« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
No. 503.] Tuesday, October 7, 1712.
Deleo omnes dehinc ex animo mulieres.
Ter. Eun. Act ii. Sc. 3.
From henceforward I blot out of my thoughts all me
mory of womankind.
ed the churlish dislike and hesitation in approving what is excellent, too frequent among us, to a general attention and entertainment in observing her behaviour. All the while that we were gazing at her, she 'MR. SPECTATOR,-You have often took notice of no object about her, but had mentioned with great vehemence and in- an art of seeming awkwardly attentive, dignation the misbehaviour of people at whatever else her eyes were accidentally church; but I am at present to talk to you thrown upon. One thing indeed was paron that subject, and complain to you of one, ticular, she stood the whole service, and whom at the same time I know not what to never kneeled or sat; I do not question but accuse of, except it be looking too well that it was to show herself with the greater there, and diverting the eyes of the congre- advantage, and set forth to better grace gation to that one object. However, I have her hands and arms, lifted up with the this to say, that she might have staid at her most ardent devotion; and her bosom, the own parish, and not come to perplex those fairest that was ever seen, bare to observawho are otherwise intent upon their duty. tion; while she, you must think, knew no'Last Sunday was seven-night I went thing of the concern she gave others, any into a church not far from London-bridge; other than as an example of devotion, that but I wish I had been contented to go to my threw herself out, without regard to dress own parish, I am sure it had been better or garment, all contrition, and loose of all for me; I say I went to church thither, and worldly regards in ecstacy of devotion. got into a pew very near the pulpit. I had Well; now the organ was to play a volunhardly been accommodated with a seat, tary, and she was so skilful in music, and before there entered into the aisle a young so touched with it, that she kept time not lady in the very bloom of youth and beauty, only with some motion of her head, but and dressed in the most elegant manner also with a different air in her countenance. imaginable. Her form was such that it When the music was strong and bold, she engaged the eyes of the whole congrega- looked exalted, but serious; when lively tion in an instant, and mine among the rest. and airy, she was smiling and gracious; Though we were all thus fixed upon her, when the notes were more soft and lanshe was not in the least out of countenance, guishing, she was kind and full of pity. or under the least disorder, though unat- When she had now made it visible to the tended by any one, and not seeming to whole congregation, by her motion and know particularly where to place herself. ear, that she could dance, and she wanted However, she had not in the least a confi- now only to inform us that she could sing dent aspect, but moved on with the most too; when the psalm was given out, her graceful modesty, every one making way un- voice was distinguished above all the rest, she came to a seat just over-against that or rather people did not exert their own in which I was placed. The deputy of the order to hear her. Never was any heard vard sat in that pew, and she stood oppo- so sweet and so strong. The organist obsite to him, and at a glance into the seat, served it, and he thought fit to play to her though she did not appear the least ac- only, and she swelled every note, when she quainted with the gentleman, was let in, found she had thrown us all out, and had with a confusion that spoke much admira- the last verse to herself in such a manner tion at the novelty of the thing. The ser- as the whole congregation was intent upon vice immediately began, and she composed her, in the same manner as we see in the herself for it with an air of so much good- cathedrals they are on the person who ness and sweetness, that the confession sings alone the anthem. Well; it came which she uttered, so as to be heard where at last to the sermon, and our young lady e sat, appeared an act of humiliation would not lose her part in that neither: for more than she had occasion for. The truth she fixed her eye upon the preacher, and is her beauty had something so innocent, as he said any thing she approved, with and yet so sublime, that we all gazed upon one of Charles Mather's fine tablets she her like a phantom. None of the pictures set down the sentence, at once showing her which we behold of the best Italian paint- fine hand, the gold pen, her readiness in ers have any thing like the spirit which writing, and her judgment in choosing ppeared in her countenance, at the differ- what to write. To sum up what I intend ent sentiments expressed in the several by this long and particular account, I apparts of divine service. That gratitude and peal to you, whether it is reasonable that joy at a thanksgiving, that lowliness and such a creature as this shall come from a Sorrow at the prayers for the sick and dis- janty part of the town, and give herself tressed, that triumph at the passages which such violent airs, to the disturbance of an gave instances of the divine mercy, which innocent and inoffensive congregation, with appeared respectively in her aspect, will her sublimities. The fact, I assure you, e in my memory to my last hour. I pro- was as I have related: but I had like to est to you, sir, that she suspended the de- have forgot another very considerable parTotion of every one around her; and the ticular. As soon as church was done, she se she did every thing with, soon dispers-immediately stepped out of her pew, and
fell into the finest pitty-patty air, forsooth, | who have the Latin tongue, such as use
You are a hare yourself, and want dainties, forsooth. Ir is a great convenience to those who want wit to furnish out a conversation, that there is something or other in all companies where it is wanted substituted in its stead, which, according to their taste, does the business as well. Of this nature is the agreeable pastime in country-halls of cross purposes, questions and commands, and the like. A little superior to these are those who can play at crambo, or cap verses. Then above them are such as can make verses, that is, rhyme; and among those
There are another kind of people of sma faculties, who supply want of wit with wa of breeding; and because women are bot by nature and education more offended any thing which is immodest than we me are, these are ever harping upon things the ought not to allude to, and deal mightily double meanings. Every one's own ob servation will suggest instances enough c this kind, without my mentioning any; fc down through all parts of the town or cit your double meaners are dispersed up an where there are any to offend, in order set off themselves. These men are might loud laughers, and held very pretty gentle men with the sillier and unbred part o womankind. But above all already men tioned, or any who ever were, or ever ca be in the world, the happiest and surest t be pleasant, are a sort of people whom w have not indeed lately heard much of, and those are your 'biters.'
A biter is one who tells you a thing you have no reason to disbelieve in itself, and
perhaps has given you, before he bit you, | for the future will ever be able to equal, no reason to disbelieve it for his saying it; though I heartily wish him the same occa-. and, if you give him credit, laughs in your sion. It is a superstition with some surface, and triumphs that he has deceived geons who beg the bodies of condemned' you. In a word, a biter is one who thinks malefactors, to go to the gaol, and bargain you a fool, because you do not think him a for the carcase with the criminal himself. knave. This description of him one may A good honest fellow did so last sessions, insist upon to be a just one; for what else and was admitted to the condemned men but a degree of knavery. is it, to depend on the morning wherein they died. The upon deceit for what you gain of another, surgeon communicated his business, and be it in point of wit, or interest, or any fell into discourse with a little fellow, who thing else? refused twelve shillings, and insisted upon fifteen for his body. The fellow, who killed the officer of Newgate, very forwardly, and like a man who was willing to deal, told him, 'Look you, Mr. Surgeon, that little dry fellow, who has been half starved all his life, and is now half dead with fear, cannot answer your purpose. I have ever lived highly and freely, my veins are full, I have not pined in imprisonment; you see my crest swells to your knife; and after Jack Catch has done, upon my honour you will find me as sound as ever a bullock in any of the markets. Come, for twenty shillings I am your man. Says the surgeon, Done, there is a guinea.' This witty rogue took the money, and as soon as he had it in his fist, cries, Bite; I am to be hung in chains.'
No. 505.] Thursday, October 9, 1712.
Non vicanos aruspices, non de circo astrologos.
This way of wit is called biting,' by a metaphor taken from beasts of prey, which devour harmless and unarmed animals, and look upon them as their food wherever they meet them. The sharpers about town very ingeniously understood themselves to be to the undesigning part of mankind what foxes are to lambs, and therefore used the word biting, to express any exploit wherein they had over-reached any innocent and inadvertent man of his purse. These rascals of late years have been the gallants of the town, and carried it with a fashionable haughty air, to the discouragement of modesty, and all honest arts. Shallow fops, who are governed by the eye, and admire every thing that struts in vogue, took up from the sharpers the phrase of biting, and used it upon all occasions, either to disown any nonsensical stuff they should talk themselves, or evade the force of what was reasonably said by others. Thus, when one of these cunning creatures was entered into a debate with you, whether it was practicable Non habeo denique nauci marsum augurem, in the present state of affairs to accomplish Non Isiacos conjectores, non interpretes somnium; such a proposition, and you thought he had Non enim sunt ii, aut scientia, aut arte divina, let fall what destroyed his side of the ques- Aut inertes, aut insani, aut quibus egestas imperat: Sed superstitiosi vates, impudentesque harioli, tion, as soon as you looked with an earnest-Qui sui questus causa fictas suscitant sententias, ness ready to lay hold of it, he immediately Qui sibi semitam non sapiunt, alteri monstrant viam, cried, Bite,' and you were immediately to Quibus divitias pollicentur, ab iis drachmam petunt: acknowledge all that part was in jest. They carry this to all the extravagance imaginable; and if one of these witlings knows any particulars which may give authority to what he says, he is still the more ingenious if he imposes upon your credulity. I remember a remarkable instance of this kind. There came up a shrewd young fellow to aplain young man, his countryman, and taking him aside with a grave concerned countenance, goes on at this rate: 'I see you here, and have you heard nothing out of Yorkshire? You look so surprised, you could not have heard of it-and yet the particulars are such that it cannot be false: I am sorry I am got into it so far that I must tell you; but I know not but it may be for your service to know. On Tuesday last, just after dinner-you know his manner is to smoke-opening his box, your father fell down dead in an apoplexy. The youth showed the filial sorrow which he ought Upon which the witty man cried, Bite, there was nothing in all this.'
To put an end to this silly, pernicious, frivolous way at once, I will give the reader me late instance of a bite, which no biter
De divitiis deducant drachmam, reddant cætera.
Augurs and soothsayers, astrologers,
THOSE who have maintained that men would be more miserable than beasts, were their hopes confined to this life only, among other considerations take notice that the latter are only afflicted with the anguish of the present evil, whereas the former are very often pained by the reflection on what is passed, and the fear of what is to come. This fear of any future difficulties or misfortunes is so natural to the mind, that were a man's sorrows and disquietudes summed up at the end of his life, it would generally be found that he had suffered more from the apprehension of such evils as never happened to him, than from those evils which had really befallen him. To this we may add, that among those evils which befall us, there are many which have
Deen more painful to us in the prospect, | been the habitation of some prophetic Phithan by their actual pressure.
This natural impatience to look into futurity, and to know what accidents may happen to us hereafter, has given birth to many ridiculous arts and inventions. Some found their prescience on the lines of a man's hand, others on the features of his face: some on the signatures which nature has impressed on his body, and others on his own hand-writing: some read men's fortunes in the stars, as others have searched after them in the entrails of beasts, or the flight of birds. Men of the best sense have been touched more or less with these groundless horrors and presages of futurity, upon surveying the most indifferent works of nature. Can any thing be more surprising than to consider Cicero, who made the greatest figure at the bar and in the senate of the Roman Commonwealth, and at the same time outshined all the philosophers of antiquity in his library, and in his retirements, as busying himself in the college of augurs, and observing with a religious attention after what manner the chickens pecked the several grains of corn
which were thrown to them.
Notwithstanding these follies are pretty well worn out of the minds of the wise and learned in the present age, multitudes of weak and ignorant persons are still slaves to them. There are numberless arts of prediction among the vulgar, which are too trifling to enumerate, and infinite observation of days, numbers, voices, and figures, which are regarded by them as portents and prodigies. In short, every thing prophesies to the superstitious man; there is scarce a straw, or a rusty piece of iron that lies in his way by accident.
It is not to be conceived how many wizzards, gipsies, and cunning men, are dispersed through all the counties and market-towns of Great Britain, not to mention the fortune-tellers and astrologers, who live very comfortably upon the curiosity of several well-disposed persons in the cities of London and Westminster.
Among the many pretended arts of divination, there is none which so universally amuses as that by dreams. I have indeed observed in a late speculation, that there have been sometimes, upon very extraordinary occasions, supernatural revelations made to certain persons by this means; but as it is the chief business of this paper to root out popular errors, I must endeavour to expose the folly and superstition of those persons, who, in the common and ordinary course of life, lay any stress upon things of so uncertain, shadowy, and chimerical a nature. This I cannot do more effectually than by the following letter, which is dated from a quarter of the town that has always
*This censure of Cicero seems to be unfounded: for It is said of him; that he wondered how one augur could
meet another without laughing in his face.
lomath; it having been usual, time out of mind, for all such people as have lost their wits to resort to that place, either for their cure or for their instruction.
'Moorfields, Oct. 4, 1712.
MR. SPECTATOR,-Having long considered whether there be any trade wanted in this great city, after having surveyed very attentively all kinds of ranks and professions, I do not find in any quarter of the town an oneiro-critic, or, in plain English, an interpreter of dreams. For want of so useful a person, there are several good people who are very much puzzled in this par ticular, and dream a whole year together, without being ever the wiser for it. I hope I am pretty well qualified for this office, having studied by candle-light all the rules of art which have been laid down subject. My great uncle by my wife's side was a Scotch highlander, and second-sighted. I have four fingers and two thumbs upon one hand, and was born on the longest night of the year. My Christian and surname begin and end with the same letters. I am lodged in Moorfields, in a house that for these fifty years has always been tenanted by a conjurer.
"If you had been in company, so much as myself, with ordinary women of the town, you must know that there are many of them who every day in their lives, upon seeing or hearing of any thing that is unexpected, cry, "My dream is out;" and cannot go to sleep in quiet the next night, until something or other has happened which has expounded the visions of the preceding one. There are others who are in very great pain for not being able to recover the cir cumstances of a dream, that made strong impressions upon them while it lasted. In short, sir, there are many whose waking thoughts are wholly employed on their sleeping ones. For the benefit therefore of this curious and inquisitive part of my fellow-subjects, I shall in the first place tell those persons what they dreamt of, who fancy they never dream at all. In the next place I shall make out any dream, upon hearing a single circumstance of it; and in the last place, I shall expound to them the good or bad fortune which such dreams portend. If they do not presage good luck, I shall desire nothing for my pains; not questioning at the same time, that those who consult me will be so reasonable as to afford me a moderate share out of any considerable estate, profit, or emolument which I shall discover to them. I interpret to the poor for nothing, on condition that their names may be inserted in public ad vertisements, to attest the truth of such interpretations. As for people of quality, or others who are indisposed, and do not their dreams by seeing their water. care to come in person, I can interpret side one day in the week for lovers;
Candida perpetuo reside, concordia, lecto,
Perpetual harmony their bed attend,
France, the lady tells her that is a secret in dress she never knew before, and that she was so unpolished an English woman, as to resolve never to learn to dress even before her husband.
There is something so gross in the carriage of some wives, that they lose their husband's hearts for faults which, if a man has either good-nature or good-breeding, he knows not how to tell them of. I am afraid, indeed, the ladies are generally most faulty in this particular; who, at their first giving into love, find the way so smooth and pleasant, that they fancy it is scarce possible to be tired in it.
There is so much nicety and discretion required to keep love alive after marriage, and make conversation still new and agreeable after twenty or thirty years, that I know nothing which seems readily to promise it, but an earnest endeavour to please on both sides, and superior good sense on the part of the man.
By a man of sense I mean one acquainted with business and letters.
A woman very much settles her esteem for a man, according to the figure he makes I have somewhere met with a fable that in the world, and the character he bears made Wealth the father of Love. It is among his own sex. As learning is the Certain that a mind ought at least to be free chief advantage we have over them, it is, from the apprehensions of want and poverty, methinks, as scandalous and inexcusable before it can fully attend to all the softnesses for a man of fortune to be illiterate, as for a and endearments of this passion; notwith- woman not to know how to behave herself standing, we see multitudes of married peo- on the most ordinary occasions. It is this ple, who are utter strangers to this delight-which sets the two sexes at the greatest Ful passion amidst all the affluence of the distance; a woman is vexed and surprised, ost plentiful fortunes. to find nothing more in the conversation of a man, than in the common tattle of her own sex.
It is not sufficient to make a marriage appy, that the humours of two people should be alike. I could instance à hundred pair, who have not the least sentiment of love remaining for one another, yet are 30 like in their humours, that if they were not already married, the whole world would design them for man and wife.
Some small engagement at least in business, not only sets a man's talents in the fairest light, and allots him a part to act in which a wife cannot well intermeddle, but gives frequent occasion for those little absences, which, whatever seeming uneasiThe spirit of love has something so ex-ness they may give, are some of the best remely fine in it, that it is very often dis- preservatives of love and desire.
urbed and lost, by some little accidents, The fair-sex are so conscious to themwhich the careless and unpolite never at-selves that they have nothing in them which end to, until it is gone past recovery. Nothing has more contributed to banish t from a married state than too great a Familiarity, and laying aside the common ules of decency. Though I could give in- Lætitia is pretty, modest, tender, and has tances of this in several particulars, I shall sense enough; she married Erastus, who is only mention that of dress. The beaux and in a post of some business, and has a geneelles about town, who dress purely to ral taste in most parts of polite learning. atch one another, think there is no farther Lætitia, wherever she visits, has the pleaccasion for the bait, when the first design sure to hear of something which was handlas succeeded. But besides the too com- somely said or done by Erastus. Erastus, non fault, in point of neatness, there are since his marriage, is more gay in his dress everal others which I do not remember than ever, and in all companies is as como have seen touched upon, but in one of plaisant to Lætitia as to any other lady. I ur modern comedies, where a French have seen him give her her fan when it has oman offering to undress and dress herself efore the lover of the play, and assuring er mistress that it was very usual in
can deserve entirely to engross the whole man, that they heartily despise one who, to use their own expression, is always hanging at their apron-strings.
The Funeral, or Grief Alamode, by Steele.
dropped, with all the gallantry of a lover. When they take the air together, Erastus is continually improving her thoughts, and with a turn of wit and spirit which is peculiar to him, giving her an insight into things