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the owner of the Dog had a vote to sell at the next election.
There now came on a very important caufe, in which fix of the most eminent council learned in the law were retained on each fide. A Monkey, belonging to a lady of the firft rank and fafhion, was indicted, for that he with malice prepenfe did commit wilful murder on the body of a Lap-dog. The council for the profecutor fet forth, that the unfortunate deceased came on a vifit with another lady; when the prifoner at the bar, without the leaft provocation, and contrary to the laws of hospitality, perpetrated this inhuman fact. The council for the prifoner, being called upon to make the Monkey's defence, pleaded his privilege, and infifted on his being tried by his peers. This plea was admitted; and a jury of beaux was immediately impannelled, who without going out of court, honourably acquitted him. The proceedings were here interrupted by an Hound, who came jumping into the hall, and running to the justice feat, lifted up his leg against the judge's robe. For this contemptuous behaviour, he was directly ordered into cuftody; when to our great furprise he caft his fkin, and became an Oftrich; and prefently after fhed his feathers, and terrified us in the fhaggy figure of a Bear. Then he was a Lion, then an Horfe, then again a Baboon; and after many other amazing transformations, leaped out an Harlequin, and before they could take hold of him, skipped away to Covent Garden theatre.
It would be tedious to recount the particulars of feveral other trials. A fportfman brought an action against a Race-Horfe, for running on the wrong fide of the poft, by which he loft the plate and many confiderable bets. For this the criminal was fentenced to be burnt in the fore-hand, and to be whipt at the cart's tail. A Mare would have undergone the fame punishment, for throwing her rider in a flag-hunt, but escaped by pleading her belly; upon which a jury of grooms was impannelled, who brought her in quick. The com pany of Dogs and Monkeys, together with the Dancing Bears, who were taken up on the Licence-Act, and indicted for ftrollers, were tranfported for life.
The laft trial was for high treafon. A Lion, who had been long confined as a ftate-prifoner in the Tower, having broken jail, had appeared in open rebellion, and committed feveral acts of vio lence on his majesty's liege fubjects. As this was a noble animal, and a prince of the blood in his own native country, he was condemned to be beheaded. It came into my thoughts, that this Lion's Head might vie with that famous one, formerly erected at Button's for the fervice of the GUARDIAN: I was accordingly going to petition for leave to put it up in Macklin's new coffee-house; when methought the Lion, fetting up a most horrible roar, broke his chains, and put the whole court to flight; and I awaked in the utmost confternation, just as I imagined he had got me in his gripe.
N° XIII. THURSDAY, APRIL 25, 1754.
COMMOTA FERVET PLEBECULA BILE.
INSPIR'D BY FREEDOM, AND ELECTION ALE,
knew nothing at all of either. Every petty village abounds with the most profound ftatefmen: it is common to fee our ruftic politicians affembling after fermon, and fettling the good of their country across a tomb-ftone, like fo many Dilators from the plough; and alinost every cottage can boat it's patriot, who, like the old Roman, would not exchange his turnip for a bribe.
I am at prefent in ****, where the election is just coming on, and the whole town confequently in an uproar. They have for feveral parliaments returned two members, who recommended themfelves by constantly opposing the court: but there came down a few days ago a banker from London, who has offered himfeif a candidate, and is backed with the most powerful of all interests, money. Nothing has been fince thought of but featting and revelling; and both parties strive to outdo each other in the frequency and expence of their entertainments. This indeed is the general method made use of to gain the favour of electors, and manifelt a zeal for the conftitution. I have known a candidate depend more upon the ftrength of his liquor than his arguments; and the merits of a treat has often recommended a member, who has had no merits of his own. For it is certain, that people, however they may differ in other points, are unanimous in promoting the grand business of eating and drinking.
It is impoffible to give a particular account of the various diforders occafioned by the conteft in this town. The ftreets ring with the different cry of each party; and every hour produces a ballad, a fet of queries, or a ferious addrefs to the worthy electors. I have feen the mayor with half the corporation roaring, hollowing, and reeling along the ftreets, and yet threatening to clap a poor fellow into the ftocks for making the fame noife, only becaufe he would not vote as they do. It is no wonder, that the ftrongest connections fhould be broken, and the most intimate friends fet at variance, through their difference of opinions. Not only the men, but their wives, are alfo engaged in the fame quarrel. Mr. Staunch the haberdasher ufed to fmoke his pipe conftantly in the fame kitchen corner every evening, at the fame alehoufe, with his neighbour Mr. Veer the chandler, while their ladies chatted together at the ftreet-door: but
now the husbands never speak to each other; and confequently Mrs. Veer goes a quarter of a mile for her inkle and tape, rather than deal at Mr. Staunch's fhop; and Mrs. Staunch declares, the would go without her tea, though the has always been used to it twice a day, rather than fetch her half-quartern from that turncoat Veer's.
Wherever politics are introduced, religion is always drawn into the quarrel. The town I have been speaking of, is divided into two parties, who are diitinguifhed by the appellation of Christians and Jews. The Jews, it feems, are thofe who are in the intereft of a nobleman who gave his vote for paffing the Jew bill, and are held in abomination by the Chriftians. The zeal of the latter is ftill further inflamed by the vicar, who every Sunday thunders out his anathemas, and preaches up the pious doctrine of perfecution. In this he is feconded by the clerk, who is careful to enforce the arguments from the pulpit, by felecting itaves proper for the occafion.
This truly Christian spirit is no where more manifelt than at their public feafts. I was at one of their dinners, where I found great variety of pig meat was provided. The table was covered from one end to the other with hams, legs of pork, fparibs, griskins, haflets, feet and ears, brawn, and the like. In the middle there smoked a large barbicued hog, which was foon devoured to the bone, so desirous was every one to prove his Chrift anity, by the quantity he could fwallow of that Anti- Judaic food. Af ter dinner there was brought in, by way of deifert, a difh of hogs-puddings; but as I have a diflike to that kind of diet, (though not from any fcruple of confcience) I was regarded as little better than a Jew for declining to eat of them.
The great fupport of this party is an old neighbouring knight; who, ever fince the late Naturalization-Act, has conceived a violent antipathy to the Jews, and takes every opportunity of railing at the above-mentioned nobleman. Sir Rowland fwears, that his Lordship is worfe than Judas, that he is actually circumcifed, and that the chapel in his houfe is turned into a fynagogue. The knight had never been feen in a church till the late clamour about the Jew-Bill; but he now attends it regularly every Sunday, where he devoutly
takes his nap all the fervice: and he lately bestowed the best living in his gift, which he had before promifed to his chaplain, on one whom he had never feen, but had read his name in the titlepage to a fermon against the Jews. He turned off his butler, who had lived with him many years, (and whofe only crime was a fwarthy complexion) be. caufe the dog looked like a Jew. He feeds hogs in his park and the courtyard, and has guinea pigs in his parlour. Every Saturday he has an hunt, because it is the Jewish Sabbath; and in the evening he is fure to get drunk with the vicar in defence of religion. As he is in the commiffion, he ordered a poor Jew pedlar, who came to hawk goods at his houfe, to Bridewell; and he was once going to fend a little parish boy to the fame place, for prefuming to play in his worship's hearing on that unchriftian-like inftrument the Jewsharp.
The fair fex here are no lefs ambitious of displaying their affe&tion for the fame caufe; and they manifeft their fenti ments by the colour and fashion of their drefs. Their zeal more particularly fhews itself in a variety of polies for rings, buckles, kn ts, and garters. I obferved the other night at the aflembly, that the ladies feemed to vie with each other in hanging out the enfigns of the faith in orthodox bbands, bearing the infcription of NO JEWS, CHRISTI
ANITY FOR EVER." They likewife wore little croffes at their breads; their pompons were formed into crucifixes, their knots difpofed in the fame angles,
and fo many parts of their habits moulded into that shape, that the whole affembly looked like the court on St. Andrew's day. It was remarkable that the vicar's lady, who is a thoroughpaced High-Churchwoman, was more religious in the decorations of her dress than any of the company; and, indeed, fhe was fo ftuck over from head to foot with croffes, that a wag justly compared her to an old Popish monument in a Gothic cathedral.
I thall conclude my letter with the relation of an adventure that happened to myself at my first coming into this town. I intended to put up at the Catherine Wheel, as I had often used the houfe before, and knew the landlord to be a good civil kind of fellow. I accordingly turned my horfe into the yard; when to my great furprize the landlord, as foon as he faw me, gave me an hearty curfe, and told me I might go about my business, for, indeed, he would not entertain any fuch rafcals. Upon this he faid fomething to two or three strapping country fellows, who immediately came towards me; and if I had not rode away directly, I fhould have met with a very rough falutation from their horfewhips. I could not imagine what offence I had committed, that could give occafion for fuch ili ufage, till I heard the mafter of the inn hellowing after me- That's the fcoundrel that came
here fome time ago with Tom T'other'fide;' who, I have fince learnt, is an agent for the other party. I am, dear coufin, yours, &c.
N° XIV. THURSDAY, MAY 2, 1754
TUM IN LECTO QUOQUE VIDERES
STRIDERE SECRET A DIVISOS AURE SUSURROS.
NULLOS HIS MALLEM LUDOS SPECTASSE.
REDDE AGE, QUE DEINCEPS RISISTI.
IMPARTED TO EACH LAUGHTER-LOVING FAIR,
THE WHIZZING WHISPER GLIDES FROM CHAIR TO CHAIR:
TO MR. TOWN.
AS the ladies are naturally become
the immediate objects of your care, will you permit a complaint to be in
ferted in your paper, which is founded upon a matter of fact? They will pardon me, if by laying before you a particular inftance I was lately witness to of their improper behaviour, I endea
vour to expose a reigning evil, which subjects them to many fhameful impu.
I received last week a dinner-card from a friend, with an intimation that I fhould meet fome very agreeable ladies. At my arrival, I found that the company confifted chiefly of females, who indeed did me the honour to rife, but quite difconcerted me in paying my refpects, by their whifpering each other, and appearing to stifle a laugh. When I was feated, the ladies grouped themfelves up in a corner, and entered into a private cabal, feemingly to difcourfe upon points of great fecrecy and importance, but of equal merriment and diverfion.
The fame conduct of keeping close to their ranks was obferved at table, where the ladies feated themfelves together. Their converfation was here alfo confined wholly to themfelves, and feemed like the mysteries of the Bona Dea, in which men were forbidden to have any hare. It was a continued laugh and whifper from the beginning to the end of dinner. A whole fentence was fcarce ever spoken aloud. Single words, indeed, now and then broke forth; fuch as odious, borrible, deteftable, fhocking, "HUMBUG. This latt new-coined expreffion, which is only to be found in the nonfenfical vocabulary, founds abfurd and difagreeable, whenever it is pronounced; but from the mouth of a lady it is fhocking, deteftable, hor
rible, and odious."
My friend feemed to be in an uneafy fituation at his own table: but I was far more miferable. I was mute, and feldom dared to lift up my eyes from my plate, or turn my head to call for small beer, left by some aukward gefture I might draw upon me a whisper or a laugh. Sancho, when he was forbid to eat a delicious banquet fet before himn, could scarce appear more melancholy. The rueful length of my face might poffibly encrease the mirth of my tormenters: at least their joy feemed to rife in exact proportion with my mifery. At length, however, the time of my delivery approached. Dinner ended, the ladies made their exit in pairs, and went off hand in hand whispering, like the two kings of Brentford.
Modeft men, Mr. Town, are deeply wounded, when they imagine themselves
the objects of ridicule or contempt: and the pain is the greater, when it is given by thofe whom they admire, and from whom they are ambitions of receiving any marks of countenance and favour. Yet we must allow, that affronts are pardonable from ladies, as they are often prognoftics of future kindness. If a lady frikes our cheek, we can very willingly follow the precept of the Gofpel, and turn the other cheek to be smitten. Even a blow from a fair hand conveys pleature. But this battery of whispers is against all legal rights of war;-poifoned arrows, and stabs in the dark, are not more repugnant to the general laws of humanity.
If the misconduct, which I have described, had been only to be found, Mr. Town, at my friend's table, I should not have troubled you with this letter: but the fame kind of ill-breeding prevails too often, and in too many places. The gigglers and the whifperers are innumerable; they befet us wherever we go; and it is obfervable, that after a fhort murmur of whispers out comes the burft of laughter: like a gun-powder ferpent, which, after hiffing about for fome time, goes off in a bounce.
Modern writers of comedy often introduce a pert witling into their pieces, who is very fevere upon the rest of the company; but all his waggery is spoken afide. Thefe gigglers and whisperers feem to be acting the fame part in company, that this arch rogue does in the play. Every word or motion produces a train of whifpers; the dropping of a fnuff box, or fpilling the tea, is fure to be accompanied with a titter; and upon the entrance of any one with fomething particular in his perfon or manner, I have feen a whole room in a buzz like a bee hive.
This practice of whispering, if it is any where allowable, may perhaps be indulged the fair fex at church, where the converfation can only be carried on by the fecret fymbols of a curtfey, an ogle, or a nod. A whifper in this place is very often of great ufe, as it ferves to convey the moft fecret intelligence, which a lady would be ready to burst with, if he could not find vent for it by this kind of auricular confeffion. A piece of fcandal transpires in this man-. her from one pew to another, then prefently whizzes along the chancel, from
whence it crawls up to the galleries, till at laft the whole church hums with
ftrange conftructions may be put on thefe laughs and whispers. It were, indeed, of little confequence, if we only imagined, that they were taking the reputations of their acquaintance to pieces, or abusing the company round; but when they indulge themfelves in this behaviour, fome perhaps may be led to conclude, that they are discourfing upon topics, which they are afhamed to speak of in a lefs private manner.
Some excufe may perhaps be framed for this ill-timed merriment in the fairsex. Venus, the goddefs of beauty, is frequently called the laughter-loving dame; and by laughing, our modern ladies may poffibly imagine, that they render themfelves like Venus. I have indeed remarked, that the ladies com
It were alfo to be wifhed, that the ladies would be pleafed to confine themfelves to whispering, in their tète-à-tête conferences at the opera or the playhoufe; which would be a proper defe rence to the reft of the audience. In France, we are told, it is common for the parterre to join with the performers in any favourite air; but we seem to have carried this custom till further, as the company in our boxes, without concerning themfelves in the leaft with the play, are even louder than the players. The wit and humour of a Vanburgh or a Congreve is frequently interrupted by a brilliant dialogue between two perfons of fashion; and a love-fcene in the fide-monly adjust their laugh to their perbox has often been more attended to, than that on the stage. As to their loud bursts of laughter at the theatre, they may very well be excufed, when they are excited by any lively ftrokes in a comedy: but I have feen our ladies titter at the most diftrefsful fcenes in Romeo and Juliet, grin over the anguish of a Monimia or Belvidera, and fairly laugh King Lear off the ftage.
Thus the whole behaviour of thefe ladies is in direct contradiction to good manners. They laugh when they fhould cry, are loud when they should be filent, and are filent when their converfation is defirable. If a man in a felect company was thus to laugh or whifper me out of countenance, I fhould be apt to conftrue it as an affront, and demand an explanation. As to the ladies, I would defire them to reflect how much they would fuffer, if their own weapons were turned against them, and the gentlemen fhould attack them with the fame arts of laughing and whispering. But, however free they may be from our refentment, they are ftill open to our ill-natured fufpicions. They do not confider, what
fons, and are merry in proportion as it
Let them laugh at a feather; but let them declare openly, that it is a feather which occafions their mirth. I must confefs, that laughter becomes the young, the gay, and the handfome: but a whifper is unbecoming at all ages and in both fexes; nor ought it ever to be practifed, except in the round gallery at St. Paul's; or in the famous whispering place in Gloucefter cathedral, where two whisperers hear each other at the distance of five and twenty yards. I am, Sir,
Your most humble fervant,
N° XV. THURSDAY, MAY 9, 1754.
TU DIC, MECUM QUO PIGNORE CERTES.
NAME YOUR BETT.
Friend of mine, who belongs to the Stamp-Office, acquaints me, that the revenue arifing from the duty
on cards and dice continues to increase every year, and that it now brings in near fix times more than it did at first.