Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

For my part, I have one general key to the behaviour of the fair sex. When I see them singular in any part of their dress, I conclude it is not without some evil intention: and therefore question not but the design of this strange fashion is to smite more effectually their male beholders. Now to set them right in this particular, I would fain have them consider with themselves, whether we are not more likely to be struck by a figure entirely female, than with such a one as we may see every day in our glasses. Or, if they please, let them reflect upon their own hearts, and think how they would be affected should they meet a man on horseback, in his breeches and jack-boots, and at the same time dressed up in a commode and a nightraile.

I must observe that this fashion was first

of all brought to us from France, a country
which has infected all the nations of Europe
with its levity. I speak not this in deroga-
tion of a whole people, having more than
once found fault with those general reflec-
tions which strike at kingdoms or common-
wealths in the gross-a piece of cruelty,
which an ingenious writer of our own com-
pares to that of Caligula, who wished that
the Roman people had all but one neck,
that he might behead them at a blow. I
shall therefore only remark, that as liveli-
ness and assurance are in a peculiar man-
ner the qualifications of the French nation,
the same habits and customs will not give
the same offence to that people which they
produce amongst those of our own country.
Modesty is our distinguishing character, as
vivacity is theirs: and when this our na-
tional virtue appears in that female beauty
for which our British ladies are celebrated
above all others in the universe, it makes
up the most amiable object that the eye of
man can possibly behold.
C.

No. 436.] Monday, July 21, 1712.
-Verso pollice vulgi
Quemlibet occidunt populariter. Juv. Sat. iii. 30.
With thumbs bent back, they popularly kill.

me and exercise a the several weapons following, viz:

'I James Miller, sergeant, (lately come from the frontier of Portugal) master of the noble science of defence, hearing in most places where I have been of the great fame of Timothy Buck, of London, master of the said science, do invite him to meet

Back sword, Single falchion, 'Sword and dagger, Case of falchions, 'Sword and buckler, Quarter staff.'

If the generous ardour in James Miller to dispute the reputation of Timothy Buck had something resembling the old heroes of romance, Timothy Buck returned answer in the same paper with the like spirit, adding a little indignation at being challenged, and seeming to condescend to fight James Miller, not in regard to Miller himself, but in that as the fame went about, he had fought Parkes of Coventry. The acceptance of the combat ran in these words:

I shall not here look back on the spectacles of the Greeks and Romans of this kind, but must believe this custom took its rise from the ages of knight-errantry; from those who loved one woman so well, that they hated all men and women else; from those who would fight you, whether you were or not of their mind; from those who demanded the combat of their contemporaries, both for admiring their mistress or discommending her. I cannot therefore but lament, that the terrible part of the ancient fight is preserved, when the amorous side of it is forgotten. We have retained the barbarity, but lost the gallantry of the old combatants. I could wish, methinks, these gentlemen had consulted me in the promulgation of the conflict. I was obliged by a fair young maid, whom I understood to be called Elizabeth Preston, daughter of the keeper of the garden, with a glass of water; who I imagined might have been, for form's sake, the general representative of the lady fought for, and from her beauty Dryden. the proper Amaryllis on these occasions. It would have run better in the challenge, BEING a person of insatiable curiosity, I could not forbear going on Wednesday last 'I James Miller, sergeant, who have trato a place of no small renown for the gal-frontier of Portugal, for the love of Elizavelled parts abroad, and came last from the lantry of the lower order of Britons, to beth Preston, do assert that the said Elizathe Bear-garden, at Hockley in the Hole; beth is the fairest of women. where (as a whitish brown paper, put into my hand in the street, informed me) there was to be a trial of skill exhibited between two masters of the noble science of defence, at two of the clock precisely. I was not a little charmed with the solemnity of the challenge which ran thus:

2 Then the

'I Timothy Buck, of Clare-market, master of the noble science of defence, hearing he did fight Mr. kes of Coventry, will not fail (God willing) to meet this fair inviter at the time and place appointed, desiring a clear stage and no favour. 'Vivat Regina.'

*On a large tomb, in the great church-yard of Coventry, is the following inscription:

To the memory of Mr. John Sparkes, a native of this

city: he was a man of a mild disposition, a gladiator by profession: who, after having fought 350 battles in the principal parts of Europe with honour and applause, at length quitted the stage, sheathed his sword, and, with

Christian resignation, submitted to the grand victor in the 52 year of his age.

Anno salutis humanæ 1733.'

His friend, sergeant Miller, here mentioned, a man

of vast athletic accomplishments, was advanced afterdid notable service in Scotland under the duke of Cumwards to the rank of a captain in the British army, and | berland, in 1745.

answer; 'I Timothy Buck, who have staid in Great Britain during all the war in foreign parts, for the sake of Susannah Page, do deny that Elizabeth Preston is so fair as the said Susannah Page. Let Susannah Page look on, and I desire of James Miller no favour.'

This would give the battle quite another turn; and a proper station for the ladies, whose complexion was disputed by the sword, would animate the disputants with a more gallant incentive than the expectation of money from the spectators; though I would not have that neglected, but thrown to that fair one whose lover was approved by the donor.

if all their lives depended on the first blow. The combatants met in the middle of the stage, and shaking hands, as removing all malice, they retired with much grace to the extremities of it; from whence they immediately faced about, and approached each other, Miller with a heart full of resolution, Buck with a watchful untroubled countenance; Buck regarding principally his own defence, Miller chiefly thoughtful of annoying his opponent. It is not easy to describe the many escapes and imperceptible defences between two men of quick eyes and ready limbs; but Miller's heat laid him open to the rebuke of the calm Buck, by a large cut on the forehead. Much Yet, considering the thing wants such effusion of blood covered his eyes in a moamendments, it was carried with great or-ment, and the huzzas of the crowd under. James Miller came on first, preceded doubtedly quickened the anguish. The by two disabled drummers, to show, I sup- Assembly was divided into parties upon pose, that the prospect of maimed bodies their different ways of fighting; while a did not in the least deter him. There poor nymph in one of the galleries appaascended with the daring Miller a gentle-rently suffered for Miller, and burst into a man, whose name I could not learn, with a flood of tears. As soon as his wound was dogged air, as unsatisfied that he was not wrapped up, he came on again with a little principal. This son of anger lowered at the rage, which still disabled him farther. But whole assembly, and, weighing himself as what brave man can be wounded into more he marched round from side to side, with a patience and caution? The next was a stiff knee and shoulder, he gave intimations warm eager onset, which ended in a deof the purpose he smothered till he saw the cisive stroke on the left leg of Miller. The issue of the encounter. Miller had a blue lady in the gallery, during this second strife, ribbon tied round the sword arm; which covered her face, and for my part I could ornament I conceive to be the remains of not keep my thoughts from being mostly that custom of wearing a mistress's favour employed on the consideration of her unon such occasions of old. happy circumstance that moment, hearing the clashing of swords, and apprehending life or victory concerning her lover in every blow, but not daring to satisfy herself on whom they fell. The wound was exposed to the view of all who could delight in it, and sewed up on the stage. The surly second of Miller declared at this time, that he would that day fortnight fight Mr. Buck at the same weapons, declaring himself the master of the renowned Gorman; but Buck denied him the honour of that courageous disciple, and asserting that he himself had taught that champion, accepted the challenge.

Miller is a man of six foot eight inches height, of a kind but bold aspect, well fashioned, and ready of his limbs; and such readiness as spoke his ease in them was obtained from a habit of motion in military exercise.

The expectation of the spectators was now almost at its height; and the crowd pressing in, several active persons thought they were placed rather according to their fortune than their merit, and took it in their heads to prefer themselves from the open area or pit to the galleries. The dispute between desert and property brought many to the ground, and raised others in proportion to the highest seats by turns, for the space of ten minutes, till Timothy Buck came on, and the whole assembly, giving up their disputes, turned their eyes upon the champions. Then it was that every man's affection turned to one or the other irresistibly. A judicious gentleman near me said, 'I could, methinks, be Miller's second, but I had rather have Buck for mine.' Miller had an audacious look, that took the eye; Buck, a perfect composure, that engaged the judgment. Buck came on in a plain coat, and kept all his air till the instant of engaging; at which time he undressed to his shirt, his arm adorned with a bandage of red riband. No one can describe the sudden concern in the whole assembly; the most tumultuous crowd in nature was as still and as much engaged as

There is something in nature very unaccountable on such occasions, when we see the people take a certain painful gratification in beholding these encounters. Is it cruelty that administers this sort of delight? or is it a pleasure which is taken in the exercise of pity? It was, methought, pretty remarkable that the business of the day being a trial of skill, the popularity did not run so high as one would have expected on the side of Buck. Is it that people's passions have their rise in self-love, and thought themselves (in spite of all the courage they had) liable to the fate of Miller, but could not so easily think themselves qualified like Buck?

Tully speaks of this custom with less horror than one would expect, though he confesses it was much abused in his time, and seems directly to approve of it under

·

its first regulations, when criminals only fought before the people. Crudele gladiatorum spectaculum et inhumanum nonnullis videri solet, et haud scio annon ita sit ut nunc fil; cum vero sontes ferro depugnabant, auribus fortasse multa, oculis quidem nulla, poterat esse fortior contra dolorem et mortem disciplina." The shows of gladiators may be thought barbarous and inhuman, and I know not but it is so as now practised; but in those times when only criminals were combatants, the ear perhaps might receive many better instructions, but it is impossible that any thing which affects our eyes should fortify us so well against pain and death.' T.

[blocks in formation]

THE other day passed by me in her chariot a lady with that pale and wan complexion which we sometimes see in young people who are fallen into sorrow, and private anxiety of mind, which antedate age and sickness. It is not three years ago since she was gay, airy, and a little towards libertine in her carriage; but, methought, I easily forgave her that little insolence, which she so severely pays for in her present condition. Flavilla, of whom I am speaking, is married to a sullen fool with wealth. Her beauty and merit are lost upon the dolt, who is insensible of perfection in any thing. Their hours together are either painful or insipid. The minutes she has to herself in his absence are not sufficient to give vent at her eyes, to the grief and torment of his last conversation. This poor creature was sacrificed (with a temper which, under the cultivation of a man of sense, would have made the most agreeable companion) into the arms of this loathsome yoke-fellow by Sempronia. Sempronia is a good lady, who supports herself in an affluent condition, by contracting friendship with rich young widows, and maids of plentiful fortunes at their own disposal, and bestowing her friends upon worthless indigent fellows; on the other side, she ensnares inconsiderate and rash youths of great estates into the arms of vicious women. For this purpose, she is accomplished in all the arts which can make her acceptable at impertinent visits; she knows all that passes in every quarter, and is well acquainted with all the favourite servants, busy-bodies, dependents, and poor relations, of all persons of condition in the whole town. At the price of a good sum of money, Sempronia, by the

instigation of Flavilla's mother, brought about the match for the daughter; and the reputation of this, which is apparently, in point of fortune, more than Flavilla could expect, has gained her the visits and frequent attendance of the crowd of mothers, who had rather see their children miserable in great wealth, than the happiest of the race of mankind in a less conspicuous state of life. When Sempronia is so well acquainted with a woman's temper and circumstances, that she believes marriage would be acceptable to her, and advantageous to the man who shall get her, her next step is to look out for some one, whose condition has some secret wound in it, and wants a sum, yet, in the eye of the world, not unsuitable to her. If such is not easily had, she immediately adorns a worthless fellow with what estate she thinks convenient, and adds as great a share of good humour and sobriety as is requisite. After this is settled, no importunities, arts, and devices, are omitted, to hasten the lady to her happiness. In the general, indeed, she is a person of so strict justice that she marries a poor gallant to a rich wench, and a moneyless girl to a man of fortune. But then she has no manner of conscience in the disparity, when she has a mind to impose a poor rogue for one of an estate: she has no remorse in adding to it, that he is illiterate, ignorant, and unfashioned; but makes these imperfections arguments of the truth of his wealth; and will on such an occasion, with a very grave face, charge the people of condition with negligence in the education of their children. Exception being made the other day against an ignorant booby of her own clothing, whom she was putting off for a rich heir: 'Madam,' said she, you know there is no making of children, who know they have estates, attend their books.'

Sempronia, by these arts, is loaded with presents, importuned for her acquaintance, and admired by those who do not know the first taste of life, as a woman of exemplary good breeding. But sure to murder and rob are less iniquities, than to raise profit by abuses as irreparable as taking away life; but more grievous as making it lastingly unhappy. To rob a lady at play of half her fortune, is not so ill as giving the whole and herself to an unworthy husband. But Sempronia can administer consolation to an unhappy fair at home, by leading her to an agreeable gallant elsewhere. She then can preach the general condition of all the married world, and tell an unexperienced young woman the methods of softening her affliction, and laugh at her simplicity and want of knowledge, with an 'Oh! my dear, you will know better.'

The wickedness of Sempronia, one would think, should be superlative: but I cannot but esteem that of some parents equal to it: I mean such as sacrifice the greatest endowments and qualifications to base bargains.

A parent who forces a child of a liberal and ingenious spirit into the arms of a clown or a blockhead, obliges her to a crime too odious for a name. It is in a degree the unnatural conjunction of rational and brutal beings. Yet what is there so common, as the bestowing an accomplished woman with such a disparity? And I could name crowds who lead miserable lives for want of knowledge in their parents of this maxim. That good sense and good-nature always go together. That which is attributed to fools, and called good-nature, is only an inability of observing what is faulty, which turns, in marriage, into a suspicion of every thing as such, from a consciousness of that inability.

'MR. SPECTATOR,-I am entirely of your opinion with relation to the equestrian females, who affect both the masculine and feminine air at the same time; and cannot forbear making a presentment against another order of them, who grow very numerous and powerful; and since our language is not very capable of good compound words, I must be contented to call them only "the naked-shouldered." These beauties are not contented to make lovers wherever they appear, but they must make rivals at the same time. Were you to see Gatty walk the Park at high mall, you would expect those who followed her and those who met her would immediately draw their swords for her. I hope, sir, you will provide for the future, that women may stick to their faces for doing any farther mischief, and not allow any but direct traders in beauty to expose more than the fore-part of the neck, unless you please to allow this after-game to those who are very defective in the charms of the countenance. I can say, to my sorrow, the present practice is very unfair, when to look back is death; and it may be said of our beauties, as a great poet did of bullets,

06

They kill and wound, like Parthians, as they fly." 'I submit this to your animadversion; and am, for the little while I have left, your humble servant, the languishing

PHILANTHUS.

P. S. Suppose you mended my letter, and made a símile about the "porcupine;"

but I submit that also.'

man deserves the least indulgence imaginable. It is said, it is soon over; that is, all the mischief he does is quickly despatched, which, I think, is no great recommendation to favour. I have known one of those goodnatured passionate men say in a mixed company, even to his own wife or child, such things as the most inveterate enemy of his family would not have spoken, even in imagination. It is certain that quick sensibility is inseparable from a ready understanding; but why should not that good understanding call to itself all its force on such occasions, to master that sudden inclination to anger? One of the greatest souls now in the world is the most subject by nature to anger, and yet so famous for a conquest of himself this way, that he is the and command of a man's self. To contain known example when you talk of temper the spirit of anger, is the worthiest discipline we can put ourselves to. When a frivolous fellow in a passion is to him as man has made any progress this way, a contemptible as a froward child. It ought to be the study of every man, for his own bustible and ready to flame upon every thing quiet and peace. When he stands comthat touches him, life is as uneasy to himleads, of all men living, the most ridiculous self as it is to all about him. Syncropius life; he is ever offending and begging par

don. If his man enters the room without begins he 'Gentlemen, I ask your parwhat he was sent for-That blockhead,' don, but servants now-a-days'-The wrong plates are laid, they are thrown into the middle of the room: his wife stands by in answers as if he had heard all she was pain for him, which he sees in her face, and thinking:-Why? what the devil! Why don't you take care to give orders in these things? His friends sit down to a tasteless plenty of every thing, every minute expectsions. In a word, to eat with, or visit Syning new insults from his impertinent pascropius, is no other than going to see him exercise his family, exercise their patience, and his own anger.

No. 438.] Wednesday, July 23, 1712.

Animum rege, qui, nisi paret,
Imperat-
Hor. Ep. ii. Lib. 1. 62.
-Curb thy soul,
And check thy rage, which must be rul'd or rule.
Creech.

Iris a very common expression, that such a one is very good-natured, but very passionate. The expression, indeed, is very good-natured, to allow passionate people so much quarter; but I think a passionate

* Ingenuous.

It is monstrous that the shame and con

fusion in which this good-natured angry man must needs behold his friends, while he thus lays about him, does not give him so much reflection as to create an amendment. This is the most scandalous disuse of reason imaginable; all the harmless part of him is no more than that of a bull-dog, they are tame no longer than they are not offended. One of these good-natured angry men shall, in an instant, assemble together so many allusions to secret circumstances, as are enough to dissolve the peace of all the families and friends he is acquainted with, in a quarter of an hour, and yet the next moment be the best natured man in the world. If you would see passion in its purity, without mixture of reason, behold

* Lord Somers.

[blocks in formation]

"

lost, and I know not to whom I lent it, it is
so many years ago.' Then, sir, here is the
other volume; I'll send you home that, and
please to pay for both.' 'My friend,' re-
plied he, 'canst thou be so senseless as not
to know that one volume is as imperfect in
my library as in your shop?' 'Yes, sir, but
it is you have lost the first volume; and, to
be short, I will be paid.' 'Sir,' answered
the chapman, 'you are a young man, your
book is lost; and learn by this little loss to
bear much greater adversities, which you
must expect to meet with.' 'Yes, I'll bear
when I must, but I have not lost now, for I
say you have it, and shall pay me.' 'Friend,
you grow warm; I tell you the book is lost;
and foresee, in the course even of a pros-
perous life, that you will meet afflictions to
make you mad, if you cannot bear this
trifle.' Sir, there is, in this case, no need
of bearing, for you have the book."
'I say,
sir, I have not the book; but your passion
will not let you hear enough to be informed
that I have it not. Learn resignation of
yourself to the distresses of this life: nay,
do not fret and fume; it is my duty to tell
you that you are of an impatient spirit, and
an impatient spirit is never without woe.'
Was ever any thing like this?' 'Yes, sir,
there have been many things like this: the
loss is but a trifle; but your temper is wan-
ton, and incapable of the least pain; there-
fore let me advise you, be patient, the book
is lost, but do not for that reason lose your-
self.'
T.*

"

Every passionate fellow in town talks half the day with as little consistency, and threatens things as much out of his power. The next disagreeable person to the outrageous gentleman, is one of a much lower order of anger, and he is what we commonly call a peevish fellow. A peevish fellow is one who has some reason in himself for being out of humour, or has a natural incapacity for delight, and therefore disturbs all who are happier than himself with pishes and pshaws, or other well-bred interjections, at every thing that is said or done in his presence. There should be physic mixed in the food of all which these fellows eat in good company. This degree of anger passes, forsooth, for a delicacy of judgment, that won't admit of being easily pleased; but none above the character of wearing a peevish man's livery ought to bear with his ill manners. All things among men of sense and condition should pass the censure, and have the protection of the eye of reason.

The structure of it was contrived

No man ought to be tolerated in an habitual humour, whim, or particularity of behaviour, by any who do not wait upon him for bread. Next to the peevish fellow is No. 439.] Thursday, July 24, 1712. the snarler. This gentleman deals mightily in what we call the irony; and as those sort of people exert themselves most against those below them, you see their humour best in their talk to their servants. 'That is so like you; You are a fine fellow; Thou art the quickest head-piece;' and the like. OVID describes the palace of Fame as One would think the hectoring, the storm- situated in the very centre of the universe, ing, the sullen, and all the different species and perforated with so many windows as and subordinations of the angry should be gave her the sight of every thing that was cured, by knowing they live only as par- done in the heavens, in the earth, and in doned men; and how pitiful is the condition the sea. of being only suffered! But I am inter-in so admirable a manner, that it echoed rupted by the pleasantest scene of anger, every word which was spoken in the whole and the disappointment of it, that I have compass of nature; so that the palace, says ever known, which happened while I was the poet, was always filled with a confused yet writing, and I overheard as I sat in the hubbub of low, dying sounds, the voices back-room at a French bookseller's. There being almost spent and worn out before they came into the shop a very learned man with arrived at this general rendezvous of an erect solemn air; and, though a person speeches and whispers. of great parts otherwise, slow in under- I consider courts with the same regard to standing any thing which makes against the governments which they superintend, himself. The composure of the faulty man, as Ovid's palace of Fame with regard to and the whimsical perplexity of him that the universe. The eyes of a watchful miwas justly angry, is perfectly new. After nister run through the whole people. There turning over many volumes, said the seller is scarce a murmur or complaint that does to the buyer, Sir, you know I have long asked you to send me back the first volume of French sermons I formerly lent you.' 'Sir,' said the chapman, I have often looked for it, but cannot find it; it is certainly

Hi narrata ferunt alio: mensuraque ficti
Crescit; et auditis aliquid novus adjicit auctor.
Ovid, Met. xii. 57.
Some tell what they have heard, or tales devise;
Each fiction still improv'd with added lies.

* By Steele.

See No. 324, ad finem. This scene passed in the shop of Mr. Vaillant, now of Mr. James Payne, in the Strand; and the subject of it was (for it is still in remembrance) a volume of Mas. sillon's Sermons.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »