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there is so little pleasure in inquiries that so nearly I have indulged my silence to such an extravagance concern ourselves (it being the worst way in the that the few who are intiinate with me answer my world to fame, to be too anxious about it) that upon smiles with concurrent sentences, and argue to the the whole I resolved for the future to go on in my very point I shaked my head at, without my speakordinary way; and without too much fear or hope ing. Will Honeycomb was very entertaining the about the business of reputation, to be very careful other night at a play, to a gentleman who sat on his of the design of. my actions, but very negligent of right hand, while I was at bis left. The gentleman the consequences of them.
believed Will was talking to himself, when upon my It is an endless and frivolous pursuit to act by | looking with great approbation at a young thing in a any other rule, than the care of satisfying our own box before us, he said, “I am quite of another opinion. minds in what we do. One would think a silent She has, I will allow, a very pleasing aspect, but, meman, who concerned himself with no one breathing, thinks, that simplicity in her countenance is rather should be very little liable to misrepresentations; childish than innocent.” When I observed her a second and yet I remember I was once taken up for a Je- time, he said, “I grant her dress is very becoming, suit, for no other reason but my profound taciturnity. but perhaps the merit of that choice is owing to her It is from this misfortune, that, to be out of harm's mother; for though,” continued he," “I allow a way, I have ever since affected crowds. He who beauty to be as much to be commended for the elecomes into assemblies only to gratify his curiosity, gance of her dress, as a wit for that of his language, and not to make a figure, enjoys the pleasures of yet if she has stolen the colour of her ribands from retirement in a more exquisite degree than he pos- another, or had advice about her trimmings, I shall sibly could in his closet: the lover, the ambitious, not allow her the praise of dress, any more than I and the miser, are followed thither by a worse crowd would call a plagiary an author.” When I threw than any they can withdraw from. To be exempt my eye towards the next woman to her, Will spoke from the passions with which others are tormented, what I looked, according to his romantic imaginais the only pleasing solitude. I can very justly say tion, in the following manner: with the sage, “I am never less alone than when “Behold, you who dare, that charming virgin ; alone.”
behold the beauty of her person chastised by the inAs I am insignificant to the company in public nocence of her thoughts. "Chastity, good-nature, and places, and as it is visible I do not come thither as affability, are the graces that play in her countemost do, to show myself, I gratify the vanity of all Dance; she knows she is handsome, but she knows who pretend to make an appearance, and have often she is good. Conscious beauty adorned with conas kind looks from well-dressed gentlemen and la scious virtue! What a spirit is there in those eyes! dics, as a poet would bestow upon one of his au- What a bloom in that person! How is the whole dience. There are so many gratifications attend woman expressed in her appearance ! Her air has this public sort of obscurity, that some little dis- the beauty of motion, and her look the force of tastes I daily receive have lost their anguish; and I language." did, the other day, without the least displeasure, It was prudence to turn away my eyes from this overhear one say of me, "that strange fellow;" and object, and therefore I turned them to the thought. another answer, “I have known the fellow's face less creatures who make up the lump of that sex, and these twelve years, and so must you; but I believe move a knowing eye no more than the portraiture you are the first ever asked who be was.” There of insignificant people by ordinary painters, which are, I must confess, many to whom my person is as are but pictures of pictures. well known as that of their nearest relations, who Thus ihe working of my own mind is the general give themselves no farther trouble about calling me entertainment of my life: I never enterinto the comby my name or quality, but speak of me very cur-merce of discourse with any but my particular friends, rently by the appellation of Mr. What-d'ye-call-him. and not in public even with them. Such a habit has
To make up for these trivial disadvantages, I have perhaps raised in me uncommon reflections; but this the highest satisfaction of beholding all nature with effect I cannot communicate but by my writings. an unprejudiced eye; and having nothing to do with As my pleasures are almost wholly confined to those men's passions or interests, I can, with the greater of the sight, I take it for a peculiar happiness that I sagacity, consider their talents, manners, failings, have always had an easy and familiar admittance to and merits.
the fair sex. If I never praised or flattered, I never It is remarkable, that those who want any one belied or contradicted them. As these compose half sense, possess the others with greater force and vi- the world, and are, by the just complaisance and vacity. Thus my want of, or rather resignation of gallantry of our nation, the more powerful part of speech, gives me the advantages of a dumb man. I our people, I shall dedicate a considerable share of have, methinks, a more than ordinary penetration in these my speculations to their service, and shall lead seeing; and flatter myself that I have looked into the young through all the becoming duties of virthe highest and lowest of mankind, and made shrewd ginity, marriage, and widowhood. When it is a guesses, without being admitted to their conversa-woman's day, in my works, I shall endeavour at a tion, at the inmost thoughts and reflections of all style and air suitable to their understanding. When whom I behold. It is froin hence that good or ill I say this, I must be understood to mean, that I shall fortune bas no manner of force towards affecting my not lower but exalt the subjects I treat upon. Disjudgment. I see men flourishing in courts, and lan. course for their entertainment is not to be debased, guishing in jails, without being prejudiced, from but refined. A man may appear learned without their circumstances, to their favour or disadvantage; talking sentences, as in his ordinary gesture he dis but from their inward manner of bearing their con- covers he can dance, though he does not cut capers. dition, often pity the prosperous, and admire the In a word, I shall take it for the greatest glory of my unhappy.
work, if among reasonable women this paper may Those who converse with the dumb, know from furnish tea-table talk. In order to it, I shall treat the turn of their eyes, and the changes of their coun- on matters which relate to females, as they are con. tenance, their sentiments of the objects before them. I cerned to approach or fly from the other sex, or as
they are tied to them by blood, interest, or affection. I a nearer inquiry I found the sparrows put the same Upon this occasion I think it but reasonable to de- trick upon the audience that Sir Martin Mar-all. clare, that whatever skill I may have in speculation, practised upon his mistress; for though they flew in I shall never betray what the eyes of lovers say to sight, the music proceeded from a concert of flagco. each other in my presence. At the same time I shall lets and bird.calls, which were planted behind the not think myself obliged by this promise to conceal scenes. At the same time I made this discovery, I any false protestations which I observe made by found by the discourse of the actors, that there were glances in public assemblies · but endeavour to make great designs on foot for the improvement of the both sexes appear in their conduct what they are in opera; that it had been proposed to break down a their hearts. By this means, love, during the time part of the wall, and to surprise the audience with a of my speculations, shall be carried on with the party of a hundred horse, and that there was actually same sincerity as any other affair of less considera- a project of bringing the New-river into the house, tion. As this is the greatest concern, men shall be to be employed in jets-d'eau and water-works. This from benceforth liable to the greatest reproach for project, as I have since heard, is postponed till the misbehaviour in it. Falsehood in love shall here- summer season, when it is thougbt the coolness that after bear a blacker aspect than infidelity in friend-proceeds from fountains and cascades will be more ship, or villainy in business. For this great and acceptable and refreshing to people of quality. In good end, all breaches against that noble passion, the mean time, to find out a more agreeable enterthe cement of society, shall be severely examined. tainment for the winter season, the opera of Rinaldo But this, and all other matters loosely hinted at now, is filled with thunder and lightning, illuminations and in my former papers, shall have their proper and fire-works, which the audience may look upon place in my following discourses. The present writing without catching cold, and indeed without much is only to admonish the world, that they sball not danger of being burnt; for there are several engines find me an idle but a busy Spectator.-R.
filled with water, and ready to play at a minute's warning, in case any such accident should happen.
However, as I have a very great friendship for the No. 5.1 TUESDAY, MARCH 6, 1710-11.
owner of this theatre, I hope that he has been wise Spectatum admissi risum teneatis ?-Hor. Ars. Poet. ver. 5. enough to insure his house before he would let this · Admitted to the sight, would you not laugh?
opera be acted in it. An opera may be allowed to be extravagantly la. It is no wonder that those scenes should be very vish in its decorations, as its only design is to gratify surprising, which were contrived by two poets of the senses, and keep up an indolent attention in the different nations, and raised by two magicians of difaudience. Common sense however requires, that ferent sexes. Armida (as we are told in the arguthere should be nothing in the scenes and machines ment) was an Amazonian enchantress, and poor which may appear childish and absurd. How Signior Cassani (as we learn from the persons rewould the wits of King Charles's time have laughed presented) a Christian conjuror (Mago Christiano). to have seen Nicolini exposed to a tempest in robes I must confess I am very much puzzled to find how of ermine, and sailing in an open boat upon a sea an Amazon should be versed in the black art, or how of pasteboard ? What a field of raillery would a good Christian, for such is the part of the magician, they have been led into, had they been entertained should deal with the devil. with painted dragons spitting wildfire, enchanted To consider tbe poet after the conjurers, I shall chariots drawn by Flanders' mares, and real cas- give you a taste of the Italian from the first lines of cades in artificial landscapes ? A little skill in cri- his preface : “Eccoti, benigno lettore, un parto di ticisin would inform us, that shadows and realities poche sere, che se ben nato di notte, non è però aborto ought not to be mixed together in the same piece ; di tenebre, ma si farà conoscere figlio d'Apollo con and that the scenes which are designed as the repre-qualche raggio di Parnasse :” “Behold, gentle reader, sentations of nature should be filled with resemblances, the birth of a few evenings, which, though it be the and not with the things themselves. If one would offspring of the night, is not the abortive of darkrepresent a wide champaign country filled with herds ness, but will make itself known to be the son of and flocks, it would be ridiculous to draw the country Apollo, with a certain ray of Parnassus." He afteronly upon the scenes, and to crowd several parts of wards proceeds to call Mynheer Handel the Orpheus the stage with sheep and oxen. This is joining to- of our age, and to acquaint us, in the same sublimity gether inconsistencies, and making the decoration of style, that he composed this opera in a fortnight. partly real, and partly imaginary. I would recom- Such are ihe wits to whose tastes we so ambitiously mend what I have here said to the directors, as well conform ourselves. The truth of it is, the finest as to the admirers, of our modern opera.
writers among the modern Italians express themAs I was walking in the streets about a fortnight selves in such a florid form of words, and such teago, I saw an ordinary fellow carrying a cage full of dious circumlocutions, as are used by noue but little birds upon his shoulder; and, as I was won pedants in our own country; and at the same time dering with myself what use he would put them to fill their writings with such poor imaginations and he was met very luckily by an acquaintance, who conceits, as our youths are ashamed of before they had the same curiosity. Upon his asking what he have been two years at the university. Some may had upon his shoulder, he told him that he had been be apt to think that it is the difference of genius buying sparrows for che opera. “Sparrows for the which produces this difference in the works of the opera," says his friend, licking his lips; “wbat! two nations; but to show that there is nothing in are they to be roasted?"-" No, no," says the other, this, if we look into the writings of the old Italians, " they are to enter towards the end of the first act, such as Cicero and Virgil, we shall find that the Eng. and to fly about the stage.”
lish writers, in their way of thinking and expressing This strange dialogue awakened my curiosity so themselves, reseinble those authors much more than far, that I immediately bought the opera, by which means I perceived the sparrows were to act the part A comedy by J. Dryden, horrowed from Quinault's Aman of singing birds in a delightful grove; though upon Indiscret, and the Etourdi of Moliere.
the modern Italians pretend to do. And as for the vice and folly than men of slower capacities. There poet himself, from whom the dreams of this opera* is no greater monster in being, than a very ill man are taken, I must entirely agree with Monsieur Boi- of great parts. He lives like a man in a palsy, with leau, that one verse in Virgil is worth all the clin one side of him dead. While perhaps he enjoys the quant or tipsel of Tasso.
satisfaction of luxury, of wealth, of ambition, he has But to return to the sparrows: there have been lost the taste of good-will, of friendship, of innocence. 80 many flights of them iet loose in this opera, that Scarecrow, the beggar in Lincoln's-inn-fields, who it is feared the house will dever get rid of them; and disabled himself in his right leg, and asks alms all that in other plays they may make their entrance in day to get himself a warm supper and a trull at night, very wrong and improper scenes, so as to be seen is not half so despicable a wretch as such a man of flying in a lady's bed-chamber, or perching upon a sense. The beggar has no relish above sensations ; king's throne besides the inconveniences which the he finds rest more agreeable than motion; and while heads of the audience may sometimes suffer from he has a warm fire and his doxy, never reflects that bem. I am credibly informed, that there was once he deserves to be whipped. Every man who termi. a design of casting into an opera the story of Whit- nates his satisfactions and enjoyments within the tington and his Cat, and that, in order to it, there supply of his own necessities and passions is, says had been got together a great quantity of mice; but Sir Roger, in my eye, as poor a rogue as Scarecrow. Mr. Rich, the proprietor of the play house, very pru- “ But," continued he, “ for the loss of public and dently considered that it would be impossible for tbe private virtue, we are beholden to your men of fine cat to kill them all, and that consequently the princes parts forsooth; it is with them no matter what is of the stage might be as much infested with mice, as done, so it be done with an air. But to me, who am the prince of the island was before the cat's arrival | so whimsical in a corrupt age as to act according to upon it; for which reason he would not permit it to nature and reason, a seltish man, in the most shining be acted in his house. And indeed I cannot blame circumstance and equipage, appears in the same conhim; for, as he said very well upon that occasion, Idition with the fellow above-mentioned, but more do not hear that any of the performers in our opera contemptible in proportion to what more he robs the pretend to equal the famous pied piper,t who made public of, and enjoys above him. I lay it down all the mice of a great town in Germany follow his therefore for a rule, that the whole man is to move music, and by that means cleared the place of those together; that every action of any importance is to Little noxious animals.
have a prospect of public good: and that the geneBefore I dismiss this paper, I must inform my ral tendency of our indifferent actions ought to be reader, that I hear there is a treaty on foot between agreeable to the dictates of reason, of religion, of London and Wiset (who will be appointed garden-good-breeding ; without this, a man, as I have before ers of the playhouse) to furnish the opera of Řinaldo hinted, is hopping instead of walking, he is not in and Armida with an orange-grove: and that the next his entire and proper motion.” time it is acted, the singing-birds will be personated While the honest knight was thus bewildering him. by tom-tits, the undertakers being resolved to spare self in good starts, I looked attentively upon him, neither pains Dor money for the gratification of the which made him, I thought, collect his mind a little. audience.-C.
“ What I aim at,” says he, “is to represent, that I
am of opinion, to polish our understandings, and neNo. 6.] WEDNESDAY, MARCH 7, 1710-11.
glect our manners, is of all things the most inex
cusable. Reason should govern passion, but instead Credebant hoc grande nefas, et morte piandum, Si juvenis vetulo non assurrexerat
Juv. Sat. xiii. 54.
of that, you see, it is often subservient to it; and as
unaccountable as one would think it, a wise man is Twas impious then (30 much was age rever'd) For youth to keep their seats when an old man appear'd.
not always a good man.” This degeneracy is not I KNOW no evil under the sun so great as the abuse
only the guilt of particular persons, but also at some of the understanding, and yet there is no one vice
times of a whole people; and perhaps it may appear more common. It has diffused itself through both
upon examination, that the most polite ages are the sexes, and all qualities of mankind, and there is
least virtuous. This may be attributed to the folly hardly that person to be found, who is not more con
of admitting wit and learning as merit in themselves, cerned for the reputation of wit and sense, than of
without considering the application of them. By honesty and virtue. But this unhappy affectation of
this means it becomes a rule, nct so much to regard being wise rather than honest, witty than good-na
what we do, as how we do it. But this false beauty tured, is the source of most of the ill habits of life.
will no: pass upon men of honest minds, and true Such false impressions are owing to the abandoned
taste. Sir Richard Blackmore says, with as much writings of men of wit, and the awkward imitation
good sense as virtue, “ It is a mighty shame and disof the rest of mankind.
honour to employ excellent faculties and abundance For this reason Sir Roger was saying last night,
of wit, to humour and please men in their vices and that he was of opinion none but men of fine parts
follies. The great enemy of mankind, notwithstand. deserved to be hanged. The reflections of rich men
ing his wit and angelic faculties, is the most odious are so deh cate upon all occurrences which they are
being in the whole creation.” He goes on soon concerned in, that they should be exposed to more after to say, very generously, that he undertook the than ordinary infamy and punishment, for effending
writing of his poem “ to rescue the Muses out of the
hands of ravishers, to restore them to their sweet give them, and blunting the fine edge of their ininds
and chaste mansions, and to engage them in an emin such a manner, that they are no more shocked at
I ployment suitable to their dignity.” This certainly
ought to be the purpose of every man who appears • Rinaldo, an opera, 8vo. 1711. The plan by Aaron Hill: in public, and whoever does not proceed upon that the Italian words by Sig. G. Rossi; and the music by Handel. 1 June 26. 1284. The rats and mice by which Hamelen was in his studies. When modesty ceases to be the chief music by Handel. foundatio
cceeds infested, were allured, it is said, by a piper, to a contiguous river, in which they were all drowned.
ornament of one sex, and integrity of the other, I London and Wise were the Queen's gardeners at this time. society is upon a wrong basis, and we shall be ever
after without rules to guide our judgment in what is family affairs, a little boy at the lower end of the really becoming and ornamental. Nature and rea- table told her, that he was to go into join-hand on son direct one thing, passion and humour another. Thursday. “Thursday !” says she, “ No, child, if To follow the dictates of these two latter, is going it please God, you shall not begin upon Childermasinto a road that is both endless and intricate; whez day; tell your writing-master that Friday will be we pursue the other, our passage is delightful, and sjoa enough.” I was reflecting with myself on the what we aim at easily attainable.
oddness of her fancy, and wondering that any body I do not doubt but England is at present as polite would establish it as a rule, to lose a day in every a nation as any in the world; but any man who week. In the midst of these my musings, she des thinks, can easily see, that the affectation of being sired me to reach her a little salt upon the point of gay and in fashion, has very near eaten up our good my knife, which I did in such a trepidation and hurry sense, and our religion. Is there any thing so just of obedience, that I let it drop by the way; at which as that mode and gallantry should be built upon ex-she immediately startled, and said it fell towards her. erting ourselves in what is proper and agreeable to Upon this I looked very blank; and observing the the institutions of justice and piety among us? And concern of the whole table, began to consider iny. yet is there any thing more common, than that we self, with some confusion, as a person that had run in perfect contradiction to them? All which is brought a disaster upon the family. The lady, how. supported by no other pretension, than that it is ever, recovering herself after a little space, said to done with what we call a good grace.
her husband with a sigh, “ My dear, misfortunes Nothing ought to be held laudable or becoming, never come single.” My friend, I found, acted but but what nature itself should prompt us to think so. an under part at his table, and being a man of more Respect to all kind of superiors is founded, I think, good-nature than understanding, thinks himself upon instinct; and yet what is so ridiculous as age ? obliged to fall in with all the passions and humours I make this abrupt transition to the mention of this of his yoke-fellow. “Do not you remember, child,” vice more than any other, in order to introduce a says she, “that the pigeon-house fell the very after. little story, which I think a pretty instance, that the noon that our careless wench spilt the salt upon the most polite age is in danger of being the most vicious. table?" “ Yes," says he,“ my dear, and the next
“ It happened at Athens, during a public repre-post brought us an account of the battle of Almanza." sentation of some play exhibited in honour of the The reader may guess at the figure I made, after commonwealth, that an old gentleman came too late having done all this mischief. i dispatched my din. for a place suitable to his age and quality. Many ner as soon as I could, with my usual taciturnity of the young gentlemen, who observed the difficulty when, to my utter confusion, the lady seeing me and confusion he was in, made signs to him that they quitting my knife and fork, and laying them across would accommodate bim if he came where they sat. one another on my plate, desired me that I would The good man bustled through the crowd accord-humour her so far as to take them out of thai figure, ingly; but when he came to the seats to which he and place them side by side. What the absurdity was invited, the jest was to sit close and expose was which I had committed I did not know, but I him, as he stood, out of countenance, to the whole suppose there was some traditionary superstition in audience. The frolic went round the Athenian it; and therefore, in obedience to the lady of the benches. But on those occasions there were also house, I disposed of my knife and fork in two paparticular places assigned for foreigners. When the rallel lines, which is the tigure I shall always lay good man skulked towards the boxes appointed for them in for the future, though I do not know any the Lacedemonians, that honest people, more virtuous reason for it. than polite, rose up all to a man, and with the great. It is not difficult for a man to see that a person est respect received him among them. The Athe- has conceived an aversion to him. For my own nians being suddenly touched with a sense of the part, I quickly found, by the lady's looks, that she Spartan virtue and their own degeneracy, gave a regardeil me as a very odd kind of fellow, with an thunder of applause; and the old man cried out, unfortunate aspect. For which reason I took my • The Athenians understand what is good, but the leave immediately after dinner, and with lrew to my Lacedemonians practise it.'"-R.
own lodgings. Upon my return home, I fell into a profound coutemplation on the evils that attend these
superstitious follies of mankind; how they subject No. 7.1 THURSDAY, MARCH 8, 1710-11.
us to imaginary afflictions, and additional sorrow's, Somnia, terrores magicos, miracula, sazas,
that do not properly come within our lot. As if the Nocturuos lemures, portentaque Thessala rides?
natural calainities of life were not sufficient for it, Hor, 2 Ep. il. 208.
we turn the most indifferent circumstances into mis. Visions and magic spells can you despise, And laugh at wilches, ghosts, and prodigies ?
fortunes, and suffer as much from trifling accidents
as from real evils. I have known the shooting of a Going yesterday to dine with an old acquaintance, star spoil a night's rest; and have seen a man in I had the misfortune to find his whole family very love grow pale, and lose his appetite, upon the pluck. much dejected. Upon asking him the occasion of ing of a merry-thought. A screech-owl at midnigh: it, he told me that his wife had dreamt a strange has alarmed a family more than a band of robbers : dream the night before, which they were afraid por- nay, the voice of a cricket hath struck more terror tended some misfortune to themselves or to their than the roaring of a lion. There is nothing so in children. At her coming into the room, I observed considerable, which may not appear dreadful to an a settled melancholy in her countenance, which I imagination that is filled with omens and prognosshould have been troubled for, had I not heard from tics. A rusty nail, or a crooked pin, shoot up into whence it proceeded. We were no sooner sat down, prodigies. but after having looked upon me a little while, “My I remember I was once in a mixed assembly, that dear,” says she, turning to her husband, “ you may was fuil of noise and mirth, when on a sudden av Dow see the stranger that was in the candle last old woman unluckily observed, there were thirteen night.” Soon after this, as they began to talk of) of us in company. This remark struck a panic iita
several who were present, insomuch thai one or two for the reformation of manners, and therefore think of the ladies were going to leave the room; but a myself a proper person for yoar correspondence. I friend of mine taking notice that one of our female have thoroughly examined the present state of reli. companions was big with child, affirmed there were gion in Great Britain, and am able to acquaint you fourteen in the room and that i
tending with the predominant vice of every market-town in one of the company should die, it plainly foretold the whole island. I can tell you the progress that one of them should be born. Had not my friend virtue has made in all our cities, boroughs, and corfound this expedient to break the omen, I question porations; and know as well the evil practices that not but half the women in the company would have are cominitted in Berwick or Exeter, as what is done fallen sick that very night.
| in my own family. In a word, Sir, I have my corAn old maid that is troubled with the vanours pro- respondents in the remotest parts of the nation, who duces infinite disturbances of this kind among her send me up punctual accounts from time to time of friends and neighbours. I know a maiden aunt of a all the little irregularities that fall under their no. great family, who is one of these antiquated sybils, tice in their several districts and divisions. that forebodes and prophesies from one end of the “I am no less acquainted with the particular quaryear to the other. She is always seeing apparitions, ters and regions of this great town, thaa with the and bearing death-watches; and was the other day different parts and distributions of the whole nation. almost frighted out of her wits by the great house. I can describe every parish by its impieties, and can dog that howled in the stable, at a time when she lay tell you in which of our streets lewdness prevails; ill with the tooth-ache. Such an extravagant cast which gaming has taken the possession of; and where of mind engages multitudes of people, not only in drunkenness has got the better of them both. When impertinent terrors, but in supernumerary duties of I am disposed to raise a fine for the poor, I know the life; and arises froin that fear and ignorance which lanes and alleys that are inhabited by common swearare natural to the soul of man. The horror withers. When I would encourage the hospital of Bride. which we entertain the thoughts of death (or indeed well, and improve the hempen manufacture, I am of any future evil,) and the uncertainty of its ap- very well acquainted with all the haunts and resorts proach, fill a melancholy mind with innumerable ap- of female night-walkers. prehensions and suspicions, and consequently dis- “ After this short account of myself, I must let pose it to the observation of such groundless prodi. you know, that the design of this paper is to give you gies and predictions. For as it is the chief concern information of a certain irregular assembly, whicb of wise men to retrench the evils of life by the rea- I think falls very properly under your observation, sonings of philosophy; it is the employment of fools especially since the persons it is composed of are to multiply them by the sentiments of superstition. criminals too considerable for the animadversions of
For my own part, I should be very much troubled our society. I mean, Sir, the Midnight Mask, which were I endowed with this divining quality, though it has of late been frequently held in one of the most should inform me truly of every thing that can befal conspicuous parts of the town, and which I hear will me. I would not anticipate the relish of any hap- be continued with additions and improvements : as piness, por feel the weight of any misery, before it all the persons who compose this lawless assembly actually arrives.
are masked, we dare not attack any of them in our I know but one way of fortifying my soul against way, lest we should send a woman of quality to Bridethese gloomy presages and terrors of mind, and that well, or a peer of Great Britain to the Compter: beis, by securing to myself the friendship and protec- sides, their numbers are so very great, that I am tion of that Being, who disposes of events, and go- afraid they would be able to rout our whole fraterverns futurity. He sees, at one view, the whole nity, though we were accompanied with our guard thread of my existence, not only that part of it of constables. Both these reasons, which secure which I have already passed through, but that which them from our authority, make them obnoxious to runs forward into all the depths of eternity. When yours; as both their disguise and their numbers will I lay me down to sleep, I recommend myself to his give no particular person reason to think himself care ; when I awake, I give myself up to his direc- affronted by you. tion. Amidst all the evils that threaten me, I will “If we are rightly informed, the rules tbat are look up to him for help, and question not but he observed by this new society are wonderfully conwill either avert them, or turn them to my advantage. trived for the advancement of cuckoldom. The Though I know neither the time nor the manner of women either come by themselves, or are introduced the death I am to die, I am not at all solicitous about by friends who are obliged to quit them, upon their it; because I am sure that he knows them both, and first entrance, to the conversation of any body that that he will not fail to comfort and support me under addresses himself to them. There are several rooms them.
where the parties may retire, and, if they please, show their faces by consent. Whispers, squeezes,
nods, and embraces, are the innocent freedoms of No. 8.1 FRIDAY, MARCH 9, 1710-11.
the place. In short, the whole design of this libi. At Venus obscuro gradientes aere sepsit,
dinous assembly seems to terminate in assignations Et multo nebulæ circum Dea fudit amictu, Cernere ne quis eos
VIRG. Æn. 1. 415.
and intrigues; and I hope you will take effectual They marcb obscure, for Venus kindly shrouds
methods, by your public advice and admonitions, to With mists their persons, and involves in clouds.-DRIDEN. prevent such a promiscuous multitude of both sexes
I SHALL here communicate to the world a couple from meeting together in so clandestine a manner. of letters, which I believe will give the reader as
"I am your humble servant, and fellow labourer, good an entertainment as any that I am able to fur
“T. B.” nish him with, and therefore shall make no apology for them :
Not long after the perusal of this letter, I received “ TO THE SPECTATOR, &c.
| another upon the same subject; which, by the date
and style of it, I take to be written by some young “Sir, I am one of the directors of the society | Templar: