Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

though never so beautiful, was not worth her | trious persons, or glorious actions, that are
board when she was past her blushing. This not commonly known, he is desired to send an
discourse naturally brings into my thoughts a account thereof to me, at J. Morphew's, and
letter I have received from the virtuous lady they shall have justice done them. At the
Whittlestick, on the subject of Lucretia. same time that I have this concern for men and
things that deserve reputation, and have it not,
I am resolved to examine into the claims of
such ancients and moderns as are in possession
of it, with a design to displace them, in case I
find their titles defective. The first whose me-
rits I shall inquire into, are some merry gen-
tlemen of the French nation, who have written
very advantageous histories of their exploits in
war, love, and politics, under the title of Me-
moirs. I am afraid I shall find several of these
gentlemen tardy, because I hear of them in no
writings but their own. To read the narrative
of one of these authors, you would fancy that
there was not an action in a whole campaigu
which he did not contrive or execute; yet, if
you consult the history or gazettes of those
times, you do not find him so much as at the
head of a party from one end of the summer
to the other. But it is the way of these great
men, when they lie behind their lines, and are
in a time of inaction, as they call it, to pass
away their time in writing their exploits. By
this means, several who are either unknown or
despised in the present age, will be famous in
the next, unless a sudden stop be put to such
pernicious practices. There are others of that
gay people, who, as I am informed, will live
half a year together in a garret, and write a
history of their intrigues in the court of France.
As for politicians, they do not abound with that
species of men so much as we; but as ours are
not so famous for writing, as for extemporary
dissertations in coffee-houses, they are more
annoyed with memoirs of this nature also than
we are. The most immediate remedy that I
can apply to prevent this growing evil, is,
That I do hereby give notice to all booksellers
and translators whatsoever, that the word
Memoir is French for a novel; and to require of
them that they sell and translate it accordingly.

From my tea-table,
Oct. 17.

• COUSIN ISAAC,

'I read your Tatler of Saturday last, and was surprised to see you so partial to your own sex, as to think none of ours worthy to sit at your first table; for sure you cannot but own Lucretia as famous as any you have placed there, who first parted with her virtue, and afterwards with her life, to preserve her fame.'

Mrs. Biddy Twig has written me a letter to the same purpose; but, in answer to both my pretty correspondents and kinswomen, I must tell them, that although I know Lucretia would have made a very graceful figure at the upper end of the table, I did not think it proper to place her there because I knew she would not care for being in the company of so many men without her husband. At the same time, I must own, that Tarquin himself was not a greater lover and admirer of Lucretia than I myself am in an honest way. When my sister Jenny was in her sampler, I made her get the whole story without book, and tell it me in needle-work. This illustrious lady stands up in history as the glory of her own sex, and the reproach of ours; and the circumstances under which she fell were so very particular, that they seem to make adultery and murder meritorious. She was a woman of such transcendant virtue, that her beauty, which was the greatest of the age and country in which she lived, and is generally celebrated as the highest of praise in other women, is never mentioned as a part of her character. But it would be declaiming to dwell upon so celebrated a story, which I mentioned only in respect to my kinswomen; and to make reparation for the omission they complain of, do further promise them, that if they can furnish me with instances to fill it, there shall be a small tea-table set a-part in my Palace of Fame for the reception of all of her character.

Grecian Coffee-house, October 21.

I was this evening communicating my design of producing obscure merit into public view; and proposed to the learned, that they would please to assist me in the work. For the same end I publish my intention to the world that all men of liberal thoughts may know they have an opportunity of doing justice to such worthy persons as have come within their respective observation, and who, by misfortune, modesty, or want of proper writers to recommend them, have escaped the notice of the rest of mankind. If, therefore, any one can bring any tale or tidings of illus

Will's Coffee-house, October 21.

Coming into this place to night, I met an old friend of mine, who, a little after the restoration, writ an epigram with some applause, which he has lived upon ever since; and by virtue of it, has been a constant frequenter of this coffee-house for forty years. He took me aside, and with a great deal of friendship told me he was glad to see me alive, 'for,' said he, Mr. Bickerstaff, I am sorry to find you have raised many enemies by your lucubrations. There are, indeed, some,' says he, whose enmity is the greatest honour they can shew a man; but have you lived to these years, and do not know that the ready way to disoblige is to give advice? you may endeavour to guara your children, as you call them; but He

"

[ocr errors]

was going on; but I found the disagreeable- | are perfectly in the wrong of it; for if it was a ness of giving advice without being asked, by my own impatience of what he was about to say: in a word, I begged him to give me the hearing of a short fable.

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.

·

"

'A gentleman,' says I, who was one day slumbering in an arbour, was on a sudden awakened by the gentle biting of a lizard, a little animal remarkable for its love to mankind. He threw it from his hand with some indignation, and was rising up to kill it, when he saw a huge venemous serpent sliding towards him on the other side, which he soon destroyed; reflecting afterwards with gratitude upon his friend that saved him, and with anger against himself, that had shown so little sense of a good office.'

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 to 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, 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 dæmon, as we burnt ourselves, and snatched out the fruit. This fantastical mirth was called snapYou 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 kindness 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 any thing with him.'-' If you can so, why should you desire to do any thing 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 immoveable as the imperfection with which you upbraid him. But above all, dear Jenny, be careful of one

No. 85.] Tuesday, October 25, 1709.

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 ask-I ing 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 been lately in a pas-dragon. sion, 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, Jenuy,' 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 any body, 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

"

6

·

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 apon 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 be 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.'

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 abso-
lutely necessary as the pillars and columns.
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 per-
fection in himself, and heartily pleased, and
was pleased, all the while he staid. His com-
pany left us all in good humour, and we were
not such fools as to let it sink, before we con-
firmned it by great cheerfulness and openness
in our carriage the whole evening.

White's Chocolate-house, October 24.

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 Jodies, and a trip in their gate. All which motions they express at once in their drinking, Sowing, or saluting ladies; for a distant imi-I need not tell you this lady's head is a little tation of a forward fop, and a resolution to turned: however, to be rid of importunities, I promised her an epitaph, and told her I would take for my pattern that of Don Alouzo, who was no less famous in his age than Cynthio is

I have been this evening to visit a lady who is a relation of the enamoured Cynthio, and there heard the melancholy news of his death. I was in hopes, that fox-hunting and October would have recovered him from his unhappy passion. He went into the country with a design to leave behind him all thoughts of Clarissa; but he found that place only more convenient to think of her without interruption. The country gentlemen were very much puzzled upon his case, and never finding hims merry or loud in their company, took him for a Roman Catholic, and immediately upon his death seized his French valet-de-chambre for a priest; and it is generally thought in the country, it will go hard with him next session. Poor Cynthio never held up his head after having received a letter of Clarissa's marriage. The lady who gave me this account, being far gone in poetry and romance, told me, ‘if I would give her an epitaph, she would take care to have it placed on his tomb; which she herself had devised in the following manner. It is to be made of black marble, and every corner to be crowned with weeping cupids. Their quivers are to be hung up upon two tall cypresstrees, which are to grow on each side on the monument, and their arrows to be laid in a great heap, after the manner of a funeral pile, on which is to lie the body of the deceased. On the top of each cypress is to stand the figure of a moaning turtle-dove. On the uppermost part of the monument, the goddess, to whom these birds are sacred, is to sit in a dejected posture, as weeping for the death of her votary.'

in ours.

The following account of Tim Dapper seems to be given as a true picture of the character and dress of a Country bean or smart in 1709.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

The Epitaph.*

Here lies Don Alonzo,

Slain by a wound received under his left pap;

the orifice of which was so
small, no surgeon could
discover it.
Reader;

if thou would'st avoid so strange a death, look not upon Lucinda's eyes.

No. 86.] Thursday, October 27, 1709.

From my own Apartment, October 25. WHEN I came home last night, my servant delivered me the following letter:

SIR,

October 24.

'I have orders from sir Harry Quickset, of Staffordshire, baronet, to acquaint you, that his honour sir Harry himself, sir Giles Wheelbarrow, knight, Thomas Rentfree, esquire, justice of the quorum, Andrew Windmill, esquire, and Mr. Nicholas Doubt, of the Inner Temple, sir Harry's grandson, will wait upon you at the hour of nine to-morrow morning, being Tuesday the twenty-fifth of October, upon business which sir Harry will impart to you by word of mouth. I thought it proper to acquaint you before-hand so many persons of quality came, that you might not be surprised therewith. Which concludes, though by many years' absence since I saw you at Stafford, unknown, " Sir, your most humble servant,

'JOHN THRIFTY.

I received this message with less surprise than I believe Mr. Thrifty imagined; for I knew the good company too well to feel any palpitations at their approach: but I was in very great concern how I should adjust the ceremonial, and demean myself to all these great men, who perhaps had not seen any thing above themselves for these twenty years last past. I am sure that is the case of sir Harry. Besides which, I was sensible that there was a great point in adjusting my behaviour to the simple squire, so as to give him satisfaction, and not disoblige the justice of the quorum.

The hour of nine was come this morning, and I had no sooner set chairs, by the steward's letter, and fixed my tea-equipage, but I heard a knock at my door, which was opened, but no one entered; after which followed a long silence, which was broke at last by, 'Sir, I beg your pardon; I think I know better?' and another voice, nay, good sir Giles-' I looked out from my window, and saw the good company all with their hats off, and arms spread, offering

"

the door to each other. After many offers, they entered with much solemnity, in the order Mr. Thrifty was so kind as to name them to me. But they are now got to my chamberdoor, and I saw my old friend sir Harry enter. I met him with all the respect due to so reverend a vegetable; for, you are to know, that is my sense of a person who remains idle in the same place for half a century. I got him with great success into his chair by the fire, without throwing down any of my cups. The knight-bachelor told me he had a great respect for my whole family, and would, with my leave, place himself next to sir Harry, at whose right hand he had sat at every quarter sessions these thirty years, unless he was sick. The steward in the rear whispered the young Templar, That is true, to my knowledge.' I had the misfortune, as they stood cheek-by-jowl, ta desire the squire to sit down before the justice of the quorum, to the no small satisfaction of the former, and resentment of the latter. But I saw my error too late, and got them as soon as I could into their seats. 'Well,' said I, 'gentlemen, after I have told you how glad I am of this great honour, I am to desire you to drink a dish of tea.' The answered one and all, that they never drank tea in a morning.'Not in a morning!' said I, staring round me. Upon which the pert jackanapes, Nic Doubt, tipped me the wink, and put out his tongue at his grandfather. Here followed a profound silence, when the steward in his boots and whip proposed, that we should adjourn to some public-house, where every body might call for what they pleased, and enter upon the business.' We all stood up in an instant, and sir Harry filed off from the left, very discreetly, countermarching behind the chairs towards the door. After him, sir Giles in the same manner. The simple squire made a sudden start to follow; but the justice of the quorum whipped between upon the stand of the stairs. A maid, going up with coals, made us halt, and put us into such confusion, that we stood all in a heap, without any visible possibility of recovering our order; for the young jackanapes seemed to make a jest of this matter, and had so contrived, by pressing amongst us, under pretence of making way, that his grandfather was got into the middle, and he knew nobody was of quality to stir a step, until sir Harry moved first. We were fixed in this perplexity for some time, until we heard a very loud noise in the street; and sir Harry asking what it was, I, to make them move, said, 'it was fire. Upon this, all ran down as fast as they could, without order or ceremony, until we got into the street, where we drew up in very good order, and filed off down Sheer-lane; the impertinent templar driving us before him, as in a string, and pointing to his acquaintance who passed by.

·

* This is a quotation from a letter of Sir John Suckling. See his Works, vol. 1. p. 143. edit. Davies.

[ocr errors]

and the great guardian of innocence. It makes
men amiable to their friends, and respected by
their very enemies. In all places, and on all
occasions, it attracts benevolence, and demands
approbation.'

·

I must confess, I love to use people accordmg to their own sense of good breeding, and therefore whipped in between the justice and the simple squire. He could not properly take this ill; but I overheard him whisper the steward, that he thought it hard, that a tommon conjurer should take place of him, though an elder squire.' In this order we marched down Sheer-lane, at the upper end of which I lodge. When we came to Temple-bar, sir Harry and sir Giles got over; but a run of the coaches kept the rest of us on this side of the street; however, we all at last landed, and drew up in very good order before Ben Tooke's shop, who favoured our rallying with great humanity; from whence we proceeded again, until we came to Dick's coffee-house, where I designed to carry them. Here we were at our old difficulty, and took up the street upon the same ceremony. We proceeded through the entry, and were so necessarily kept in order by the situation, that we were now got into the coffee-house itself, where, as soon as we arrived, we repeated our civilities to each other; after which, we marched up to the high table, which has an ascent to it inclosed in the middle of the room. The whole house was alarmed at this entry, made up of persons of so much state and rusticity. Sir Harry called for a mug of ale and Dyer's Letter. The boy brought the ale in an instant; but said, 'they did not take in the Letter.' "No" says sir Harry, then take back your mug; we are like indeed to have good liquor at this house!' Here the templar tipped me a second wink, and, if I had not looked very grave upon him, I found he was disposed to be very familiar with me. In short, I observed after a long pause, that the gentlemen did not care to enter upon business until after their morning draught, for which reason I called for a bottle of mum; and finding that had no effect upon them, I ordered a second, and a third, after which sir Harry reached over to me, and told me in a low voice, that the place was too public for business; but he would call upon me again to-morrow morning at my own lodgings, and bring some more friends with him.'

<

6

One might give instances, out of antiquity
of the irresistible force of this quality in great
minds; Cicereius, and Cneius Scipio, the son
of the great Africanus, were competitors for
the office of prætor. The crowd followed Cice-
reius, aud left Scipio unattended. Cicercius
saw this with much concern; and desiring an
audience of the people, he descended from the
place where the candidates were to sit, in the
eye of the multitude; pleaded for his adversary;
and, with an ingenuous modesty, which it is
impossible to feign, represented to them, 'how
much it was to their dishonour, that a virtuous
son of Africanus should not be preferred to
him, or any other man whatsoever.' This im-
mediately gained the election for
io; but
all the compliments and congratulations upon
it were made to Cicereius. It is easier in this
case to say who had the office, than the honour.
There is no occurrence in life where this qua-
lity is not more ornamental than any other.
After the battle of Pharsalia, Pompey marching
towards Larissus, the whole people of that
place came out in procession to do him honour,
He thanked the magistrates for their respect
to him; but desired them to perform these
ceremonies to the conqueror.' This gallant
submission to his fortune, and disdain of
making any appearance but like Pompey, was
owing to his modesty, which would not permit
him to be so disingenuous, as to give himself
the air of prosperity, when he was in the con-
trary condition.

6

This I say of modesty, as it is the virtue which preserves a decorum in the general course of our life; but, considering it also as it regards our mere bodies, it is the certain character of a great mind. It is memorable of the mighty Cæsar, that when he was murdered in the capitol, at the very moment in which he expired he gathered his robe about him, that he might fall in a decent posture. In this manner, says my author, he went off, not like a man that departed out of life, but a deity that returned to his abode.

Will's Coffee-house, October 26. Though this place is frequented by a more mixed company than it used to be formerly; yet you meet very often some whom one cannot leave without being the better for their conversation. A gentleman this evening, in a dictating manner, talked, I thought, very pleasingly in praise of modesty, in the midst of ten or twelve libertines, upon whom it seemed to have had a good effect. He represented it as the certain indication of a great and noble spirit. Modesty,' said he,' is the virtue which makes men prefer the public to their private interest, the guide of every honest undertaking,

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« PredošláPokračovať »