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I have received the following letter, or mind to pass for a Bantamite, or to make rather billet-doux, from a pert young bag- us all Quakers? I do assure thee, dear gage, who congratulates with me upon the Spec, I am not polished out of my veracity same occasion.
when I subscribe myself, thy constant ad
mirer, and humble servant, June 23, 1714.
FRANK TOWNLY.' DEAR MR. PRATE-APACE,—I am a member of a female society who call ourselves the Chit-chat club, and am ordered by the whole sisterhood to congratulate No. 561.] Wednesday, June 30, 1714. you upon the use of your tongue. We have all of us a mighty mind to hear you
Paulatim abolere Sichæum
Incipit, et vivo tentat prævertere amore. talk; and if you will take your place among
Jampridem resides animos desuetaque corda. us for an evening, we have unanimously
Virg. Æn. i. 724. agreed to allow you one minute in ten,
But hewithout interruption. I am, sir, your Works in the pliant bosom of the fair, humble servant,
And moulds her heart anew, and blots her former
care. . . P. S. You may find us at my lady Betty
The dead is to the living love resign'd,
And all Æneas enters in her mind.--Dryden. Clack's, who will leave orders with her pporter, that if an elderly gentleman, with “SIR, I am a tall, broad-shouldered, a short face, inquires for her, he shall be impudent, black fellow, and as I thought, admitted, and no questions asked.'
every way qualified for a rich widow: but
after having tried my fortune for above As this particular paper shall consist three years together, I have not been able wholly of what I have received from my to get one single relict in the mind. My correspondents, I shall fill up the remain- first attacks were generally successful, but ing part of it with other congratulatory always broke off as soon as they came to letters of the same nature.
the word settlement. Though I have not
improved my fortune this way, I have my "Oxford, June 25, 1714.
experience, and have learnt several secrets 6SIR, We are here wonderfully pleased which may be of use to these unhappy genwith the opening of your mouth, and very tlemen, who are commonly distinguished frequently open ours in approbation of your by the name of widow-hunters, and who design; especially since we find you are do not know that this tribe of women are, resolved to preserve your taciturnity as to
generally speaking, as much upon the catch all party matters. We do not question but
as themselves. I shall here communicate you are as great an orator as sir Hudibras,
to you the mysteries of a certain female of whom the poet sweetly sings.
cabal of this order, who call themselves " He could not ope
the Widow-club. This club consists of His mouth, but out there flew a trope.”
nine experienced dames, who take their If you will send us down the half dozen places once a week round a large oval well-turned periods, that produced such ta
hl table. dismal effects in your muscles, we will
•1. Mrs. President is a person who has deposit them near an old manuscript of di
of disposed of six husbands, and is now deterTully's orations, among the archives of mined to take a seventh; being of opinion the university; for we all agree with you,
ou that there is as much virtue in the touch that there is not a more remarkable acci
accia of a seventh husband as of a seventh son. dent recorded in history, since that which | Her comrades are as follow: happened to the son of Cresus; nay, I be
2. Mrs. Snap, who has four jointures, lieve you might have gone higher, and by four different bed-fellows, of four difhave added Balaam's ass. We are im- fer
è im- ferent shires. She is at present upon the patient to see more of your productions: point of marriage with a Middlesex man, and expect what words will next fall from and is said to have an ambition of extendVou with as much attention as those who / ing her possessions through all the counties were set to watch the speaking head which in England on this side the Trent. friar Bacon formerly erected in this place.
3. Mrs. Medlar, who, after two husWe are worthy sir vour most humble bands and a gallant, is now wedded to an servants,
OBR. TD. &
old gentleman of sixty. Upon her making
her report to the club after a week's co Middle-Temple, June 24. habitation, she is still allowed to sit as a HONEST SPEC,—I am very glad to widow, and accordingly takes her place at hear that thou beginnest to prate; and find, the board. by thy yesterday's vision, thou art so used •4. The widow Quick, married within a to it, that thou canst not forbear talking in fortnight after the death of her last husthy sleep. Let me only advise thee to speak band. Her weeds have served her thrice, like other men; for I am afraid thou wilt and are still as good as new. be very queer, if thou dost not intend to 5. Lady Catherine Swallow. She was use the phrases in fashion, as thou callest a widow at eighteen, and has since buriedl them in thy second paper. Hast thou a la second husband and two coachmen,
66. The lady Waddle. She was mar- 1 picture, and set it round with her husband's ried in the fifteenth year of her age to Sir in miniature. Simon Waddle, knight, aged threescore As they have most of them the misforand twelve, by whom she had twins nine tune to be troubled with the colick, they have months after his decease. In the fifty-fifth a noble cellar of cordials and strong waters. year of her age she was married to James When they grow maudlin, they are very Spindle, Esq. a youth of one-and-twenty, apt to commemorate their former partwho did not outlive the honey-moon. ners with a tear. But ask them which of
57. Deborah Conquest. The case of their husbands they condole, they are not this lady is something particular. She is able to tell you, and discover plainly that the relict of Sir Sampson Conquest, some they do not weep so much for the loss of time justice of the quorum, Sir Sampson a husband as for the want of one. was seven foot high, and two foot in breadth «The principal rule by which the whole from the tip of one shoulder to the other. society are to govern themselves, is this, to He had married three wives, who all of cry up the pleasures of a single life upon them died in child-bed. This terrified the all occasions, in order to deter the rest of whole sex, who none of them durst venture their sex from marriage, and engross the on Sir Sampson. At length Mrs. Deborah whole male world to themselves. undertook him, and gave so good an ac- " They are obliged, when any one makes count of him, that in three year's time she love to a member of the society, to comvery fairly laid him out, and measured his municate his name, at which the whole length upon the ground. This exploit has assembly sit upon his reputation, person, gained her so great a reputation in the fortune, and good humour, and if they find club, that they have added Sir Sampson's him qualified for a sister of the club, they three victories to her's, and give her the lay their heads together how to make him merit of a fourth widowhood; and she takes sure. By this means they are acquainted her place accordingly.
with all the widow-hunters about town, 8. The widow Wildfire, relict of Mr. who often afford them great diversion. John Wildfire, fox-hunter, who broke his There is an honest Irish gentleman, it neck over a six-bar gate. She took his seems, who knows nothing of this society, death so much to heart, that it was thought but at different times has made love to the it would have put an end to her life, had whole club. she not, divèrted her sorrows by receiving Their conversation often turns upon the addresses of a gentleman in the neigh- their former husbands, and it is very bourhood, who made love to her in the diverting to hear them relate their several second month of her widowhood. The arts and stratagems with which they gentleman was discarded in a fortnight for amused the jealous, pacified the choleric, the sake of a young templar, who had the or wheedled the good-natured man, till at possession of her for six weeks after, till he last, to use the club phrase, “they sent was beaten out by a broken officer, who him out of the house with his heels forelikewise gave up his place to a gentleman most.” at court. The courtier was as short-lived “The politics which are most cultivated a favourite as his predecessors, but had the by this society of she-Machiavels relate pleasure to see himself succeeded by a chiefly to these two points, how to treat a long series of lovers, who followed the lover, and how to manage a husband. As widow Wildfire to the thirty-seventh year for the first set of artifices, they are too of her age, at which time there ensued a numerous to come within the compass cessation of ten years, when John Felt, of your paper, and shall therefore be rehaberdasher, took it in his head to be in served for a second letter. love with her, and it is thought will very | The management of a husband is built suddenly carry her off,
upon the following doctrines, which are 9. The last is pretty Mrs. Runnet, who universally assented to by the whole club. broke her first husband's heart before she Not to give him his head at first. Not to was sixteen, at which time she was entered allow him too great freedoms and familiariof the club, but soon after left it upon ac-ties. Not to be treated by him like a raw count of a second, whom she made so quick girl, but as a woman that knows the world. a despatch of, that she returned to her Not to lessen any thing of her former seat in less than a twelvemonth. This figure. To celebrate the generosity, or young matron is looked upon as the most any other virtue, of a deceased husband, rising member of the society, and will pro-which she would recommend to his sucbably be in the president's chair before cessor. To turn away all his old friends she dies.
and servants, that she may have the dear These ladies, upon their first institu- man to herself. To make him disiņherit tion, resolved to give the pictures of their the undutiful children of any former wife. deceased husbands to the club-room; but Never to be thoroughly convinced of his two of them bringing in their dead at full affection, until he has made over to her all length, they covered all the walls. Upon his goods and chattels. ' which they came to a second resolution, “After so long a letter, I am, without more ihat every matron should give her own/ceremony, your humble servant, &c.' VOL. II.
No. 562.] Friday, July 2, 1714. | when you look into it, you are sure to meet
| with more upon Monsieur Montaigne than Præsens, absens ut sies.
of either of them. The younger Scaliger, Ter. Eun. Act i. Sc.2.
who seems to have been no great friend to Be present as if absent.
this author, after having acquainted the It is a hard and nice subject for a man to world that his father sold herrings, adds speak of himself,' says Cowley; "it grates these words: La grande fadaise de Monhis own heart to say any thing of disparage- taigne, qui a écrit qu'il aimcit mieux le vin ment, and the reader's ears to hear any blanc.- Que diable a-t-on à faire de sçavoir thing of praise from him.' Let the tenour ce qu'il aime? For my părt,' says Morof his discourse be what it will upon this taigne, 'I am a great lover of your white
An ostentatious man will rather relate a public,' says Scaliger, whether he is a blunder or an absurdity he has committed, lover of white wines or of red wines?' than be debarred of talking of his own dear I cannot here forbear mentioning a tribe person.
of egotists, for whom I have always had a . Some very great writers have been guilty mortal aversion-I mean the authors of of this fault. It is observed of Tully in par-memoirs, who are never mentioned in any ticular, that his works run very much in works but their own, and who raise all the first person, and that he takes all occa- their productions out of this single figure of sions of doing himself justice. Does he speech. think,' says Brutus, that his consulship! Most of our modern prefaces savour very deserves more applause than my putting strongly of the egotism, Every insignifiCæsar to death, because I am not perpetu-cant author fancies it of importance to the ally talking of the ides of March, as he is world to know that he writ his book in the of the nones of December?' I need not country, that he did it to pass away some acquaint my learned reader, that in the of his idle hours, that it was published at ides of March, Brutus destroyed Cæsar, the importunity of friends, or that his natural and that Cicero quashed the conspiracy of temper, studies, or conversations, directed Catiline in the calends of December. How him to the choice of his subject: shocking soever this great man's talking of himself might have been to his contempo- |
-Id populus curat scilicet.' raries, I must confess I am never better such informations cannot but be highly impleased than when he is on this subject. proving to the reader. Such openings of the heart give a man a In works of humour especially, when a thorough insight into his personal charac-man writes under a fictitious personage, the ter, and illustrate several passages in the talking of one's self may give some diversion history of his life; besides that, there is to the public; but I would advise every some little pleasure in discovering the in- other writer never to speak of himself, unfirmity of a great man, and seeing how the less there be something very considerable opinion he has of himself agrees with what in his character; though I am sensible this the world entertains of him.
rule will be of little use in the world, beThe gentlemen of Port Royal, who were cause there is no man who fancies his more eminent for their learning and for thoughts worth publishing that does not their humility than any other in France, look upon himself as a considerable person. banished the way of speaking in the first I shall close this paper with a remark person out of all their works, as rising from upon such as are egotists in conversation: vain-glory and self-conceit. To show their these are generally the vain or shallow part particular aversion to it, they branded this of mankind, people being naturally full of form of writing with the name of an ego- themselves when they have nothing else in tism; a figure not to be found among the them. There is one kind of egotist which ancient rhetoricians.
is very common in the world, though I do The most violent egotism which I have not remember that any writer has taken met with in the course of my reading, is notice of them; I mean those empty conthat of Cardinal Wolsey, ego et rex meus, ceited fellows who repeat, as sayings of
I and my king;' as perhaps the most emi- their own, or some of their particular nent egotist that ever appeared in the world friends, several jests which were made bewas Montaigne, the author of the celebrated fore they were born, and which every one Essays. This lively old Gascon has woven who has conversed in the world has heard all his bodily infirmities into his works; a hundred times over. A forward young and, after having spoken of the faults or fellow of my acquaintance was very guilty virtues of any other men, immediately pub- of this absurdity: he would be always laylishes to the world how it stands with him- ing a new scene for some old piece of wit, self in that particular. Had he kept his and telling us, that, as he and Jack Suchown counsel, he might have passed for a a-one were together, one or t’other of them much better man, though perhaps he would had such a conceit on such an occasion: not have been so diverting an author. The upon which he would laugh very heartily, title of an Essay promises perhaps' a dis- and wonder the company did not join with course upon Virgil or Julius Cæsar; but, him. When his mirth was over, I have
often reprehended him out of Terence, Blanks are those who are planted in high Tuumne, obsecro te, hoc dictum erat? vetus posts, till such time as persons of greater credidi. But finding him still incorrigible, consequence can be found out to supply and having a kindness for the young cox-them. One of these Blanks is equally qua. comb, who was otherwise a good-natured lified for all offices; he can serve in time of fellow, I recommended to his perusal the need for a soldier, a politician, a lawyer, or Oxford and Cambridge jests, with several what you please. I have known in my time little pieces of pleasantry of the same nature. many a brother Blank, that has been born Upon the reading of them, he was under under a lucky planet, heap up great riches, no small confusion to find that all his jokes and swell into a man of figure and importhad passed through several editions, and ance, before the grandees of his party could that what he thought a new conceit, and agree among themselves which of them had appropriated to his own use, had ap- should step into his place. Nay, I have peared in print before he or his ingenious known a Blank continue so long in one of friends were ever heard of. This had so these vacant posts, (for such it is to be good an effect upon him, that he is content reckoned all the time a Blank is in it,) that at present to pass for a man of plain sense he has grown too formidable and dangerous in his ordinary conversation, and is never to be removed. facetious but when he knows his company. But to return to myself. Since I am so
very commodious a person, and so very ne
cessary in all well-regulated governments, No. 563.] Monday, July 5, 1714.
I desire you will take my case into consi
deration, that I may be no longer made a -Magni nominis umbra. Lucan. Lib. i. 135. tool of, and only employed to stop a gap. The shadow of a mighty name.
Such usage, without a pun, makes me look
very blank. For all which reasons I humI SHALL entertain my reader with two bly recommend myself to your protection, very curious letters. The first of them and am your most obedient servant, comes from a chimerical person, who, I
BLANK. believe, never writ to any body before. SIR, I am descended from the ancient
P.S. I herewith send you a paper drawn family of the Blanks, a name well known
nown up by a country-attorney, employed by two among all men of business. It is always
gentlemen, whose names he was not acread in those little white spaces of writing
quainted with, and who did not think fit which want to be filled up, and which for
to let him into the secret which they are that reason are called blank spaces, as of
transacting, I heard him call it a “blank right appertaining to cur family: for I con
instrument,” and read it after the following sider myself as the lord of a manor, who |
manner. You may see by this single inlays his claim to all wastes or spots of
stance of what use I am to the busy world. ground that are unappropriated. I am a “I, T. Blank, esquire, of Blank town, in near kinsman to a John-a-Styles and John-| the county of Blank, do own myself ina-Nokes; and they, I am told, came in with debted in the sum of Blank, to Goodman the conguer Lam mentioned oftener in Blank, for the service he did me in proboth houses of parliament than any other curing for me the goods following; Blank: person in Great Britain. My name is writ and I do hereby promise the said Blank to ten, or, more properly speaking, not writ pay unto him the said sum of Blank, on the ten, thus: [
1. I am one that can Blank day of the month of Blank next enturn my hand to every thing, and appear suing, under the penalty and forfeiture of under any shape whatsoever. I can make myself man, woman, or child. I am sometimes metamorphosed into a year of our this my imaginary correspondent, and in
I shall take time to consider the case of Lord, a day of the month, or an hour of the
the mean while shall present my reader day. I very often represent a sum of mo
10/ with a letter which seems to come from a ney, and am generally the first subsidy that
person that is made up of flesh and blood. is granted to the crown. I have now and then supplied.the place of several thousands Good MR. SPECTATOR,--I am married of land-soldiers, and have as frequently to a very honest gentleman that is exceedbeen employed in the sea-service.
ing good-natured, and at the same time Now, sir, my complaint is this, that I very choleric. There is no standing before am only made use of to serve a turn, being him when he is in a passion; but as soon as always discarded as soon as a proper per- it is over he is the best humoured creature son is found out to fill up my place.
in the world. When he is angry he breaks If you have ever been in the playhouse all my china ware that chances to lie in before the curtain rises, you see the most his way, and the next morning sends me of the front boxes filled with men of my in twice as much as he broke the day befamily, who forth with turn out and resign fore. I may positively say, that he has their stations upon the appearance of those | broke me a child's fortune since we were for whom they are retained.
first married together. . But the most illustrious branch of the As soon as he begins to fret, down goes
every thing that is within reach of his cane. | where it is darkened and eclipsed by a I once prevailed upon him never to carry a hundred other irregular passions. stick in his hand, but this saved me nothing;! Men have either no character at all, says for upon seeing me do something that did a celebrated author, or it is that of being not please him, he kicked down a great jar / inconsistent with themselves. They find it that cost him above ten pounds but the easier to join extremities, than to be ur.. week before. I then laid the fragments form and of a piece. This is finely illustogether in a heap, and gave him his cane trated in Xenophon's life of Cyrus the again, desiring him that, if he chanced to Great. That author tells us, that Cyrus be in anger, he would spend his passion having taken a most beautiful lady, named upon the china that was broke to his hand; Panthea, the wife of Abradatas, committed but the very next day, upon my giving a her to the custody of Araspas, a young wrong message to one of the servants, he Persian nobleman, who had a little before flew into such a rage, that he swept down maintained in discourse that a mind truly a dozen tea-dishes, which to my misfortune virtuous was incapable of entertaining an stood very convenient for a side blow. | unlawful passion. The young gentleman
"I then removed all my china into a room had not long been in possession of his fair which he never frequents; but I got nothing captive, when a complaint was made to oy this neither, for my looking-glasses im- Cyrus, that he not only solicited the lady mediately went to rack.
Panthea to receive him in the room of her In short, sir, whenever he is in a pas- absent husband, but that, finding his ension he is angry at every thing that is brit-treaties had no effect, he was preparing to tle; and if on such occasions he hath nothing make use of force. Cyrus, who loved the to vent his rage upon, I do not know whe- young man, immediately sent for him, and ther my bones would be in safety. Let me in a gentle manner representing to him his beg of you, sir, to let me know whether fault, and putting him in mind of his former there be any cure for this unaccountable assertion, the unhappy youth, confounded distemper; or if not, that you will be pleased with a quick sense of his guilt and shame, to publish this letter: for my husband having burst out into a flood of tears, and spoke as a great veneration for your writings, will follows: by that means know you do not approve of "Oh Cyrus, I am convinced that I have his conduct. I am, &c.'
two souls. Love has taught me this piece of philosophy. If I had but one soul, it could
not at the same time pant after virtue and No. 564.7 Wednesday, July 7, 1714.
vice, wish and abhor the same thing. It is -Adsit
certain therefore we have two souls: when Regula, peccatis quæ pænas irroget æquas, the good soul rules, I undertake noble and Ne scutica dignum horribili sectere flagello.
virtuous actions; but, when the bad soul Hor. Sat. iii. Lib. 1. 117.
| predominates, I am forced to do evil. All Let rules be fixed that may our rage contain, And punish faults with a proportion'd pain;
I can say at present is, that I find my good And do not flay him who deserves alone
soul, encouraged by your presence, has got A whipping for the fault that he hath done.
| the better of my bad.' Creech.
I know not whether my readers will allow It is the work of a philosopher to be of this piece of philosophy; but if they will every day subduing his passions, and laying not, they must confess we meet with as difaside his prejudices. I endeavour at least ferent passions in one and the same soul as to look upon men and their actions only as can be supposed in two. We can hardly an impartial Spectator, without any regard read the life of a great man who lived in to them as they happen to advance or cross former ages, or converse with any who is my own private interest. But while I am eminent among our contemporaries, that is thus employed myself, I cannot help ob- not an instance of what I am saying. serving how those about we suffer them- ! But as I have hitherto only argued against selves to be blinded by prejudice and in the partiality and injustice of giving our clination, how readily they pronounce on judgment upon men in gross, who are such every man's character, which they can give a composition of virtues and vices, of good in two words, and make him either good and evil, I might carry this reflection still for nothing, or qualified for every thing. On farther, and make it extend to most of the contrary, those who search thoroughly their actions. If on the one hand we fairly into human nature will find it much more weighed every circumstance, we should difficult to determine the value of their fel-frequently find them obliged to do that ac low-creatures, and that men's characters tion we at first sight condemn, in order to are not thus to be given in general words. I avoid another we should have been much There is indeed no such thing as a person more displeased with. If on the other hand entirely good or bad; virtue and vice are we nicely examined such actions as appear blended and mixed together, in a great or most dazzling to the eye, we should find less proportion, in every one; and if you most of them either deficient and lame in would search for some particular good several parts, produced by a bad ambition, quality in its most eminent degree of per- or directed to an ill end. The very same fection, you will often find it in a mind f action may sometimes be so oddly circum