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seldomer than other people, and by consequence not so much lengthening the fibres of my visage, I am not at leisure to determine. However it be, I have been often put out of countenance by the shortness of my face,' and was formerly at great pains in concealing it by wearing a periwig with a high fore-top, and letting my beard grow. But now I have thoroughly got over this delicacy, and could be contented with a much shorter, provided it might qualify me for a member of the merry club, which the following letter gives me an account of. I have received it from Oxford, and as it abounds with the spirit of mirth and good humour, which is natural to that place, I shall set it down word for word as it came to me. “ Most Profound Sir,

Having been very well entertained, in the last of your speculations that I have yet seen, by your specimen upon clubs, which I therefore hope you will continue, I shall take the liberty to furnish you with a brief account of such a one as, perhaps, you have not seen in all your travels, unless it was your fortune to touch upon some of the woody parts of the African continent, in your voyage to or from Grand Cairo. There have arose in this university (long since you left us without saying anything) several of these inferior hebdomadal societies, as the Punning Club, the Witty Club, and, amongst the rest, the Handsome Club; as a burlesque upon which, a certain merry species that seem to have come into the world in masquerade, for some years last past have associated themselves together, and assumed the name of the Ugly Club. This ill-favoured fraternity consists of a president and twelve fellows; the choice of which is not confined by patent to any particular foundation (as St. John's men would have the world believe, and have therefore erected a separate society within themselves), but liberty is left to elect from any school in Great Britain, provided the candidates be within the rules of the club, as set forth in a table entitled, 'The Act of Deformity', a clause or two of which I shall transmit to you.

1 This was made use of by the savage John Dennis in his attack on Steele, who had, he said, “a shape like the picture of somebody over a farmer's chimney". Steele vanquished his surly critic with the suavest good humour.

“1. That no person whatsoever shall be admitted without a visible queerity in his aspect, or peculiar cast of countenance; of which the president and officers for the time being are to determine, and the president to have the casting voice.

“II. That a singular regard be had upon examination to the gibbosity of the gentlemen that offer themselves as founder's kinsmen; or to the obliquity of their figure, in what sort soever.

“III. That if the quantity of any man's nose be eminently miscalculated, whether as to length or breadth, he shall have a just pretence to be elected.

“Lastly, That if there shall be two or more competitors for the same vacancy, cæteris paribus, he that has the thickest skin to have the preference.'

“Every fresh member, upon his first night, is to entertain the company with a dish of cod-fish, and a speech in praise of Æsop, whose portraiture they have in full proportion, or rather disproportion, over the chimney; and their design is, as soon as their funds are sufficient, to purchase the heads of Thersites, Duns Scotus?, Scarron, Hudibras”, and the old gentleman in Oldham, with all the celebrated ill faces of antiquity, as furniture for the club-room.

1 The disciples of Aquinas maligned the personal appearance as well as the doctrines of Duns Scotus.

2 Admitted to the club for the sake of his beard, which was a mixture of whey, orange, and grey.

3 Ignatius Loyola as described in the third of the Satires upon the Jesuits by John Oldham, 1679.

“As they have always been professed admirers of the other sex, so they unanimously declare that they will give all possible encouragement to such as will take the benefit of the statute, though none yet have appeared to do it.

“The worthy president, who is their most devoted champion, has lately shown me two copies of verses, composed by a gentleman of his society; the first, a congratulatory ode, inscribed to Mrs. Touchwood, upon the loss of her two fore-teeth; the other, a panegyric upon Mrs. Andiron's left shoulder. Mrs. Vizard, he says, since the small-pox, has grown tolerably ugly, and a top toast in the club; but I never heard him so lavish of his fine things as upon old Nell Trot, who constantly officiates at their table; her he even adores and extols as the very counterpart of Mother Shipton; in short, Nell, says he, is one of the extraordinary works of nature; but as for complexion, shape, and features, so valued by others, they are all mere outside and symmetry, which is his aversion. Give me leave to add that the president is a facetious, pleasant gentleman, and never more so than when he has got (as he calls them) his dear mummers about him; and he often protests it does him good to meet a fellow with a right genuine grimace in his air (which is so agreeable in the generality of the French nation); and, as an instance of his sincerity in this particular, he gave me a sight of a list in his pocket-book of all this class, who for these five years have fallen under his observation, with himself at the head of them, and in the rear (as one of a promising and improving aspect), Sir, “Your obliged and humble servant,

"ALEXANDER CARBUNCLE. “OXFORD, March 12, 1710."

XII. SIR ROGER AND THE WIDOW.

Hærent infixi pectore vultus.–Virg. Æn. iv. 4.

Her looks were deep imprinted in his heart.

IN

N my first description of the company in which I pass

most of my time, it may be remembered that I mentioned a great affliction which my friend Sir Roger had met with in his youth, which was no less than a disappointment in love. It happened this evening that we fell into a very pleasing walk at a distance from his house. As soon as we came into it, “It is,” quoth the good old man, looking round him with a smile, “very hard that any part of my land should be settled upon one who has used me so ill as the perverse widow did; and yet I am sure I could not see a sprig of any bough of this whole walk of trees, but I should reflect upon her and her severity. She has certainly the finest hand of any woman in the world. You are to know this was the place wherein I used to muse upon her; and by that custom I can never come into it, but the same tender sentiments revive in my mind as if I had actually walked with that beautiful creature under these shades. I have been fool enough to carve her name on the bark of several of these trees; so unhappy is the condition of men in love to attempt the removing of their passion by the methods which serve only to imprint it deeper. She has certainly the finest hand of any woman in the world.”

Here followed a profound silence; and I was not displeased to observe my friend falling so naturally into a discourse, which I had ever before taken notice he industriously avoided. After a very long pause, he entered

1 It has been conjectured that the widow-and also, with less probability, the sweetheart alluded to in Tatler 181—was Mrs. Catherine Bovey, to whom Steele dedicated the second volume of his Lady's Library. (M 249)

I

upon an account of this great circumstance in his life, with an air which I thought raised my idea of him above what I had ever had before; and gave me the picture of that cheerful mind of his before it received that stroke which has ever since affected his words and actions. But he went on as follows:

“I came to my estate in my twenty-second year, and resolved to follow the steps of the most worthy of my ancestors who have inhabited this spot of earth before me, in all the methods of hospitality and good neighbourhood, for the sake of my fame; and in country sports and recreations, for the sake of my health. In my twenty-third year, I was obliged to serve as Sheriff of my county; and in my servants, officers, and whole equipage, indulged the pleasure of a young man (who did not think ill of his own person) in taking that public occasion of showing my figure and behaviour to advantage. You may easily imagine to yourself what appearance I made, who am pretty tall, rode well, and was very well dressed, at the head of a whole county, with music before me, a feather in my hat, and my horse well bitted. I can assure you I was not a little pleased with the kind looks and glances I had from all the balconies and windows as I rode to the hall where the assizes were held. But when I came there, a beautiful creature, in a widow's habit, sat in court to hear the event of a cause concerning her dower. This commanding creature (who was born for the destruction of all who beheld her) put on such a resignation in her countenance, and bore the whispers of all around the court with such a pretty uneasiness, I warrant you, and then recovered herself from one eye to another, until she was perfectly confused by meeting something so wistful in all she encountered, that at last, with a murrain to her, she cast her bewitching eye upon me. I no sooner met it but I bowed, like a

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