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long after, calling out to a young baronet | confusion, raving and inconsistency. In by his name, who sat three seats before short, they are my speculations in the me, she asked him whether Macbeth's wife first principles, that (like the world in its was still alive; and before he could give an chaos) are void of all light, distinction, and answer, fell a talking of the ghost of Ban- order. quo. She had by this time formed a little audience to herself, and fixed the attention of all about her. But as I had a mind to hear the play, I got out of the sphere of her impertinence, and planted myself in one of the remotest corners of the pit.
This pretty childishness of behaviour is one of the most refined parts of coquetry, and is not to be attained in perfection by ladies that do not travel for their improvement. A natural and unconstrained behaviour has something in it so agreeable, that it is no wonder to see people endeavouring after it. But at the same time it is so very hard to hit, when it is not born with us, that people often make themselves ridiculous in attempting it.
About a week since there happened to me a very odd accident, by reason of one of these my papers of minutes which I had accidentally dropped at Lloyd's coffee-house, where the auctions are usually kept. Before I missed it, there were a cluster of people who had found it, and were diverting themselves with it at one end of the coffee-house. It had raised so much laughter among them before I had observed what they were about, that I had not the courage to own it. The boy of the coffee-house, when they had done with it, carried it about in his hand, asking every body if they had dropped a written paper; but nobody challenging it, he was ordered by those merry gentlemen who had perused it, to get up A very ingenious French author tells us, into the auction pulpit, and read it to the that the ladies of the court of France, in his whole room, that if any one would own it, time, thought it ill-breeding, and a kind of they might. The boy accordingly mounted female pedantry, to pronounce a hard word the pulpit, and with a very audible voice right: for which reason they took frequent | read as follows: occasion to use hard words, that they might show a politeness in murdering them. He further adds, that a lady of some quality at court having accidently made use of a hard word in a proper place, and pronounced it right, the whole assembly was out of countenance for her.
Sir Roger de Coverley's country-seatYes, for I hate long speeches-Query, if a good Christian may be a conjurer-Childermas-day, saltseller, house-dog, screechowl, cricket-Mr. Thomas Inkle of LonI must however be so just as to own that don, in the good ship called the Achilles. there are many ladies who have travelled Yarico-Egrescitque medendo-Ghostsseveral thousands of miles without being The Lady's Library-Lion by trade a taithe worse for it, and have brought home lor-Dromedary called Bucephalus-Equiwith them all the modesty, discretion, and page the lady's summum, bonum-Charles good sense, that they went abroad with. Lillie to be taken notice of-Short face a As on the contrary, there are great num-relief to envy-Redundancies in the three bers of travelled ladies who have lived all professions-King Latinus a recruit-Jew their days within the smoke of London. I devouring a ham of bacon-Westminsterhave known a woman that never was out of abbey-Grand Cairo-Procrastination— the parish of St. James's betray as many foreign fopperies in her carriage, as she could have gleaned up in half the countries of Europe. C.
No.46.] Monday, April 23, 1711.
April fools-Blue boars, red lions, hogs in armour-Enter a King and two Fiddlers solus-Admission into the Ugly ClubBeauty how improveable-Families of true and false humour-The parrot's schoolmistress-Face half Pict half British-No man to be a hero of a tragedy under six feet-Club of sighers-Letters from flowerpots, elbow-chairs, tapestry, figures, lion, Ovid, Met. Lib. i. ver. 8.thunder-The bell rings to the puppetThe jarring seeds of ill-concerted things. show-Old woman with a beard married WHEN I want materials for this paper, to a smock-faced boy-My next coat to be it is my custom to go abroad in quest of turned up with blue-Fable of tongs and game; and when I meet any proper sub-gridiron--Flower dyers-The Soldier's ject, I take the first opportunity of setting prayer-Thank ye for nothing, says the down a hint upon paper. At the same galley-pot-Pactolus in stockings with goltime I look into the letters of my corres- den clocks to them-Bamboos, cudgels, pondents, and if I find any thing suggested drum-sticks-Slip of my lady's eldest in them that may afford matter of specula-daughter-The black mare with a star in tion, I likewise enter a minute of it in my her forehead-The barber's pole-Will collection of materials. By this means I Honeycomb's coat-pocket-Cæsar's behafrequently carry about me a whole sheet-viour and my own in parallel circumstances ful of hints, that would look like a rhap--Poem in patch-work-Nulli gravis est sody of nonsense to any body but myself. percussus Achilles-The female conventiThere is nothing in them but obscurity and cler-The ogle-master.
The second letter, relating to the oglingmaster, runs thus:
The reading of this paper made the ner, unless when the preacher is to be at it. whole coffee-house very merry; some of With him come a tribe, all brothers and them concluded it was written by a mad-sisters it seems; while others really such, man; and others by somebody that had been are deemed no relations. If at any time I taking notes out of the Spectator. One have her company alone, she is a mere who had the appearance of a very substan- sermon pop-gun, repeating and dischargtial citizen, told us, with several political ing texts, proofs, and applications, so perwinks and nods, that he wished there was petually, that however weary I may go to no more in the paper than was expressed bed, the noise in my head will not let me in it: that for his part, he looked upon the sleep till towards morning. The misery dromedary, the gridiron, and the barber's of my case, and great numbers of such sufpole to signify something more than what ferers, plead your pity and speedy relief; was usually meant by those words: and that otherwise must expect, in a little time, to he thought the coffee-man could not do be lectured, preached, and prayed into better than to carry the paper to one of want, unless the happiness of being sooner the secretaries of state. He further added, talked to death prevent it. I am, &c. that he did not like the name of the outlandish man with the golden clock in his stockings. A young Oxford scholar, who chanced to be with his uncle at the coffeehouse, discovered to us who this Pactolus was; and by that means turned the whole scheme of this worthy citizen into ridicule. While they were making their several conjectures upon this innocent paper, I reached out my arm to the boy as he was coming out of the pulpit, to give it me; which he did accordingly. This drew the eyes of the whole company upon me; but after having cast a cursory glance over it, and shook my head twice or thrice at the reading of it, I twisted it into a kind of match, and lighted my pipe with it. My profound silence, together with the steadiness of my countenance, and the gravity of my behaviour during this whole transaction, raised a very loud laugh on all sides of me; but as I had escaped all suspicion of being the author, I was very well satisfied, and applying myself to my pipe and the Postman, took no further notice of any thing that had passed about me.
My reader will find, that I have already made use of above half the contents of the foregoing paper: and will easily suppose, that those subjects which are yet untouched, were such provisions as I had made for his future entertainment. But as I have been unluckily prevented by this accident, I shall only give him the letters which related to the two last hints. The first of them I should not have published, were I not informed that there is many a husband who suffers very much in his private affairs by the indiscreet zeal of such a partner as is hereafter mentioned; to whom I may apply the barbarous inscription quoted by the Bishop of Salisbury in his travels; Dum nimis pia est facta est impia:'"Through too much piety she became impious.
'MR. SPECTATOR,---I am an Irish gentleman that have travelled many years for my improvement; during which time I art of ogling, as it is at present practised have accomplished myself in the whole in the polite nations of Europe. Being thus qualified, I intend, by the advice of my friends, to set up for an ogling-master. I teach the church-ogle in the morning, and the play-house ogle by candle-light. I have also brought over with me a new flying ogle fit for the ring; which I teach in the dusk of the evening, or in any hour of I have a manuscript by me called The the day, by darkening one of my windows. Complete Ogler, which I shall be ready to beg you will publish the substance of this show you on any occasion. In the mean time letter in an advertisement, and you will C. very much oblige, Yours, &c.'
Tuesday, April 24, 1711.
MR. HOBBS,* in his Discourse of Human Nature, which, in my humble opinion, is much the best of all his works, after some very curious observations upon laughter, concludes thus: The passion of laughter is nothing else but sudden glory arising from some sudden conception of some eminency in ourselves, by comparison with the infirmity of others, or with our own formerly; for men laugh at the follies of themselves past, when they come suddenly to remembrance, except they bring with them any present dishonour.'
According to this author, therefore, when we hear a man laugh excessively, instead of saying he is very merry, we ought to tell him he is very proud. And indeed, if we
'SIR,---I am one of those unhappy men that are plagued with a gospel-gossip, *Thomas Hobbs of Malmsbury. "He is commonly so common among dissenters (especially and a dogmatist in philosophy; but he was a dog. represented," says Granger, "as a sceptic in religion, friends.) Lectures in the morning, church-matist in both. The main principles of his Leviathan meetings at noon, and preparation sermons are as little founded in moral or evangelical truth, as at night, take up so much of her time, it is the rules he has laid down for squaring the circle are in mathematical demonstration." He died in 1679, at very rare she knows what we have for din- the advanced age of 92.
look into the bottom of this matter, wel every body takes it into his head to make shall meet with many observations to con- as many fools as he can. In proportion as firm us in this opinion. Every one laughs there are more follies discovered, so there at somebody that is in an inferior state of is more laughter raised on this day than on folly to himself. It was formerly the cus- any other in the whole year. A neighbour tom for every great house in England to of mine, who is a haberdasher by trade, keep a tame fool dressed in petticoats, that and a very shallow conceited fellow, makes the heir of the family might have an op- his boast that for these ten years succesportunity of joking upon him, and diverting sively he has not made less than a hunhimself with his absurdities. For the dred April fools. My landlady had a fallsame reason, idiots are still in request in ing out with him about a fortnight ago, for most of the courts of Germany, where sending every one of her children upon there is not a prince of any great magnifi- some sleeveless errand, as she terms it. cence, who has not two or three dressed, Her eldest son went to buy a half-pennydistinguished, undisputed fools in his reti- worth of inkle at a shoemaker's; the eldnue, whom the rest of the courtiers are est daughter was despatched half a mile to always breaking their jests upon. see a monster, and, in short, the whole family of innocent children made April fools. Nay, my landlady herself did not escape him. This empty fellow has laughed upon these conceits ever since.
The Dutch, who are more famous for their industry and application, than for wit and humour, hang up in several of their streets what they call the sign of the Gaper, that is, the head of an idiot dressed in a cap and bells, and gaping in a most immoderate manner. This is a standing jest at Amsterdam.
Thus every one diverts himself with some person or other that is below him in point of understanding, and triumphs in the superiority of his genius, whilst he has such objects of derision before his eyes. Mr. Dennis has very well expressed this in a couple of humorous lines, which are part of a translation of a satire in Monsieur Boileau:
"Thus one fool lolls his tongue out at another, And shakes his empty noddle at his brother.'
Mr. Hobbs's reflection gives us the reason why the insignificant people abovementioned are stirrers-up of laughter among men of a gross taste: but as the more understanding part of mankind do not find their risibility affected by such ordinary objects, it may be worth the while to examine into the several provocatives of laughter, in men of superior sense and knowledge.
In the first place I must observe, that there is a set of merry drolls, whom the common people of all countries admire, and seem to love so well, that they could eat them;' according to the old proverb: I mean those circumforaneous wits whom every nation calls by the name of that dish of meat which it loves best: in Holland they are termed Pickled Herrings; in France, Jean Pottage; in Italy, Macaronies; and in Great Britain, Jack Puddings. These merry wags, from whatsoever food they receive their titles, that they may make their audiences laugh, always appear in a fool's coat, and commit such blunders and mistakes in every step they take, and every word they utter, as those who listen to them would be ashamed of.
But this little triumph of the understanding under the disguise of laughter, is no where more visible than in that custom which prevails every where among us on the first day of the present month, when
This art of wit is well enough, when confined to one day in a twelvemonth: but there is an ingenious tribe of men sprung up of late years, who are for making April fools every day in the year. These gentlemen are commonly distinguished by the name of Biters: a race of men that are perpetually employed in laughing at those mistakes which are of their own production.
Thus we see, in proportion as one man is more refined than another, he chooses his fool out of a lower or higher class of mankind, or to speak in a more philosophical language, that secret elation or pride of heart, which is generally called laughter, arises in him, from his comparing himself with an object below him, whether it so happens that it be a natural or an artificial fool. It is, indeed, very possible, that the persons we laugh at may in the main of their characters be much wiser men than ourselves; but if they would have us laugh at them, they must fall short of us in those respects which stir up this passion.
I am afraid I shall appear too abstracted in my speculations, if I show, that when a man of wit makes us laugh, it is by betraying some oddness or infirmity in his own character, or in the representation which he makes of others; and that when we laugh at a brute, or even at an inanimate thing, it is at some action or incident that bears a remote analogy to any blunder or absurdity in reasonable creatures.
But to come into common life: I shall pass by the consideration of those stage coxcombs that are able to shake a whole audience, and take notice of a particular sort of men who are such provokers of mirth in conversation, that it is impossible for a club or merry meeting to subsist without them; I mean those honest gentlemen that are always exposed to the wit and raillery of their well-wishers and companions; that are pelted by men, women, and children, friends and foes, and, in a word, stand as butts in conversation, for every
"THE SPECTATOR. 'P. S. I desire to know whether you admit people of quality.'
one to shoot at that pleases. I know several | taken all possible pains to acquire the face of these butts who are men of wit and sense, in which I shall present her to your conthough by some odd turn of humour, some sideration and favour. I am, gentlemen, unlucky cast in their person or behaviour, your most obliged humble servant, they have always the misfortune to make the company merry. The truth of it is, a man is not qualified for a butt, who has not a good deal of wit and vivacity, even in the ridiculous side of his character. A stu'MR. SPECTATOR,-To show you there pid butt is only fit for the conversation of ordinary people: men of wit require one that have honesty and fortitude enough to are among us of the vain weak sex, some that will give them play, and bestir him- dare to be ugly, and willing to be thought self in the absurd part of his behaviour. A butt with these accomplishments frequent-terest and recommendation to the Ugly So, I apply myself to you, to beg your inly gets the laugh of his side, and turns the Club. If my own word will not be taken ridicule upon him that attacks him. Sir and gives a good description of himself in John Falstaff was a hero of this species, his capacity of a butt, after the following manner: Men of all sorts,' says that merry knight, take a pride to gird at me. The brain of man is not able to invent any thing that tends to laughter more than I invent, or is invented on me. I am not only witty in myself, but the cause that wit is in other
No. 48.] Wednesday, April 25, 1711.
My correspondents take it ill if I do not, from time to time, let them know I have received their letters. The most effectual way will be to publish some of them that are upon important subjects; which I shall introduce with a letter of my own that I writ a fortnight ago to a fraternity who thought fit to make me an honorary member.
To the President and Fellows of the Ugly
for their company, whether they insist upon (though in this case a woman's may) I can bring credible witnesses of my qualifications hair, forehead, eyes, cheeks, or chin; to which I must add, that I find it easier to hope I am in all respects agreeable, and lean to my left side, than to my right. I for humour and mirth, I will keep up to the president himself. All the favour. I will pretend to is, that as I am the first woman who has appeared desirous of good company and agreeable conversation, I may take and keep the upper end of the table. And indeed I think they want a carver, which I can be, after as ugly a manner as they could wish. I desire your thoughts of my claim as soon as you can. Add to my features the length of my face, which is full half-yard; though I never knew the reason of it till you gave one for the shortness of yours. If I knew a name ugly enough to belong to the above described face, I would feign one; but, to my unspeakable misfortune, my name is the only disagreeable prettiness about me; so prythee make one for me that signifies all the deformity in the world. You understand Latin, but be sure bring it in with my being, in the sincerity of my heart, your most frightful admirer, and servant,
MAY IT PLEASE YOUR DEFORMITIES, 'I have received the notification of the 'MR. SPECTATOR,—I read your discourse honour you have done me, in admitting me upon affectation, and from the remarks made into your society. I acknowledge my want in it, examined my own heart so strictly, of merit, and for that reason shall endea- that I thought I had found out its most sevour at all times to make up my own fail-cret avenues, with a resolution to be aware ures, by introducing and recommending to the club persons of more undoubted qualifications than I can pretend to. I shall next week come down in the stage-coach, in order to take my seat at the board; and shall bring with me a candidate of each sex. The persons I shall present to you, are an old beau and a modern Pict. If they are not so eminently gifted by nature as our assembly expects, give me leave to say their acquired ugliness is greater than any that has ever appeared before you. The beau has varied his dress every day of his life for these thirty years past, and still added to the deformity he was born with. The Pict has still greater merit towards us, and has, ever since she came to years of discretion, deserted the handsome party, and
of them for the future. But, alas! to my sorrow I now understand that I have several follies which I do not know the root of. I am an old fellow, and extremely troubled with the gout; but having always a strong vanity towards being pleasing in the eyes of women, I never have a moment's ease, but I am mounted in high-heeled shoes, with a glazed wax-leather instep. Two days after a severe fit, I was invited to a friend's house in the city, where I believed I should see ladies; and with my usual complaisance, crippled myself to wait upon them. A very sumptuous table, agreeable company, and kind reception, were but so many importunate additions to the torments I was in. A gentleman of the family observed my condition; and soon after the
queen's health, he in the presence of the whole company, with his own hands, degraded me into an old pair of his own shoes. This operation before fine ladies, to me (who am by nature a coxcomb) was suffered with the same reluctance as they admit the help of men in their greatest extremity. The return of ease made me forgive the rough obligation laid on me, which at that time relieved my body from a distemper, and will my mind for ever from a folly. For the charity received, I return my thanks this way. Your most humble servant.'
'Epping, April 18. 'SIR;-We have your papers here the morning they come out, and we have been very well entertained with your last, upon the false ornaments of persons who represent heroes in a tragedy. What made your speculation come very seasonably among us is, that we have now at this place a company of strollers, who are far from offending in the impertinent splendour of the drama. They are so far from falling into these false gallantries, that the stage is here in its original situation of a cart. Alexander the Great was acted by a fellow in a paper cravat. The next day the Earl of Essex seemed to have no distress but his poverty; and my Lord Foppington the same morning wanted any better means to show himself a fop, than by wearing stockings of different colours. In a word, though they have had a full barn for many days together, our itinerants are so wretchedly poor, that without you can prevail to send us the furniture you forbid at the playhouse, the heroes appear only like sturdy beggars, and the heroines gypsies. We have had but one part which was performed and dressed with propriety, and that was justice Clodpate. This was so well done, that it offended Mr. Justice Overdo, who in the midst of our whole audience, was (like Quixote in the puppet-show) so highly provoked, that he told them, if they would move compassion, it should be in their own persons, and not in the characters of distressed princes and potentates. He told them if they were so good at finding the way to people's hearts, they should do it at the end of bridges or church porches, in their proper vocation of beggars. This, the justice says, they must expect, since they could not be contented to act heathen warriors, and such fellows as Alexander, but must presume to make a mockery of one of the quorum. Your servant."
No. 49.] Thursday, April 26, 1711.
-Hominem pagina nostra sapit.-Mart. Men and their manners I describe.
It is very natural for a man who is not turned for mirthful meetings of men, or assemblies of the fair sex, to delight in that sort of conversation which we find in cof
fee-houses. Here a man of my temper is in his element; for if he cannot talk, he can still be more agreeable to his company, as well as pleased in himself, in being only a hearer. It is a secret known but to few, yet of no small use in the conduct of life, that when you fall into a man's conversation, the first thing you should consider is, whether he has a greater inclination to hear you, or that you should hear him. The latter is the more general desire, and I know very able flatterers that never speak a word in praise of the persons from whom they obtain daily favours, but still practise a skilful attention to whatever is uttered by those with whom they converse. We are very curious to observe the behaviour of great men and their clients: but the same passions and interests move men in lower spheres; and I (that have nothing else to do but make observations) see in every parish, street, lane, and alley of this populous city, a little potentate that has his court and his flatterers, who lay snares for his affection and favour, by the same arts that are practised upon men in higher stations.
In the place I most usually frequent, men differ rather in the time of day in which they make a figure, than in any real greatness above one another. I, who am at the coffee-house at six in the morning, know that my friend Beaver, the haberdasher, has a levee of more undissembled friends and admirers, than most of the courtiers or generals of Great Britain. Every man about him has, perhaps, a newspaper in his hand; but none can pretend to guess what step will be taken in any one court of Europe, till Mr. Beaver has thrown down his pipe, and declares what measures the allies must enter into upon this new posture of affairs. Our coffee-house is near one of the inns of court, and Beaver has the audience and admiration of his neighbours from six till within a quarter of eight, at which time he is interrupted by the students of the house; some of whom are ready dressed for Westminster at eight in the morning, with faces as busy as if they were retained in every cause there; and others come in their nightgowns to saunter away their time, as if they never designed to go thither. I do not know that I meet in any of my walks, objects which move both my spleen and laughter so effectually, as those young fellows at the Grecian, Squire's, Searle's, and all other coffee-houses adjacent to the law, who rise early for no other purpose but to publish their laziness. One would think these young virtuosos take a gay cap and slippers, with a scarf and party-coloured gown, to be ensigns of dignity; for the vain things approach each other with an air, which shows they regard one another for their vestments. I have observed that the superiority among these proceeds from an opinion of gallantry and fashion. The gentleman in the strawberry sash, who presides so much over the rest, has, it seems, subscribed to every opera