« AnteriorContinuar »
For the encouragement of him and others, I shall offer to their consideration a letter which gives me an account of the revival of one of their brethren.
December 31. “I HAVE perused your Tatler of this day, and « have wept over it with great pleasure; I wish you “ would be more frequent in your family pieces. For “ as I consider you under the notion of a great de« signer, I think these are not your least valuable per6 formances. I am glad to find you have given over “ your face-painting for some time, because I think "you have employed yourself more in grotesque fig“ ures than in beauties; for which reason I would ra“ther see you work upon history-pieces, than on single “ portraits. Your several draughts of dead men ap
pear to me as pictures of still-life, and have done
great good in the place where I live. The 'squire « of a neighbouring village, who had been a long time « in the number of non-entities, is entirely recovered “ by them. For these several years past, there was “ not an hare in the county that could be at rest for “ him; and I think, the greatest exploit he ever boast
ed of, was, that when he was high-sheriff of the county, he hunted a fox so far, that he could not fol“ low him any further by the laws of the land. All “ the hours he spent at home, were in swelling him“self with October, and rehearsing the wonders he “ did in the field. Upon reading your papers, he has “ sold his dogs, shook off his dead companions, looked “ into his estate, got the multiplication-table by beart,
paid his tithes, and intends to take upon him the “Office of church-warden next year. I wish the same success with
your other patients, and am, &c.
Ditto, January 9. WHEN I came home this evening a very tight middle-age woman presented to me the following petition :
70 the Worshipful Isaac Bickerstal, Esq. Censor of
The humble petition of Penelope Prim, Widow.
“ THAT your petitioner was bred a clear-star“cher and sempstress, and for many years worked to “the Exchange, and to several aldermen's wives, law“yers' clerks, and merchants' apprentices.
“ That through the scarcity caused by regrators of “ bread-corn, (of which starch is made) and the gen“try's immoderate frequenting the operas, the ladies, « to save charges, have their heads washed at home, " and the beaus put out their linen to common lan« dresses. So that your petitioner has little or no work 6 at her trade: for want of which she is reduced to 66 such necessity, that she and her seven fatherless chil“dren must inevitably perish, unless relieved by your “ worship
“ That your petitioner is informed, that in contempt " of your judgment pronounced on Tuesday the 3d “ instants against the new-fashioned petticoat, or old66 fashioned fardingal, the ladies design to go on in that « dress. And since it is presumed your worship will “ not suppress them by force, your petitioner humbly “ desires you would order, that ruffs may be added to “the dress; and that she may be heard by her coun“sel, who has assured your petitioner, he has such
cogent reasons to offer to your court, that ruffs and “ fardirgals are inseparable, that he questions not but “two thirds of the greatest beauties about town will 6 have cambrick collars on their necks before the end of
“ Easter terin next. He further says, that the design " of our great grandmothers in this petticoat, was to "appear much bigger than the life; for which reason " they had false shoulder-blades, like wings, and the “ruff above-mentioned, to make their upper and low"er parts of their bodies appear proportionable; “ whereas the figure of a woman in the present dress, "bears (as he calls il) the figure of a cone, which (as "he advises) is the same with that of a extinguisher, “with a little knob at the upper end, and widening "downward, till it end in a basis of a most enormous ki circumference.
Your petitioner therefore most humbly prays, that "you would restore the ruff to the fardingal, which “ in their nature ought to be as inseparable as the two “ Hungarian twins.
“ And your petitioner shall ever pray.”
I have examined into the allegations of this petition, and find, by several ancient pictures of my own predecessors, particularly that of dame Deborah Bickerstaff, my great grandmother, that the ruff and fardingal are made use of as absolutely necessary to preserve the symmetry of the figure; and Mrs. Pyramid Bickerstaff, her second sister, is recorded in our family book, with some observations to her disadvantage, as the first female of our house that discovered, to any besides her nurse and her husband, an inch below her chin, or above her instep. The convinces me of the reasonableness of Mrs. Prim's demand; and therefore I shall not allow the reviving of any one part of that ancient mode, except the whole is complied with. Mrs. Prim is therefore hereby impowered to carry home ruffs to such as she shall see in the above mentioned petticoats, and require payment on demand.
“ Mr. Bickerstaff has under consideration the offer s from the corporation of Colchester of four hundred
* pounds per annum, to be paid quarterly, provided " that all his dead persons shall be obliged to wear the “bays of that place.”
Sheer-lane, January Fly. I HAVE lately applied myself with much sätes. faction to the curious discoveries that have been made by the help of microscopes, as they are related by authors of our own and other nations. There is a great deal of pleasure in prying into this world of woun ders, which nature has laid out of sight, and seems un dustrious to conceal from us. Philosophy had ranged. over all the visible creation, and began to want objects for her enquiries, when the present age, by the invention of glasses, opened a new and inexhaustible magázine of rarities, more wonderful and amazing than any of those which astonished our forefathers. I was yesterday amusing myself with speculations of this kind, and reflecting upon myriads of animals that swim in those little seas of juices that are contained in the se-: veral vessels of an human body. While my mind was thus filled with that secret wonder and delight, I could not but look upon myself as in an act of devotion,'anil am very well pleased with the thought of a great heathen anatomist, who calls his description of the parts of an human body, “ an hymn to the Supreme Being.” The reading of the day produced in my imagination an agreeable morning's dream, if I may call it such; for I am still in doubt whether it passed in my sleeping or waking thoughts. However it was, I fancied that
my good genius stood at my bed's head, and entertained me with the following discourse: for upon my rising, it dwelt so strongly upon me, tha: I wrote down the substance of it, if not the very words.
If (said he) you can be so transported with those productions of nature, which are discovered to you by those artificial eyes that are the works of human invention, how great will your surprize be, when you shall have it in your power to model your own eye as you please, and adapt it to the bulk of objects, which, with all these helps, are by infinite degrees too minute for your perception. We who are unbodied spirits can sharpen our sight to what degree we think fit, and make the least work of the creation distinct and visible. This gives us such ideas as cannot possibly enter into your present conceptions. There is not the least particle of matter which may not furnish one of us suthcient employment for a whole eternity. We can still divide it, and still open it, and still discover new wonders of Providence, as we look into the different texture of its parts, and meet with beds of vegetables, minerals, and metallic mixtures, and several kinds of animals that lie hid, and as it were lost in such an endless fund of matter. I find you are surprised at this discourse; but as your reason tells you there are infinite parts in the smallest portion of matter, it will likewise convince you, that there is as great a variety of secrets, and as much room for discoveries in a particle no bigger than the point of a pin, as in the globe of the whole earth. Your microscopes bring to sight shoals of living creatures in a spoonful of vinegar; but we who can distinguish them in their different
magni. tudes, see among them several huge Leviathans that terrify the little fry of animals about them, and take their pastime as in an ocean, or the great deep. I could not but smile at this part of his relation, and told him, I doubted not but he could give me the history of several invisible giants, accompanied with their