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exact rising and setting of the sun, may serve to direct the vulgar tradesman and mechanic when to open shop or go to work but persons of fashion, whose hours are not marked by the course of that luminary, are indifferent about its motions; and like those who live under the equinoctial line, have their days and nights of an equal degree of length all the year round. The red-letter days, pointed out in our common almanacs, may perhaps be observed by some formal ladies, who regulate their going to church by them: but people of quality perceive no difference between the moveable or immoveable feasts and fasts, and know no use of Sunday, but as it serves to call them to the card-table. What advantage can a beau reap from Rider's list of the fairs, which can only be of service to his groom? or what use can any gentleman or lady make of those diaries now inscribed to them, which are filled with algebra and the mathematics? In a word, the present uncouth way of dividing the months into saints days, Sundays, and the like, is no more adapted to the present modes of po, lite life, than the Roman division into Ides, Nonesand Calends.
Instead of supposing with the vulgar tribe of astro nomers, that the day begins at sunrise; my day, which will commence at the time that it usually breaks into fashionable apartments, will be determined by the rising of people of quality. Thus the morning dawns with early risers between eleven and twelve; and noon commences at four, when, at this time of the year, the dinner and wax-lights come in together..... For want of a thorough knowledge of the distribution of the day, all who have any connexion with the polite world might be guilty of many mistakes; and when an honest man from Cornhill, intended a nobleman a visit after dinner, he would perhaps find him sipping his morning chocolate. The inconveniences
of the old style in our manner of reckoning the days were so manifest, that it was thought proper to amend them by act of Parliament. I am resolved, in like manner to introduce the new style of dividing the hours into my almanac: for can any thing be more absurd than to fix the name of morning, noon, and evening, at present at the same hours, which bore those appellations in the reign of queen Elizabeth? A duchess is so far from dining at eleven, that it often happens, that her grace has not then opened her eyes on the tea-table; and a maid of honour would no more rise at five or six in the morning, as it was called by the early dames of queen Bess's court, than she would, in imitation of those dames, breakfast upon strong beer and beef steaks. Indeed, in those houses, where the hours of quality are observed by one part of the family, the impolite irregularity of the other, in adhering to the old style, occasions g reat disturbance: for as lady Townly says, "such a "house is worse than an inn with ten stage coaches. "What between the impertinent people of business "in a morning, and the intolerabie thick shoes of foot"men at noon, one has not a wink of sleep all night.”
The reformation, which I have also made in respect to the red-letter-days is no less considerable. I have not only wiped away that immense catalogue of saints, which crowd the popish calendar, but have also blotted out all the other saints, that still retain their places in our common almanacs: well knowing, that persons of fashion pay as little attention to the apostles and evangelists, as to St. Mildred, St. Bridget, or St. Winifred. Indeed, I retain the old name of St. John, because I am sure, that people of quality will not think of any body's being designed under that title, except the late lord Bolingbroke. Having thus discharged the saints, people whom nobody knows, I have taken care to introduce my readers into the
best company: for the red-letters in my calendar will serve to distinguish those days on which ladies of the first fashion keep their routs and visiting days; a work of infinite use, as well to the persons of distinction themselves, as to all those who have any intercourse with the polite world. That season of the year commonly distinguished by the appellation of Lent, which implies a time of fasting, I shall consider, according to its real signification in the beau monde, as a yearly festival; and shall, therefore mention it under the denomination of the Carnival. The propriety of this will be evident at first sight; since nothing is so plain,` as that, at this season, all kinds of diversion and jollity are at their height in this metropolis. Instead of the man in the almanac, I at first intended (in imitation of Mr. Dodsley's memorandum-book) to delineate the figure of a fine gentleman, dressed a la mode: but I was at length determined, by the advice of some ingenious friends, to suffer the old picture to remain there; since it appears to be run through the body in several places, it may not improperly represent that fashionable character, a duellist.
In the place, which is allotted in other almanacs for the change of weather, (as hail, frost, snow, cloudy, and the like) Ishall set down the change of dress, appropriated to different seasons, and ranged under the titles of hats, capuchins, cardinals, sacks, negligees, gauze handkerchiefs, ermine tippets, muffs, &c. and in a parallel column (according to the custom of other almanacs) I shall point out the several parts of the body affected by these changes: such as head, neck, breast, shoulders, face, hands, feet, legs, &c... And as Mr. Rider accompanies every month with seasonable cautions about sowing turnips, raising cabbages, blood-letting, and the like important articles, I shall give such directions, as are most suitable to the
beau monde: as a specimen of which I shall beg leave to lay before you the following:
MONTH OF MAY.
If the season proves favourable, it will be proper at the beginning of this month to attend to the cultivation of your public gardens. Trim your trees, put your walks in order, look to your lamps, have ballads written and set to music, for the ensuing summer...... Ladies and gentlemen must be careful not to catch cold in crossing the water, or by exposing themselves to the damp air in the Dark Walk at Vauxhall.
Towards the middle of this month the air at both play-houses will begin to be too close and sultry for ladies that paint, to risk the loss of their complexion in them.
About the end of this month it will be expedient for those ladies, who are apt to be hysterical when the town empties, to prepare for their removal to Tunbridge, Cheltenham, and Scarborough, for the benefit of the waters.
I am, Sir,
Your humble servant,
No. C. THURSDAY, DECEMBER 25.
Ilicet Parasiticæ arti maximam in malam crucem!
Let Tyburn take the flatterers and their arts;
To fools a maygame I, a man of parts:
Pull'd by the nose by one; I'm kick'd by t'other;
To Mr. Town.
I AM one of those idle people (of whom you have lately given an account) who not being bred to any business, or able to get a livelihood by work, have taken up the servile trade of a Hanger-on. But as you have only just touched on the many dangers and difficulties incident to this way of life, in order to illustrate this part of the character, give me leave to present you with a narrative of my own adventures.
I first served my time with an old nobleman in the country; and as I was a distant relation of his lordship's, I was admitted to the honour of attending him in the double capacity of valet and apothecary. My business in a morning was to wait on him at dressing time; to hold the bason while he washed his hands, buckle his shoes, and tie on his neckcloth: besides which, his lordship had such a regard for me, that nobody but myself was ever trusted with cutting his corns, or paring his toe nails; and whenever he was sick, it was always my office to hold his head during the operation of an emetic, to attend him in the watercloset when he took a cathartic, and sometimes to administer a clyster. If his lordship had no company, was, indeed, permitted to sit at table with him; but when he received any visitors more grand than ordi