-boxes
of the playhouse.

A sword with a steel diamond hilt, never drawn but once at May-fair.

Six clean packs of cards, a quart of orange-flower-water, a pair of
French scissors, a toothpick-case, and an eyebrow brush.

A large glass-case, containing the linen and clothes of the
deceased; among which are, two embroidered suits, a pocket
perspective, a dozen pair of RED-HEELED SHOES, three pair of RED
SILK STOCKINGS, and an amber-headed cane.

The strong box of the deceased, wherein were found five billet-doux,
a Bath shilling, a crooked sixpence, a silk garter, a lock of hair,
and three broken fans.

A press for books; containing on the upper shelf--

Three bottles of diet-drink.
Two boxes of pills.
A syringe, and other mathematical instruments.

On the second shelf are several miscellaneous works, as

Lampoons.
Plays.
Tailors' bills.
And an almanack for the year seventeen hundred.

On the third shelf--

A bundle of letters unopened, indorsed, in the hand of the deceased,
"Letters from the old Gentleman."
Lessons for the flute.
Toland's "Christianity not mysterious;" and a paper filled with
patterns of several fashionable stuffs.

On the lowest shelf--

One shoe.
A pair of snuffers.
A French grammar.
A mourning hat-band; and half a bottle of usquebaugh.

There will be added to these goods, to make a complete auction, a
collection of gold snuff-boxes and clouded canes, which are to
continue in fashion for three months after the sale.

The whole are to be set up and prized by Charles Bubbleboy, who is
to open the auction with a speech.

I find I am so very unhappy, that, while I am busy in correcting the
folly and vice of one sex, several exorbitances break out in the
other. I have not thoroughly examined their new fashioned
petticoats, but shall set aside one day in the next week for that
purpose. The following petition on this subject was presented to me
this morning:--

"The humble petition of William Jingle, Coach-maker and Chair-maker,
of the Liberty of Westminster:

"TO ISAAC BICKERSTAFF, ESQUIRE, CENSOR OF GREAT BRITAIN:

"Showeth,

"That upon the late invention of Mrs. Catharine Cross-stitch,
mantua-maker, the petticoats of ladies were too wide for entering
into any coach or chair, which was in use before the said invention.

"That for the service of the said ladies, your petitioner has built
a round chair, in the form of a lantern, six yards and a half in
circumference, with a stool in the centre of it: the said vehicle
being so contrived, as to receive the passenger by opening in two in
the middle, and closing mathematically when she is seated.

"That your petitioner has also invented a coach for the reception of
one lady only, who is to be let in at the top.

"That the said coach has been tried by a lady's woman in one of
these full petticoats, who was let down from a balcony, and drawn up
again by pulleys, to the great satisfaction of her lady, and all who
behold her.

"Your petitioner, therefore, most humbly prays, that for the
encouragement of ingenuity and useful inventions, he may be heard
before you pass sentence upon the petticoats aforesaid.

"And your petitioner," etc.

I have likewise received a female petition, signed by several
thousands, praying that I would not any longer defer giving judgment
in the case of the petticoat, many of them having put off the making
new clothes, till such time as they know what verdict will pass upon
it. I do, therefore, hereby certify to all whom it may concern,
that I do design to set apart Tuesday next for the final
determination of that matter, having already ordered a jury of
matrons to be impannelled, for the clearing up of any difficult
points that may arise in the trial.

-----

*** Being informed that several dead men in and about this city do
keep out of the way and abscond, for fear of being buried; and being
willing to respite their interment, in consideration of their
families, and in hopes of their amendment, I shall allow them
certain privileged places, where they may appear to one another,
without causing any let or molestation to the living, or receiving
any, in their own persons, from the company of Upholders. Between
the hours of seven and nine in the morning, they may appear in
safety at Saint James's coffee-house, or at White's, if they do not
keep their beds, which is more proper for men in their condition.
From nine to eleven I allow them to walk from Story's to Rosamond's
pond in the Park or in any other public walks which are not
frequented by the living at that time. Between eleven and three
they are to vanish, and keep out of sight till three in the
afternoon, at which time they may go to 'Change till five; and then,
if they please, divert themselves at the Haymarket, or Drury Lane
until the play begins. It is further granted in favour of these
persons, that they may be received at any table, where there are
more present than seven in number: provided that they do not take
upon them to talk, judge, commend, or find fault with any speech,
action, or behaviour of the living. In which case it shall be
lawful to seize their persons at any place or hour whatsoever, and
to convey their bodies to the next undertaker's; anything in this
advertisement to the contrary notwithstanding.

-----

Sheer Lane, January 4.

The court being prepared for proceeding on the cause of the
petticoat, I gave orders to bring in a criminal, who was taken up as
she went out of the puppet-show about three nights ago, and was now
standing in the street, with a great concourse of people about her.
Word was brought me that she had endeavoured twice or thrice to come
in, but could not do it by reason of her petticoat, which was too
large for the entrance of my house, though I had ordered both the
folding-doors to be thrown open for its reception. Upon this, I
desired the jury of matrons, who stood at my right hand, to inform
themselves whether there were any private reasons why she might not
make her appearance separate from her petticoat. This was managed
with great discretion, and had such an effect, that upon the return
of the verdict from the bench of matrons, I issued out an order
forthwith, "that the criminal should be stripped of her encumbrances
till she became little enough to enter my house." I had before
given directions for an engine of several legs that could contract
or open itself like the top of an umbrella, in order to place the
petticoat upon it, by which means I might take a leisurely survey of
it, as it should appear in its proper dimensions. This was all done
accordingly; and forthwith, upon the closing of the engine, the
petticoat was brought into court. I then directed the machine to be
set upon the table and dilated in such a manner as to show the
garment in its utmost circumference; but my great hall was too
narrow for the experiment; for before it was half unfolded, it
described so immoderate a circle, that the lower part of it brushed
upon my face as I sat in my chair of judicature. I then inquired
for the person that belonged to the petticoat; and to my great
surprise, was directed to a very beautiful young damsel, with so
pretty a face and shape, that I bid her come out of the crowd, and
seated her upon a little crock at my left hand. "My pretty maid,"
said I, "do you own yourself to have been the inhabitant of the
garment before us?" The girl, I found, had good sense, and told me
with a smile, that, "notwithstanding it was her own petticoat, she
should be very glad to see an example made of it; and that she wore
it for no other reason, but that she had a mind to look as big and
burly as other persons of her quality; that she had kept out of it
as long as she could, and till she began to appear little in the
eyes of her acquaintance; that, if she laid it aside, people would
think she was not made like other women." I always give great
allowances to the fair sex upon account of the fashion, and,
therefore, was not displeased with the defence of the pretty
criminal. I then ordered the vest which stood before us to be drawn
up by a pulley to the top of my great hall, and afterwards to be
spread open by the engine it was placed upon, in such a manner, that
it formed a very splendid and ample canopy over our heads, and
covered the whole court of judicature with a kind of silken rotunda,
in its form not unlike the cupola of St. Paul's. I entered upon the
whole cause with great satisfaction as I sat under the shadow of it.

The counsel for the petticoat were now called in, and ordered to
produce what they had to say against the popular cry which was
raised against it. They answered the objections with great strength
and solidity of argument, and expatiated in very florid harangues,
which they did not fail to set off and furbelow, if I may be allowed
the metaphor, with many periodical sentences and turns of oratory.
The chief arguments for their client were taken, first, from the
great benefit that might arise to our woollen manufactory from this
invention, which was calculated as follows. The common petticoat
has not above four yards in the circumference; whereas this over our
heads had more in the semi-diameter; so that, by allowing it
twenty-four yards in the circumference, the five millions of woollen
petticoats, which, according to Sir William Petty, supposing what
ought to be supposed in a well-governed state, that all petticoats
are made of that stuff, would amount to thirty millions of those of
the ancient mode: a prodigious improvement of the woollen trade!
and what could not fail to sink the power of France in a few years.

To introduce the second argument, they begged leave to read a
petition of the ropemakers, wherein it was represented, "that the
demand for cords, and the price of them, were much risen since this
fashion came up." At this, all the company who were present lifted
up their eyes into the vault; and I must confess, we did discover
many traces of cordage, which were interwoven in the stiffening of
the drapery.

A third argument was founded upon a petition of the Greenland trade,
which likewise represented the great consumption of whalebone which
would be occasioned by the present fashion, and the benefit which
would thereby accrue to that branch of the British trade.

To conclude, they gently touched upon the weight and unwieldiness of
the garment, which they insinuated might be of great use.

These arguments would have wrought very much upon me, as I then told
the company in a long and elaborate discourse, had I not considered
the great and additional expense which such fashions would bring
upon fathers and husbands; and, therefore, by no means to be thought
of till some years after a peace. I further urged, that it would be
a prejudice to the ladies themselves, who could never expect to have
any money in the pocket if they laid out so much on the petticoat.

At the same time, in answer to the several petitions produced on
that side, I showed one subscribed by the women of several persons
of quality, humbly setting forth, "that, since the introduction of
this mode, their respective ladies had, instead of bestowing on them
their cast gowns, cut them into shreds, and mixed them with the
cordage and buckram, to complete the stiffening of their under
petticoats." For which, and sundry other reasons, I pronounced the
petticoat a forfeiture; but to show that I did not make that
judgment for the sake of filthy lucre, I ordered it to be folded up,
and sent it as a present to a widow-gentlewoman who has five
daughters, desiring she would make each of them a petticoat out of
it, and send me back the remainder, which I design to cut into
stomachers, caps, facings of my waistcoat-sleeves, and other
garnitures suitable to my age and quality.

I would not be understood that, while I discard this monstrous
invention, I am an enemy to the proper ornaments of the fair sex.
On the contrary, as the hand of nature has poured on them such a
profusion of charms and graces, and sent them into the world more
amiable and finished than the rest of her works; so I would have
them bestow upon themselves all the additional beauties that art can
supply them with; provided it does not interfere with disguise, or
pervert those of nature.

I consider woman as a beautiful romantic animal, that may be adorned
with furs and feathers, pearls and diamonds, ores and silks. The
lynx shall cast its skin at her feet to make her a tippet; the
peacock, parrot, and swan shall pay contributions to her muff; the
sea shall be searched for shells, and the rocks for gems; and every
part of nature furnish out its share towards the embellishment of a
creature that is the most consummate work of it. All this I shall
indulge them in; but as for the petticoat I have been speaking of, I
neither can nor will allow it.

XIX.--OF MEN WHO ARE NOT THEIR OWN MASTERS.

From my own Apartment, June 2.

I have received a letter which accuses me of partiality in the
administration of the censorship; and says, that I have been very
free with the lower part of mankind, but extremely cautious in
representations of matters which concern men of condition. This
correspondent takes upon him also to say, the upholsterer was not
undone by turning politician, but became bankrupt by trusting his
goods to persons of quality; and demands of me, that I should do
justice upon such as brought poverty and distress upon the world
below them, while they themselves were sunk in pleasures and luxury,
supported at the expense of those very persons whom they treated
with a negligence, as if they did not know whether they dealt with
them or not. This is a very heavy accusation, both of me and such
as the man aggrieved accuses me of tolerating. For this reason, I
resolved to take this matter into consideration; and, upon very
little meditation, could call to my memory many instances which made
this complaint far from being groundless. The root of this evil
does not always proceed from injustice in the men of figure, but
often from a false grandeur which they take upon them in being
unacquainted with their own business; not considering how mean a
part they act when their names and characters are subjected to the
little arts of their servants and dependants. The overseers of the
poor are a people who have no great reputation for the discharge of
their trust, but are much less scandalous than the overseers of the
rich. Ask a young fellow of a great estate, who was that odd fellow
that spoke to him in a public place? he answers, "one that does my
business." It is, with many, a natural consequence of being a man
of fortune, that they are not to understand the disposal of it; and
they long to come to their estates, only to put themselves under new
guardianship. Nay, I have known a young fellow, who was regularly
bred an attorney, and was a very expert one till he had an estate
fallen to him. The moment that happened, he, who could before prove
the next land he cast his eye upon his own; and was so sharp, that a
man at first sight would give him a small sum for a general receipt,
whether he owed him anything or not: such a one, I say, have I
seen, upon coming to an estate, forget all his diffidence of
mankind, and become the most manageable thing breathing. He
immediately wanted a stirring man to take upon him his affairs; to
receive and pay, and do everything which he himself was now too fine
a gentleman to understand. It is pleasant to consider, that he who
would have got an estate, had he not come to one, will certainly
starve because one fell to him; but such contradictions are we to
ourselves, and any change of life is insupportable to some natures.

It is a mistaken sense of superiority to believe a figure, or
equipage, gives men precedence to their neighbours. Nothing can
create respect from mankind, but laying obligations upon them; and
it may very reasonably be concluded, that if it were put into a due
balance, according to the true state of the account, many who
believe themselves in possession of a large share of dignity in the
world, must give place to their inferiors. The greatest of all
distinctions in civil life is that of debtor and creditor; and there
needs no great progress in logic to know which, in that case, is the
advantageous side. He who can say to another, "Pray, master," or
"pray, my lord, give me my own," can as justly tell him, "It is a
fantastical distinction you take upon you, to pretend to pass upon
the world for my master or lord, when, at the same time that I wear
your livery, you owe me wages; or, while I wait at your door, you
are ashamed to see me till you have paid my bill."

The good old way among the gentry of England to maintain their
pre-eminence over the lower rank, was by their bounty, munificence,
and hospitality; and it is a very unhappy change, if at present, by
themselves or their agents, the luxury of the gentry is supported by
the credit of the trader. This is what my correspondent pretends to
prove out of his own books, and those of his whole neighbourhood.
He has the confidence to say, that there is a mug-house near Long
Acre, where you may every evening hear an exact account of
distresses of this kind. One complains that such a lady's finery is
the occasion that his own wife and daughter appear so long in the
same gown. Another, that all the furniture of her visiting
apartment are no more hers than the scenery of a play are the proper
goods of the actress. Nay, at the lower end of the same table, you
may hear a butcher and a poulterer say, that, at their proper
charge, all that family has been maintained since they last came to
town.

The free manner in which people of fashion are discoursed on at such
meetings is but a just reproach for their failures in this kind; but
the melancholy relations of the great necessities tradesmen are
driven to, who support their credit in spite of the faithless
promises which are made them, and the abatement which they suffer
when paid by the extortion of upper servants, is what would stop the
most thoughtless man in the career of his pleasures, if rightly
represented to him.

If this matter be not very speedily amended, I shall think fit to
print exact lists of all persons who are not at their own disposal,
though above the age of twenty-one; and as the trader is made
bankrupt for absence from his abode, so shall the gentleman for
being at home, if, when Mr. Morphew calls, he cannot give him an
exact account of what passes in his own family. After this fair
warning, no one ought to think himself hardly dealt with, if I take
upon me to pronounce him no longer master of his estate, wife, or
family, than he continues to improve, cherish, and maintain them
upon the basis of his own property, without incursions upon his
neighbour in any of these particulars.

According to that excellent philosopher Epictetus, we are all but
acting parts in a play; and it is not a distinction in itself to be
high or low, but to become the parts we are to perform. I am, by my
office, prompter on this occasion, and shall give those who are a
little out in their parts such soft hints as may help them to
proceed, without letting it be known to the audience they were out;
but if they run quite out of character, they must be called off the
stage, and receive parts more suitable to their genius. Servile
complaisance shall degrade a man from his honour and quality, and
haughtiness be yet more debased. Fortune shall no longer
appropriate distinctions, but nature direct us in the disposition
both of respect and discountenance. As there are tempers made for
command and others for obedience, so there are men born for
acquiring possessions, and others incapable of being other than mere
lodgers in the houses of their ancestors, and have it not in their
very composition to be proprietors of anything. These men are moved
only by the mere effects of impulse: their good-will and disesteem
are to be regarded equally, for neither is the effect of their
judgment. This loose temper is that which makes a man, what Sallust
so well remarks to happen frequently in the same person, to be
covetous of what is another's, and profuse of what is his own. This
sort of men is usually amiable to ordinary eyes; but, in the sight
of reason, nothing is laudable but what is guided by reason. The
covetous prodigal is of all others the worst man in society. If he
would but take time to look into himself, he would find his soul all
over gashed with broken vows and promises; and his retrospect on his
actions would not consist of reflections upon those good resolutions
after mature thought, which are the true life of a reasonable
creature, but the nauseous memory of imperfect pleasures, idle
dreams, and occasional amusements. To follow such dissatisfying
pursuits is it possible to suffer the ignominy of being unjust? I
remember in Tully's Epistle, in the recommendation of a man to an
affair which had no manner of relation to money, it is said, "You
may trust him, for he is a frugal man." It is certain, he who has
not a regard to strict justice in the commerce of life, can be
capable of no good action in any other kind; but he who lives below
his income, lays up every moment of life armour against a base
world, that will cover all his frailties while he is so fortified,
and exaggerate them when he is naked and defenceless.

ADVERTISEMENT.

*** A stage-coach sets out exactly at six from Nando's coffee-house
to Mr. Tiptoe's dancing-school, and returns at eleven every evening,
for one shilling and four-pence.

N.B.--Dancing shoes, not exceeding four inches height in the heel,
and periwigs, not exceeding three feet in length, are carried in the
coach-box gratis.

XX.--FALSE DOCTORING.

From my own Apartment, October 2O.

I do not remember that in any of my lucubrations I have touched upon
that useful science of physic, notwithstanding I have declared
myself more than once a professor of it. I have indeed joined the
study of astrology with it, because I never knew a physician
recommend himself to the public who had not a sister art to
embellish his knowledge in medicine. It has been commonly observed,
in compliment to the ingenious of our profession, that Apollo was
god of verse as well as physic; and in all ages, the most celebrated
practitioners of our country were the particular favourites of the
Muses. Poetry to physic is indeed like the gilding to a pill; it
makes the art shine, and covers the severity of the doctor with the
agreeableness of the companion.

The very foundation of poetry is good sense, if we may allow Horace
to be a judge of the art.

"Scribendi recte sapere est et principium et fons."
HOR. ARS POET. 3O9.

"Such judgment is the ground of writing well."
ROSCOMMON.

And if so, we have reason to believe that the same man who writes
well can prescribe well, if he has applied himself to the study of
both. Besides, when we see a man making profession of two different
sciences, it is natural for us to believe he is no pretender in that
which we are not judges of, when we find him skilful in that which
we understand.

Ordinary quacks and charlatans are thoroughly sensible how necessary
it is to support themselves by these collateral assistances, and
therefore always lay their claim to some supernumerary
accomplishments, which are wholly foreign to their profession.

About twenty years ago, it was impossible to walk the streets
without having an advertisement thrust into your hand, of a doctor
"who was arrived at the knowledge of the 'Green and Red Dragon,' and
had discovered the female fern-seed." Nobody ever knew what this
meant; but the "Green and Red Dragon" so amused the people, that the
doctor lived very comfortably upon them. About the same time there
was pasted a very hard word upon every corner of the streets. This,
to the best of my remembrance, was

TETRACHYMAGOGON,

which drew great shoals of spectators about it, who read the bill
that it introduced with unspeakable curiosity; and when they were
sick, would have nobody but this learned man for their physician.

I once received an advertisement of one "who had studied thirty
years by candle-light for the good of his countrymen." He might
have studied twice as long by daylight and never have been taken
notice of. But elucubrations cannot be over-valued. There are some
who have gained themselves great reputation for physic by their
birth, as the "seventh son of a seventh son," and others by not
being born at all, as the unborn doctor, who I hear is lately gone
the way of his patients, having died worth five hundred pounds per
annum, though he was not born to a halfpenny.

My ingenious friend, Doctor Saffold, succeeded my old contemporary,
Doctor Lilly, in the studies both of physic and astrology, to which
he added that of poetry, as was to be seen both upon the sign where
he lived, and in the pills which he distributed. He was succeeded
by Doctor Case, who erased the verses of his predecessor out of the
sign-post, and substituted in their stead two of his own, which were
as follow:--

"Within this place
Lives Doctor Case."

He is said to have got more by this distich than Mr. Dryden did by
all his works. There would be no end of enumerating the several
imaginary perfections and unaccountable artifices by which this
tribe of men ensnare the minds of the vulgar and gain crowds of
admirers. I have seen the whole front of a mountebank's stage from
one end to the other, faced with patents, certificates, medals, and
great seals, by which the several princes of Europe have testified
their particular respect and esteem for the doctor. Every great man
with a sounding title has been his patient. I believe I have seen
twenty mountebanks that have given physic to the Czar of Muscovy.
The Great Duke of Tuscany escapes no better. The Elector of
Brandenburg was likewise a very good patient.

This great condescension of the doctor draws upon him much good-will
from his audience; and it is ten to one but if any of them be
troubled with an aching tooth, his ambition will prompt him to get
it drawn by a person who has had so many princes, kings, and
emperors under his hands.

I must not leave this subject without observing that, as physicians
are apt to deal in poetry, apothecaries endeavour to recommend
themselves by oratory, and are therefore, without controversy, the
most eloquent persons in the whole British nation. I would not
willingly discourage any of the arts, especially that of which I am
an humble professor; but I must confess, for the good of my native
country, I could wish there might be a suspension of physic for some
years, that our kingdom, which has been so much exhausted by the
wars, might have leave to recruit itself.

As for myself, the only physic which has brought me safe to almost
the age of man, and which I prescribe to all my friends, is
Abstinence. This is certainly the best physic for prevention, and
very often the most effectual against a present distemper. In
short, my recipe is "Take nothing."

Were the body politic to be physicked like particular persons, I
should venture to prescribe to it after the same manner. I remember
when our whole island was shaken with an earthquake some years ago,
there was an impudent mountebank who sold pills, which, as he told
the country people, were "very good against an earthquake." It may,
perhaps, be thought as absurd to prescribe a diet for the allaying
popular commotions and national ferments. But I am verily persuaded
that if in such a case a whole people were to enter into a course of
abstinence, and eat nothing but water-gruel for a fortnight, it
would abate the rage and animosity of parties, and not a little
contribute to the care of a distracted nation. Such a fast would
have a natural tendency to the procuring of those ends, for which a
fast is usually proclaimed. If any man has a mind to enter on such
a voluntary abstinence, it might not be improper to give him the
caution of Pythagoras in particular, Abstine a fabis, "Abstain from
beans," that is, say the interpreters, "Meddle not with elections,"
beans having been made use of by the voters among the Athenians in
the choice of magistrates.

XXI.--DRINKING.

From my own Apartment, October 23.

A method of spending one's time agreeably is a thing so little
studied, that the common amusement of our young gentlemen,
especially of such as are at a distance from those of the first
breeding, is Drinking. This way of entertainment has custom on its
side; but as much as it has prevailed, I believe there have been
very few companies that have been guilty of excess this way, where
there have not happened more accidents which make against than for
the continuance of it. It is very common that events arise from a
debauch which are fatal, and always such as are disagreeable. With
all a man's reason and good sense about him, his tongue is apt to
utter things out of mere gaiety of heart, which may displease his
best friends. Who then would trust himself to the power of wine
without saying more against it, than that it raises the imagination
and depresses the judgment? Were there only this single
consideration, that we are less masters of ourselves when we drink
in the least proportion above the exigencies of thirst, I say, were
this all that could be objected, it were sufficient to make us abhor
this vice. But we may go on to say, that as he who drinks but a
little is not master of himself, so he who drinks much is a slave to
himself. As for my part, I ever esteemed a drunkard of all vicious
persons the most vicious: for if our actions are to be weighed and
considered according to the intention of them, what cannot we think
of him, who puts himself into a circumstance wherein he can have no
intention at all, but incapacitates himself for the duties and
offices of life by a suspension of all his faculties? If a man
considered that he cannot, under the oppression of drink, be a
friend, a gentleman, a master, or a subject: that he has so long
banished himself from all that is dear, and given up all that is
sacred to him: he would even then think of a debauch with horror.
But when he looks still further and acknowledges that he is not only
expelled out of all the relations of life, but also liable to offend
against them all; what words can express the terror and detestation
he would have of such a condition? And yet he owns all this of
himself who says he was drunk last night.

As I have all along persisted in it, that all the vicious in general
are in a state of death; so I think I may add to the non-existence
of drunkards, that they died by their own hands. He is certainly as
guilty of suicide who perishes by a slow, as he that is despatched
by an immediate, poison. In my last lucubration I proposed the
general use of water gruel, and hinted that it might not be amiss at
this very season. But as there are some whose cases, in regard to
their families, will not admit of delay, I have used my interest in
several wards of the city, that the wholesome restorative
above-mentioned may be given in tavern kitchens to all the morning
draughtsmen within the walls when they call for wine before noon.
For a further restraint and mark upon such persons, I have given
orders, that in all the offices where policies are drawn upon lives,
it shall be added to the article which prohibits that the nominee
should cross the sea, the words, "Provided also, that the
above-mentioned A. B. shall not drink before dinner during the term
mentioned in this indenture."

I am not without hopes, that by this method I shall bring some
unsizable friends of mine into shape and breadth, as well as others,
who are languid and consumptive, into health and vigour. Most of
the self-murderers whom I yet hinted at are such as preserve a
certain regularity in taking their poison, and make it mix pretty
well with their food. But the most conspicuous of those who destroy
themselves, are such as in their youth fall into this sort of
debauchery; and contract a certain uneasiness of spirit, which is
not to be diverted but by tippling as often as they can fall into
company in the day, and conclude with downright drunkenness at
night. These gentlemen never know the satisfaction of youth, but
skip the years of manhood, and are decrepit soon after they are of
age. I was godfather to one of these old fellows. He is now three-
and-thirty, which is the grand climacteric of a young drunkard. I
went to visit the wretch this morning, with no other purpose but to
rally him under the pain and uneasiness of being sober.

But as our faults are double when they affect others besides
ourselves, so this vice is still more odious in a married than a
single man. He that is the husband of a woman of honour, and comes
home overloaded with wine, is still more contemptible in proportion
to the regard we have to the unhappy consort of his bestiality. The
imagination cannot shape to itself anything more monstrous and
unnatural than the familiarities between drunkenness and chastity.
The wretched Astraea, who is the perfection of beauty and innocence,
has long been thus condemned for life. The romantic tales of
virgins devoted to the jaws of monsters, have nothing in them so
terrible as the gift of Astraea to that Bacchanal.

XXII.--NIGHT AND DAY.

From my own Apartment, December 13.

An old friend of mine being lately come to town, I went to see him
on Tuesday last about eight o'clock in the evening, with a design to
sit with him an hour or two and talk over old stories; but, upon
inquiring after him, his servant told me he was just gone to bed.
The next morning, as soon as I was up and dressed, and had
despatched a little business, I came again to my friend's house
about eleven o'clock, with a design to renew my visit: but, upon
asking for him, his servant told me he was just sat down to dinner.
In short, I found that my old-fashioned friend religiously adhered
to the example of his forefathers, and observed the same hours that
had been kept in the family ever since the Conquest.

It is very plain that the night was much longer formerly in this
island than it is at present. By the night, I mean that portion of
time which Nature has thrown into darkness, and which the wisdom of
mankind had formerly dedicated to rest and silence. This used to
begin at eight o'clock in the evening, and conclude at six in the
morning. The curfew, or eight o'clock bell, was the signal
throughout the nation for putting out their candles and going to
bed.

Our grandmothers, though they were wont to sit up the last in the
family, were all of them fast asleep at the same hours that their
daughters are busy at crimp and basset. Modern statesmen are
concerting schemes, and engaged in the depth of politics, at the
time when their forefathers were laid down quietly to rest and had
nothing in their heads but dreams. As we have thus thrown business
and pleasure into the hours of rest, and by that means made the
natural night but half as long as it should be, we are forced to
piece it out with a great part of the morning; so that near
two-thirds of the nation lie fast asleep for several hours in broad
day-light. This irregularity is grown so very fashionable at
present, that there is scarcely a lady of quality in Great Britain
that ever saw the sun rise. And, if the humour increases in
proportion to what it has done of late years, it is not impossible
but our children may hear the bell-man going about the streets at
nine o'clock in the morning, and the watch making their rounds till
eleven. This unaccountable disposition in mankind to continue awake
in the night and sleep in sunshine, has made me inquire, whether the
same change of inclination has happened to any other animals? For
this reason, I desired a friend of mine in the country to let me
know whether the lark rises as early as he did formerly; and whether
the cock begins to crow at his usual hour? My friend has answered
me, "that his poultry are as regular as ever, and that all the birds
and the beasts of his neighbourhood keep the same hours that they
have observed in the memory of man; and the same which in all
probability they have kept for these five thousand years."

If you would see the innovations that have been made among us in
this particular, you may only look into the hours of colleges, where
they still dine at eleven, and sup at six, which were doubtless the
hours of the whole nation at the time when those places were
founded. But at present, the courts of justice are scarce opened in
Westminster Hall at the time when William Rufus used to go to dinner
in it. All business is driven forward. The landmarks of our
fathers, if I may so call them, are removed, and planted farther up
into the day; insomuch, that I am afraid our clergy will be obliged,
if they expect full congregations, not to look any more upon ten
o'clock in the morning as a canonical hour. In my own memory, the
dinner has crept by degrees from twelve o'clock to three, and where
it will fix nobody knows.

I have sometimes thought to draw up a memorial in the behalf of
Supper against Dinner, setting forth, that the said Dinner has made
several encroachments upon the said Supper, and entered very far
upon his frontiers; that he has banished him out of several
families, and in all has driven him from his headquarters, and
forced him to make his retreat into the hours of midnight; and, in
short, that he is now in danger of being entirely confounded and
lost in a breakfast. Those who have read Lucian, and seen the
complaints of the letter T against S, upon account of many injuries
and usurpations of the same nature, will not, I believe, think such
a memorial forced and unnatural. If dinner has been thus postponed,
or, if you please, kept back from time to time, you may be sure that
it has been in compliance with the other business of the day, and
that supper has still observed a proportionable distance. There is
a venerable proverb which we have all of us heard in our infancy, of
"putting the children to bed, and laying the goose to the fire."
This was one of the jocular sayings of our forefathers, but maybe
properly used in the literal sense at present. Who would not wonder
at this perverted relish of those who are reckoned the most polite
part of mankind, that prefer sea-coals and candles to the sun, and
exchange so many cheerful morning hours, for the pleasures of
midnight revels and debauches? If a man was only to consult his
health, he would choose to live his whole time, if possible, in
daylight, and to retire out of the world into silence and sleep,
while the raw damps and unwholesome vapours fly abroad, without a
sun to disperse, moderate, or control them. For my own part, I
value an hour in the morning as much as common libertines do an hour
at midnight. When I find myself awakened into being, and perceive
my life renewed within me, and at the same time see the whole face
of nature recovered out of the dark uncomfortable state in which it
lay for several hours, my heart overflows with such secret
sentiments of joy and gratitude, as are a kind of implicit praise to
the great Author of Nature. The mind, in these early seasons of the
day, is so refreshed in all its faculties, and borne up with such
new supplies of animal spirits, that she finds herself in a state of
youth, especially when she is entertained with the breath of
flowers, the melody of birds, the dews that hang upon the plants,
and all those other sweets of nature that are peculiar to the
morning.

It is impossible for a man to have this relish of being, this
exquisite taste of life, who does not come into the world before it
is in all its noise and hurry; who loses the rising of the sun, the
still hours of the day, and, immediately upon his first getting up
plunges himself into the ordinary cares or follies of the world.

I shall conclude this paper with Milton's inimitable description of
Adam's awakening his Eve in Paradise, which indeed would have been a
place as little delightful as a barren heath or desert to those who
slept in it. The fondness of the posture in which Adam is
represented, and the softness of his whisper, are passages in this
divine poem that are above all commendation, and rather to be
admired than praised.

Now Morn, her rosy steps in the eastern clime,
Advancing, sowed the earth with orient pearl,
When Adam waked, so customed; for his sleep
Was airy light from pure digestion bred,
And temperate vapours bland; which the only sound
Of leaves and fuming rills, Aurora's fan,
Lightly dispersed, and the shrill matin song
Of birds on every bough; so much the more
His wonder was to find unwakened Eve,
With tresses discomposed, and glowing cheek,
As through unquiet rest. He on his side
Leaning half-raised, with looks of cordial love,
Hung over her enamoured, and beheld
Beauty, which, whether waking or asleep,
Shot forth peculiar graces. Then, with voice
Mild as when Zephyrus on Flora breathes,
Her hand soft touching, whispered thus: "Awake,
My fairest, my espoused, my latest found,
Heaven's last, best gift, my ever-new delight,
Awake; the morning shines, and the fresh field
Calls us; we lose the prime, to mark how spring
Our tended plants, how blows the citron grove,
What drops the myrrh, and what the balmy reed,
How Nature paints her colours, how the bee
Sits on the bloom extracting liquid sweet."
Such whispering waked her, but with startled eye
On Adam, whom embracing, thus she spake:
"O soul! in whom my thoughts find all repose,
My glory, my perfection, glad I see
Thy face, and morn returned."
PAR. LOST, V.1.

XXIII.--TWO OLD LADIES.

From my own Apartment, December 2O, 171O.

It would be a good appendix to "The Art of Living and Dying" if any
one would write "The Art of growing Old," and teach men to resign
their pretensions to the pleasures and gallantries of youth in
proportion to the alteration they find in themselves by the approach
of age and infirmities. The infirmities of this stage of life would
be much fewer if we did not affect those which attend the more
vigorous and active part of our days; but instead of studying to be
wiser, or being contented with our present follies, the ambition of
many of us is also to be the same sort of fools we formerly have
been. I have often argued, as I am a professed lover of women, that
our sex grows old with a much worse grace than the other does; and
have ever been of opinion that there are more well-pleased old women
than old men. I thought it a good reason for this, that the
ambition of the fair sex being confined to advantageous marriages,
or shining in the eyes of men, their parts were over sooner, and
consequently the errors in the performance of them. The
conversation of this evening has not convinced me of the contrary;
for one or two fop-women shall not make a balance for the crowd of
coxcombs among ourselves, diversified according to the different
pursuits of pleasure and business.

Returning home this evening, a little before my usual hour, I scarce
had seated myself in my easy-chair, stirred the fire, and stroked my
cat, but I heard somebody come rumbling upstairs. I saw my door
opened, and a human figure advancing towards me so fantastically put
together that it was some minutes before I discovered it to be my
old and intimate friend Sam Trusty. Immediately I rose up, and
placed him in my own seat; a compliment I pay to few. The first
thing he uttered was, "Isaac, fetch me a cup of your cherry brandy
before you offer to ask any question." He drank a lusty draught,
sat silent for some time, and at last broke out: "I am come," quoth
he, "to insult thee for an old fantastic dotard, as thou art, in
ever defending the women. I have this evening visited two widows,
who are now in that state I have often heard you call an after-life;
I suppose you mean by it an existence which grows out of past
entertainments, and is an untimely delight in the satisfactions
which they once set their hearts upon too much to be ever able to
relinquish. Have but patience," continued he, "till I give you a
succinct account of my ladies and of this night's adventure. They
are much of an age, but very different in their characters. The one
of them, with all the advances which years have made upon her, goes
on in a certain romantic road of love and friendship, which she fell
into in her teens; the other has transferred the amorous passions of
her first years to the love of cronies, pets, and favourites, with
which she is always surrounded; but the genius of each of them will
best appear by the account of what happened to me at their houses.
About five this afternoon, being tired with study, the weather
inviting, and time lying a little upon my hands, I resolved, at the
instigation of my evil genius, to visit them; their husbands having
been our contemporaries. This I thought I could do without much
trouble; for both live in the very next street. I went first to my
lady Camomile; and the butler, who had lived long in the family, and
seen me often in his master's time, ushered me very civilly into the
parlour, and told me, though my lady had given strict orders to be
denied, he was sure I might be admitted, and bid the black boy
acquaint his lady that I was come to wait upon her. In the window
lay two letters; one broken open, the other fresh sealed with a
wafer; the first directed to the divine Cosmelia, the second to the
charming Lucinda; but both, by the indented characters, appeared to
have been writ by very unsteady hands. Such uncommon addresses
increased my curiosity, and put me upon asking my old friend the
butler if he knew who those persons were. 'Very well,' says he;
'this is from Mrs. Furbish to my lady, an old schoolfellow and great
crony of her ladyship's: and this the answer.' I inquired in what
county she lived. 'Oh, dear!' says he, 'but just by, in the
neighbourhood. Why, she was here all this morning, and that letter
came and was answered within these two hours. They have taken an
odd fancy, you must know, to call one another hard names; but, for
all that, they love one another hugely.' By this time the boy
returned with his lady's humble service to me, desiring I would
excuse her; for she could not possibly see me, nor anybody else, for
it was opera-night."

"Methinks," says I, "such innocent folly as two old women's
courtship to each other should rather make you merry than put you
out of humour." "Peace, good Isaac," says he, "no interruption, I
beseech you. I got soon to Mrs. Feeble's, she that was formerly
Betty Frisk; you must needs remember her; Tom Feeble, of Brazen
Nose, fell in love with her for her fine dancing. Well, Mrs.
Ursula, without further ceremony, carries me directly up to her
mistress's chamber, where I found her environed by four of the most
mischievous animals than can ever infest a family; an old shock dog
with one eye, a monkey chained to one side of the chimney, a great
grey squirrel to the other, and a parrot waddling in the middle of
the room. However, for awhile all was in a profound tranquillity.
Upon the mantle-tree, for I am a pretty curious observer, stood a
pot of lambative electuary, with a stick of liquorice, and near it a
phial of rose-water, and powder of tutty. Upon the table lay a pipe
filled with betony and colt's-foot, a roll of wax-candle, a silver
spitting-pot, and a Seville orange. The lady was placed in a large
wicker chair, and her feet wrapped up in flannel, supported by
cushions; and in this attitude--would you believe it, Isaac?--was
she reading a romance with spectacles on. The first compliments
over, as she was industriously endeavouring to enter upon
conversation, a violent fit of coughing seized her. This awakened
Shock, and in a trice the whole room was in an uproar; for the dog
barked, the squirrel squealed, the monkey chattered, the parrot
screamed, and Ursula, to appease them, was more clamorous than all
the rest. You, Isaac, who know how any harsh noise affects my head,
may guess what I suffered from the hideous din of these discordant
sounds. At length all was appeased, and quiet restored: a chair
was drawn for me; where I was no sooner seated, but the parrot fixed
his horny beak, as sharp as a pair of shears, in one of my heels,
just above the shoe. I sprang from the place with an unusual
agility, and so, being within the monkey's reach, he snatches off my
new bob-wig, and throws it upon two apples that were roasting by a
sullen sea-coal fire. I was nimble enough to save it from any
further damage than singeing the fore-top. I put it on; and
composing myself as well as I could, I drew my chair towards the
other side of the chimney. The good lady, as soon as she had
recovered breath, employed it in making a thousand apologies, and,
with great eloquence, and a numerous train of words, lamented my
misfortune. In the middle of her harangue, I felt something
scratching near my knee, and feeling what it should be, found the
squirrel had got into my coat-pocket. As I endeavoured to remove
him from his burrow, he made his teeth meet through the fleshy part
of my forefinger. This gave me an unexpressible pain. The Hungary
water was immediately brought to bathe it, and goldbeater's skin
applied to stop the blood. The lady renewed her excuses; but, being
now out of all patience, I abruptly took my leave, and hobbling
downstairs with heedless haste, I set my foot full in a pail of
water, and down we came to the bottom together." Here my friend
concluded his narrative, and, with a composed countenance, I began
to make him compliments of condolence; but he started from his
chair, and said, "Isaac, you may spare your speeches; I expect no
reply. When I told you this, I knew you would laugh at me; but the
next woman that makes me ridiculous shall be a young one."

XXIV.--MARIA CALLS IN SHIRE LANE.

From my own Apartment, November 7, 17O9.

I was very much surprised this evening with a visit from one of the
top Toasts of the town, who came privately in a chair, and bolted
into my room, while I was reading a chapter of Agrippa upon the
occult sciences; but, as she entered with all the air and bloom that
nature ever bestowed on woman, I threw down the conjurer, and met
the charmer. I had no sooner placed her at my right hand by the
fire, but she opened to me the reason of her visit. "Mr.
Bickerstaff," said the fine creature, "I have been your
correspondent some time, though I never saw you before; I have
written by the name of Maria. You have told me you were too far
gone in life to think of love. Therefore, I am answered as to the
passion I spoke of; and," continued she, smiling, "I will not stay
till you grow young again, as you men never fail to do in your
dotage, but am come to consult you about disposing of myself to
another. My person you see; my fortune is very considerable; but I
am at present under much perplexity how to act in a great
conjuncture. I have two lovers, Crassus and Lorio; Crassus is
prodigiously rich, but has no one distinguishing quality; though at
the same time he is not remarkable on the defective side. Lorio has
travelled, is well bred, pleasant in discourse, discreet in his
conduct, agreeable in his person; and, with all this, he has a
competency of fortune without superfluity. When I consider Lorio,
my mind is filled with an idea of the great satisfactions of a
pleasant conversation. When I think of Crassus, my equipage,
numerous servants, gay liveries, and various dresses, are opposed to
the charms of his rival. In a word when I cast my eyes upon Lorio,
I forget and despise fortune; when I behold Crassus, I think only of
pleasing my vanity, and enjoying an uncontrolled expense in all the
pleasures of life, except love." She paused here.

"Madam," said I, "I am confident that you have not stated your case
with sincerity, and that there is some secret pang which you have
concealed from me; for I see by your aspect the generosity of your
mind; and that open, ingenuous air lets me know that you have too
great a sense of the generous passion of love to prefer the
ostentation of life in the arms of Crassus to the entertainments and
conveniences of it in the company of your beloved Lorio: for so he
is indeed, madam; you speak his name with a different accent from
the rest of your discourse. The idea his image raises in you gives
new life to your features, and new grace to your speech. Nay, blush
not, madam; there is no dishonour in loving a man of merit. I
assure you, I am grieved at this dallying with yourself, when you
put another in competition with him, for no other reason but
superior wealth."--"To tell you, then," said she, "the bottom of my
heart, there is Clotilda lies by, and plants herself in the way of
Crassus, and I am confident will snap him if I refuse him. I cannot
bear to think that she will shine above me. When our coaches meet,
to see her chariot hung behind with four footmen, and mine with but
two: hers, powdered, gay, and saucy, kept only for show; mine, a
couple of careful rogues that are good for something: I own I
cannot bear that Clotilda should be in all the pride and wantonness
of wealth, and I only in the ease and affluence of it."

Here I interrupted: "Well, madam, now I see your whole affliction;
you could be happy, but that you fear another would be happier. Or
rather, you could be solidly happy, but that another is to be happy
in appearance. This is an evil which you must get over, or never
know happiness. We will put the case, madam, that you married
Crassus, and she Lorio." She answered: "Speak not of it; I could
tear her eyes out at the mention of it."--"Well, then, I pronounce
Lorio to be the man; but I must tell you that what we call settling
in the world is, in a kind, leaving it; and you must at once resolve
to keep your thoughts of happiness within the reach of your fortune,
and not measure it by comparison with others."

XXV.--SISTER JENNY AND HER HUSBAND.

From my own Apartment, October
24.

My brother Tranquillus, who is a man of business, came to me this
morning into my study, and after very many civil expressions in
return for what good offices I had done him, told me "he desired to
carry his wife, my sister, that very morning to his own house." I
readily told him "I would wait upon him" without asking why he was
so impatient to rob us of his good company. He went out of my
chamber, and I thought seemed to have a little heaviness upon him,
which gave me some disquiet. Soon after my sister came to me with a
very matron-like air, and most sedate satisfaction in her looks,
which spoke her very much at ease; but the traces of her countenance
seemed to discover that she had lately been in a passion, and that
air of content to flow from a certain triumph upon some advantage
obtained. She no sooner sat down by me but I perceived she was one
of those ladies who begin to be managers within the time of their
being brides. Without letting her speak, which I saw she had a
mighty inclination to do, I said, "Here has been your husband, who
tells me he has a mind to go home this very morning, and I have
consented to it."--"It is well," said she, "for you must know--"
"Nay, Jenny," said I, "I beg your pardon, for it is you must know.
You are to understand, that now is the time to fix or alienate your
husband's heart for ever; and I fear you have been a little
indiscreet in your expressions or behaviour towards him, even here
in my house." "There has," says she, "been some words; but I will
be judged by you if he was not in the wrong: nay, I need not be
judged by anybody, for he gave it up himself, and said not a word
when he saw me grow passionate but, 'Madam, you are perfectly in the
right of it:' as you shall judge--" " Nay, madam," said I, "I am
judge already, and tell you that you are perfectly in the wrong of
it; for if it was a matter of importance, I know he has better sense
than you; if a trifle, you know what I told you on your wedding day,
that you were to be above little provocations." She knows very well
I can be sour upon occasion, therefore gave me leave to go on.

"Sister," said I, "I will not enter into the dispute between you,
which I find his prudence put an end to before it came to extremity;
but charge you to have a care of the first quarrel, as you tender
your happiness; for then it is that the mind will reflect harshly
upon every circumstance that has ever passed between you. If such
an accident is ever to happen, which I hope never will, be sure to
keep the circumstance before you; make no allusions to what is
passed, or conclusions referring to what is to come; do not show a
hoard of matter for dissension in your breast; but, if it is
necessary, lay before him the thing as you understand it, candidly,
without being ashamed of acknowledging an error, or proud of being
in the right. If a young couple be not careful in this point they
will get into a habit of wrangling; and when to displease is thought
of no consequence, to please is always of as little moment. There
is a play, Jenny, I have formerly been at when I was a student; we
got into a dark corner with a porringer of brandy, and threw raisins
into it, then set it on fire. My chamber-fellow and I diverted
ourselves with the sport of venturing our fingers for the raisins;
and the wantonness of the thing was to see each other look like a
demon, as we burnt ourselves, and snatched out the fruit. This
fantastical mirth was called Snap-Dragon. You may go into many a
family, where you see the man and wife at this sport: every word at
their table alludes to some passage between themselves; and you see
by the paleness and emotion in their countenances that it is for
your sake and not their own that they forbear playing out the whole
game in burning each other's fingers. In this case, the whole
purpose of life is inverted, and the ambition turns upon a certain
contention, who shall contradict best, and not upon an inclination
to excel in kindnesses and good offices. Therefore, dear Jenny,
remember me, and avoid Snap-Dragon."

"I thank you, brother," said she, "but you do not know how he loves
me; I find I can do anything with him."--"If you can so, why should
you desire to do anything but please him? But I have a word or two
more before you go out of the room; for I see you do not like the
subject I am upon: let nothing provoke you to fall upon an
imperfection he cannot help; for, if he has a resenting spirit, he
will think your aversion as immovable as the imperfection with which
you upbraid him. But above all, dear Jenny, be careful of one
thing, and you will be something more than woman; that is, a levity
you are almost all guilty of, which is, to take a pleasure in your
power to give pain. It is even in a mistress an argument of
meanness of spirit, but in a wife it is injustice and ingratitude.
When a sensible man once observes this in a woman, he must have a
very great, or very little, spirit to overlook it. A woman ought,
therefore, to consider very often how few men there are who will
regard a meditated offence as a weakness of temper."

I was going on in my confabulation, when Tranquillus entered. She
cast all her eyes upon him with much shame and confusion, mixed with
great complacency and love, and went up to him. He took her in his
arms, and looked so many soft things at one glance that I could see
he was glad I had been talking to her, sorry she had been troubled,
and angry at himself that he could not disguise the concern he was
in an hour before. After which he says to me, with an air awkward
enough, but methought not unbecoming, "I have altered my mind,
brother; we will live upon you a day or two longer." I replied,
"That is what I have been persuading Jenny to ask of you, but she is
resolved never to contradict your inclination, and refused me."

We were going on in that way which one hardly knows how to express;
as when two people mean the same thing in a nice case, but come at
it by talking as distantly from it as they can; when very
opportunely came in upon us an honest, inconsiderable fellow, Tim
Dapper, a gentleman well known to us both. Tim is one of those who
are very necessary, by being very inconsiderable. Tim dropped in at
an incident when we knew not how to fall into either a grave or a
merry way. My sister took this occasion to make off, and Dapper
gave us an account of all the company he had been in to-day, who
was, and who was not at home, where he visited. This Tim is the
head of a species: he is a little out of his element in this town;
but he is a relation of Tranquillus, and his neighbour in the
country, which is the true place of residence for this species. The
habit of a Dapper, when he is at home, is a light broad-cloth, with
calamanco or red waistcoat and breeches; and it is remarkable that
their wigs seldom hide the collar of their coats. They have always
a peculiar spring in their arms, a wriggle in their bodies, and a
trip in their gait. All which motions they express at once in their
drinking, bowing or saluting ladies; for a distant imitation of a
forward fop, and a resolution to overtop him in his way, are the
distinguishing marks of a Dapper. These under-characters of men are
parts of the sociable world by no means to be neglected: they are
like pegs in a building; they make no figure in it, but hold the
structure together, and are as absolutely necessary as the pillars
and columns. I am sure we found it so this morning; for Tranquillus
and I should, perhaps, have looked cold at each other the whole day,
but Dapper fell in, with his brisk way, shook us both by the hand,
rallied the bride, mistook the acceptance he met with amongst us for
extraordinary perfection in himself, and heartily pleased, and was
pleased, all the while he stayed. His company left us all in good
humour, and we were not such fools as to let it sink before we
confirmed it by great cheerfulness and openness in our carriage the
whole evening.

XVII.--LOVE THAT WILL LIVE.

From my own Apartment, December 7.

My brother Tranquillus being gone out of town for some days, my
sister Jenny sent me word she would come and dine with me, and
therefore desired me to have no other company. I took care
accordingly, and was not a little pleased to see her enter the room
with a decent and matron-like behaviour, which I thought very much
became her. I saw she had a great deal to say to me, and easily
discovered in her eyes, and the air of her countenance, that she had
abundance of satisfaction in her heart, which she longed to
communicate. However, I was resolved to let her break into her
discourse her own way, and reduced her to a thousand little devices
and intimations to bring me to the mention of her husband. But,
finding I was resolved not to name him, she began of her own accord.

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