« ПретходнаНастави »
Whate'er men do, or say, or think, or dream, Our motley paper seizes for its theme.
White's Chocolate-house, August 22. POOR Cynthio, who does me the honour to talk to me now and then very freely of his most secret thoughts, and tells me his most private frailties, owned to me, that though he is in his very prime of life, love had killed all his desires, and he was now as much to be trusted with a fine lady as if he were eighty. That one passion for Clarissa has taken up,' said he, my whole soul; and all my idle flames are extinguished, as you may observe ordinary fires are often put out by the sunshine.'
This was a declaration not to be made but upon the highest opinion of a man's sincerity; yet as much a subject of raillery as such a speech would be, it is certain, that chastity is a nobler quality, and as much to be valued in men as in women. The mighty Scipio, who,' as Bluffe says in the comedy, was a pretty fellow in his time,' was of this mind, and is celebrated for it by an author of good sense. When he lived, wit, and humour, and raillery, and public success, were at as high a pitch at Rome, as at present in England; yet, I believe, there was no man in those days thought that general at all ridiculous in his behaviour in the following account of him.
proceed to tell you, that Scipio appears to them, and leads in his prisoner into their presence. The Romans, as noble as they were, seemed to allow themselves a little too much triumph over the conquered; therefore, as Scipio approached, they all threw themselves on their knees, except the lover of the lady: but Scipio observing in him a manly sullenness, was the more inclined to favour him, and spoke to him in these words:
Scipio, at four-and-twenty years of age, had obtained a great victory; and a multitude of prisoners, of each sex and all conditions, fell into his possession: among others, an agreeable virgin in her early bloom and beauty. He had too sensible a spirit to see the most lovely of all objects without being moved with passion: besides which, there was no obligation of honour or virtue to restrain his desires towards one who was his by the fortune of war. But a noble indignation, and a sudden sorrow which appeared in her countenance, when the conqueror cast his eyes upon her, raised his curiosity to know her story. He was informed, that she was a lady of the highest condition in that country, and contracted to Indibilis, a man of merit and quality. The generous Roman soon placed himself in the condition of that unhappy man, who was to lose so charming a bride; and, though a youth, a bachelor, a lover, and a conqueror, immediately resolved to resign all the invitations of his passion, and the rights of his power, to restore her to her destined husband. With this purpose he commanded her parents and relations, as well as her husband, to attend him at an appointed time. When they met, and were waiting for the general, my author frames to himself the different concern of an unhappy father, a despairing lover, and a tender mother, in the several persons who were so related to the captive. But, for fear of injuring the delicate circumstances with an old translation, I shall
'It is not the manner of the Romans to use all the power they justly may: we fight not to ravage countries, or break through the ties of humanity. I am acquainted with your worth, and your interest in this lady fortune has made me your master; but I desire to be your friend. This is your wife; take her, and may the gods bless you with her! But far be it from Scipio to purchase a loose and momentary pleasure at the rate of making an honest man unhappy.'
Indibilis's heart was too full to make him any answer; but he threw himself at the feet of the general, and wept aloud. The captive lady fell into the same posture, and they both remained so, until the father burst into the following words: O divine Scipio! the gods have given you more than human virtue. () glorious leader! O wondrous youth! does not that obliged virgin give you, while she prays to the gods for your prosperity, and thinks you sent down from them, raptures, above all the transports which you could have reaped from the possession of her injured person?' The temperate Scipio answered him without much emotion, and saying, 'Father, be a friend to Rome,' retired. An immense sum was offered as her ransom; but he sent it to her husband, and, smiling, said, 'This is a trifle after what I have given him already; but let Indibilis know, that chastity at my age is a much more difficult virtue to practise than generosity.'
I observed Cynthio was very much taken with my narrative; but told me, this was a virtue that would bear but a very inconsiderable figure in our days.' However, I took the liberty to say, that we ought not to lose our ideas of things, though we had debauched our true relish in our practice; for, after we have done laughing, solid virtue will keep its place in men's opinions; and though custom made it not so scandalous as it ought to be, to ensnare innocent women, and triumph in the falsehood; such aetions, as we have here related, must be accounted true gallantry, and rise the higher in our esteem, the farther they are removed from our imitation.'
Will's Coffee house, August 22.
A man would be apt to think, in this laughing town, that it were impossible a thing so exploded as speaking hard words should be practised by any one that had ever seen good
company; but, as if there were a standard in | his profound learning, wished he had been bred our minds as well as bodies, you see very many a scholar, for he did not take the scope of his just where they were twenty years ago, and discourse. This wise debate, of which we had more they cannot, will not arrive at. Were it much more, made me reflect upon the differnot thus, the noble Martius would not be the ence of their capacities, and wonder that there only man in England whom nobody can un- could be, as it were, a diversity in men's genius derstand, though he talks more than any man for nonsense; that one should bluster, while else. another crept, in absurdities. Martius moves like a blind man, lifting his legs higher than the ordinary way of stepping; and Comma, like one who is only short-sighted, picking his way when he should be marching on. Want of learning makes Martius a brisk entertaining fool, and gives him a full scope; but that which Comma has, and calls learning, makes him diffident, and curbs his natural misunder
Will Dactyle the epigrammatist, Jack Comma the grammarian, Nick Crosse-grain who writes anagrams, and myself, made a pretty company at a corner of this room; and entered very peaceably upon a subject fit enough for us, which was, the examination of the force of the particle For, when Martins joined us. He, being well known to us all, asked what we were upon? for he had a mind to consum-standing to the great loss of the men of raillery. This conversation confirmed me in the opinion, that learning usually does but improve in us what nature endowed us with. He that wants good sense is unhappy in having learning, for he has thereby only more ways of exposing himself; and be that has sense knows that learning is not knowledge, but rather the art of using it.
mate the happiness of the day, which had been spent among the stars of the first magnitude among the men of letters; and, therefore, to put a period to it as he had commenced it, he should be glad to be allowed to participate of the pleasure of our society.' I told him the subject. Faith, gentlemen,' said Martius,
your subject is humble; and if you will give me leave to elevate the conversation, I should humbly offer, that you would enlarge your enquiries to the word For-as-much; for though I take it,' said he, to be but one word, yet the particle Much implying quantity, the particle As similitude, it will be greater, and more like ourselves, to treat of For-as-much.' Jack Comma is always serious, and answered: Martius, I must take the liberty to say, that you have fallen into all this error and profuse manner of speech by a certain hurry in your imagination, for want of being more exact in the knowledge of the parts of speech; and it is so with all men who have not well studied the particle For. You have spoken For without making inference, which is the great use of that particle. There is no manner of force in your observation of quantity and similitude in the syllables As and Much. But it is ever the fault of men of great wit to be incorrect; which evil they run into by an indiscreet use of the word For. Consider all the books of controversy which have been written, and I will engage you will observe, that all the debate lies in this point, Whether they brought in For in a just manner; or forced it in for their own use, rather than as understanding the use of the word itself? There is nothing like familiar instances: you have heard the story of the Irishman who reading, Money for live hair, took a lodging, and expected to be paid for living at that house. If this man had known, For was in that place of a quite different signification from the particle To, he could not have fallen into the mistake of taking Live for what the Latins call Vivere, or rather Habitare.' Martius seemed at a loss; and, admiring
St James's Coffee-house, August 22. We have undoubted intelligence of the defeat of the king of Sweden; and that prince, who for some years had hovered like an approaching tempest, and was looked up at by all the nations of Europe, which seemed to expect their fate according to the course he should take, is now, in all probability, an unhappy exile, without the common necessaries of life. His czarish majesty treats his prisoners with great gallantry and distinction. Count Rhensfeildt has had particular marks of his majesty's esteem, for his merit and services to his master; but count Piper, whom his majesty believes author of the most violent counsels into which his prince entered, is disarmed, and entertained accordingly. That decisive battle was ended at nine in the morning; and all the Swedish generals dined with the czar that very day, and received assurances, that they should find Muscovy was not unacquainted with the laws of honour and humanity.
Sharpers, imitate the method of that delightful moralist; and think I cannot represent those worthies more naturally than under the shadow of a pack of dogs; for this set of men are, like them, made up of Finders, Lurchers, and Setters. Some search for the prey, others pursue, others take it; and if it be worth it, they all come in at the death, and worry the carcass. It would require a most exact knowledge of the field and the harbours where the deer lie, to recount all the revolutions in the chace.
ings, and much care, found out, that there is no way to save him from the jaws of his hounds, but to destroy the pack, which, by astrological prescience, I find I am destined to perform. For which end, I have sent out my familiar, to bring me a list of all the places where they are harboured, that I may know where to sound my horn, and bring them together, and take an account of their haunts and their marks, against another opportunity.
Will's Coffee-house, August 24.
The author of the ensuing letter, by his name, and the quotations he makes from the ancients, seems a sort of spy from the old world, whom we moderns ought to be careful of offending; therefore, I must be free, and own it a fair hit where he takes me, rather than disoblige him.
'Having a peculiar humour of desiring to be somewhat the better or wiser for what I read, I am always uneasy when, in any profound writer, for I read no others, I happen to meet with what I cannot understand. When this falls out it is a great grievance to me that I am not able to consult the author himself about his meaning, for commentators are a sect that has little share in my esteem: your elaborate writings have, among many others, this advantage; that their author is still alive, and ready, as his extensive charity makes us expect, to explain whatever may be found in them too sublime for vulgar understandings. This, sir, makes me presume to ask you, how the Hampstead hero's character could be perfectly new when the last letters came away, and yet sir John Suckling so well acquainted with it sixty years ago? I hope, sir, you will not take this amiss: I can assure you, I have a profound respect for you, which makes me write this with the same disposition with which Longinus bids us read Homer and Plato. When in reading, says he, any of those celebrated authors, we meet with a passage to which we cannot well reconcile our reasons, we ought firmly to believe, that were those great wits present to answer for themselves, we should, to our wonder, be convinced, that we only are guilty of the mistakes that we before attributed to them. If you think fit to remove the scruple that now torments me, it will be an encouragement to me to settle a frequent correspondence with you; several things falling in my way, which would not, perhaps, be altogether foreign to your purpose, and whereon your thoughts would be very acceptable to your most humble servant,
But I am diverted from the train of my discourse of the fraternity about this town, by letters from Hampstead, which give me an account, there is a late institution there, under the name of a Raffling-shop; which is, it seems, secretly supported by a person who is a deep practitioner in the law, and out of tenderness of conscience has, under the name of his maid Sisly, set up this easier way of conveyancing and alienating estates from one family to another. He is so far from having an intelligence with the rest of the fraternity, that all the humbler cheats, who appear there, are outfaced by the partners in the bank, and driven off by the reflection of superior brass. This notice is given to all the silly faces that pass that way, that they may not be decoyed in by the soft allurement of a fine lady, who is the sign to the pageantry. At the same time, signior Hawksly, who is the patron of the household, is desired to leave off this interloping trade, or admit, as he ought to do, the Knights of the Industry to their share in the spoil. But this little matter is only by way of digression. Therefore, to return to our worthies.
The present race of terriers and hounds would starve, were it not for the enchanted Action, who has kept the whole pack for many successions of hunting seasons. Acteon has long tracts of rich soil; but had the misfortune in his youth to fall under the power of sorcery, and has been ever since, some parts of the year, a deer, and in some parts a man. While he is a man, such is the force of magic, he no sooner grows to such a bulk and fatness, but he is again turned into a deer, and hunted until he is lean; upon which he returns to his human shape. Many arts have been tried, and many resolutions taken by Actæon himself, to follow such methods as would break the enI own this is clean, and Mr. Greenhat has chantment; but all have hitherto proved in-convinced me that I have writ nonsense, yet effectual. I have therefore, by midnight watch- am I not at all offended at him.
to make an apology to Isaac Bickerstaff, an unknown student and horary historian, as well as astrologer, and with a grave face to say, he speaks of him by the same rules with which he would treat Homer or Plato, is to place him in company where he cannot expect to make a figure; and make him flatter himself, that it is only being named with them which renders him most ridiculous.
I have not known, and I am now past my grand climacteric, being sixty-four years of age, according to my way of life; or, rather, if you will allow punning in an old gentleman, according to my way of pastime; I say, as old as I am, I have not been acquainted with many of the Greenhats. There is indeed one Zedekiah Greenhat, who is lucky also in his way. He has a very agreeable manner; for when he has a mind thoroughly to correct a man, he never takes from him any thing, but he allows him something for it; or else he blames him for things wherein he is not defective, as well as for matters wherein he is. This makes a weak man believe he is in jest in the whole. The other day he told Beau Prim, who is thought impotent, that his mistress had declared she would not have him, because he was a sloven, and had committed a rape.' The beau bit at the banter, and said very gravely, he thought to be clean was as much as was necessary; and that as to the rape, he wondered by what witchcraft that should come to her ears; but it had indeed cost him a hundred pounds to hush the affair.'
late Partridge, who still denies his death. I am informed, indeed, by several, that he walks ; but I shall with all convenient speed lay him.
There have been, also, letters lately sent to me, which relate to other people: among the rest, some whom I have heretofore declared to be so, are deceased. I must not, therefore, break through rules so far as to speak ill of the dead. This maxim extends to all but the
St. James's Coffee-house, August 24. We hear from Tournay, that on the night between the twenty-second and twenty-third, they went on with their works in the enemy's mines, and levelled the earth which was taken out of them. The next day, at eight in the morning, when the French observed we were relieving our trenches, they sprung a larger mine than any they had fired during the siege, which killed only four private centinels. The ensuing night, we had three men and two officers killed, as also, seven men wounded. Between the twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth, we repaired some works which the enemy had ruined. On the next day, some of the enemy's magazines blew up; and it is thought they were destroyed on purpose by some of their men, who are impatient of the hardships of the present service. There happened nothing remarkable for two or three days following. A deserter who came out of the citadel on the twenty-seventh, says the garrison is brought to the utmost necessity; that their bread and water are both very bad: and that they were reduced to eat horse-flesh. The manner of fighting in this siege has discovered a gallantry in our men unknown to former ages; their meeting with adverse parties under ground, where every step is taken with apprehensions of being blown up with mines below them, or crushed by the fall of the earth above them, and all this acted in darkness, has something in it more terrible than ever is met with in any other part of a soldier's duty. However, this is performed with great cheerfulness. In other parts of the war we have also good prospects; count Thaun has taken Annecy, and the count de Merci marched into Franche Compte, while his electoral highness is much superior in number to monsieur d'Harcourt; so that both on the side of Savoy and Germany, we have reason to expect, very suddenly, some great event.
The Greenhats are a family with small voices and short arms, therefore they have power with none but their friends: they never call after those who run away from them, or pretend to take hold of you if you resist. But it has been remarkable, that all who have shunned their company, or not listened to them, have fallen into the hands of such as have knocked out their brains, or broken their bones. I have looked over our pedigree upon the receipt of this epistle, and find the Greenhats are a-kin to the Staffs. They descend from Maudlin, the left-handed wife of Nehemiah Bicker
staff, in the reign of Harry the Second. And No. 60.] Saturday, August 27, 1709.
Quicquid agunt homines
nostri est farrago libelli. Juv. Sat. i. 25, E6 Whate'er men do, or say, or think, or dream, Our motley paper seizes for its theme.
White's Chocolate-house, August 26. To proceed regularly in the history of my Worthies, I ought to give an account of what has passed from day to day in this place; but a young fellow of my acquaintance has so lately been rescued out of the hands of the Knights of the Industry, that I rather choose to relate the manner of his escape from them, and the uncommon way which was used to reclaim him, than to go on in my intended diary.
The old gentleman took no manner of notice of the reeeipt of his letter; but sent him another order for three thousand pounds more. His amazement on this second letter was unspeakable. He immediately double-locked his door, and sat down carefully to reading and comparing both his orders. After he had read them until he was half mad, he walked six or seven turns in his chamber, then opens his door, then locks it again; and, to examine thoroughly this matter, he locks his door again, puts his table and chairs against it; then goes into his closet, and locking himself in, read his notes over again about nineteen times, which did but increase his astonishment. Soon after, he began to recollect many stories he had formerly heard of persons, who had been possessed with imaginations and appearances which had no foundation in nature, but had been taken with sudden madness in the midst of a seeming clear and untainted reason. This made him very gravely conclude he was out of his wits; and, with a design to compose him
You are to know then, that Tom Wildair is a student of the Inner Temple, and has spent his time, since he left the university for that place, in the common diversions of men of fashion; that is to say, in whoring, drinking, and gaming. The two former vices he had from his father; but was led into the last by the conversation of a partizan of the Myrmidons who had chambers near him. His allowance from his father was a very plentiful one for a man of sense, but as scanty for a modern fine gentleman. His frequent losses had reduced him to so necessitous a condition, that his lodgings were always haunted by impatient creditors; and all his thoughts employed in contriving low methods to support himself in a way of life from which he knew not how to retreat, and in which he wanted means to proceed. There is never wanting some goodnatured person to send a man an account of what he has no mind to hear; therefore many epistles were conveyed to the father of this extravagant, to inform bim of the company, the pleasures, the distresses, and entertain-self, he immediately betakes him to his nightments, in which his son passed his time. The cap, with a resolution to sleep himself into his old fellow received these advices with all the former poverty and senses. To bed therefore pain of a parent, but frequently consulted his he goes at noon-day; but soon rose again, and pillow, to know how to behave himself on such resolved to visit sir Tristram upon this occaimportant occasions, as the welfare of his son, sion. He did so, and dined with the knight, and the safety of his fortune. After many expecting he would mention some advice from agitations of mind, he reflected, that necessity his father about paying him money; but no was the usual snare which made men fall into such thing being said, Look you, sir Trismeanness, and that a liberal fortune generally tram,' said he,' you are to know, that an af made a liberal and honest mind; he resolved, fair has happened, which—' 'Look you,' says therefore, to save him from his ruin, by giving Tristram, I know Mr. Wildair, you are going him opportunities of tasting what it is to be to desire me to advance; but the late call of at ease, and inclosed to him the following order the bank, where I have not yet made my last upon sir Tristram Cash. payment, has obliged me- Tom interrupted him, by showing him the bill of a thousand pounds. When he had looked at it for a convenient time, and as often surveyed Tom's looks and countenance; Look you, Mr. Wildair, a thousand pounds-' Before he could proceed, he shows him the order for three thousand more. Sir Tristram examined the orders at the light, and finding at the writing the name, there was a certain stroke in one letter, which the father and he had agreed should be to such directions as he desired might be more imme diately honoured, he forthwith pays the money. The possession of four thousand pounds gave my young gentleman a new train of thoughts: he began to reflect upon his birth, the great expectations he was born to, and the unsuitable ways he had long pursued. Instead of that 'I have received an order under your hand unthinking creature he was before, he is now for a thousand pounds, in words at length; provident, generous, and discreet. The father and I think I could swear it is your own hand. and son have an exact and regular corresponI have looked it over and over twenty thousand dence, with mutual and unreserved confidence times. There is in plain letters, T,h,o,u,s,a,n,d; in each other. The son looks upon his father and after it, the letters P,o,u,n,d,s. I have it as the best tenant he could have in the country, still by me, and shall, I believe, continue read-and the father finds the son the most safe ng it until I hear from you.' banker he could have in the city.
'Pray pay to Mr. Thomas Wildair, or order, the sum of one thousand pounds, and place it to the account of Yours,
Tom was so astonished with the receipt of this order, that though he knew it to be his father's hand, and that he had always large sums at sir Tristram's; yet a thousand pounds was a trust of which his conduct had always made him appear so little capable, that he kept his note by him, until he writ to his father the following letter: