Imágenes de páginas

shoulders was ruffled with great care.

For my part, I am so shocked with everything which looks immodest in the fair sex, that I could not forbear taking off my eye from her when she moved in her bed, and was in the greatest confusion imaginable every time she stirred a leg or an arm. As the coquets, who introduced this custom, grew old, they left it off by degrees; well knowing that a woman of threescore may kick and tumble her heart out, without making any impressions.

Sempronia is at present the most profest ádmirer of the French nation, but is so modest as to admit her visitants no further than her toilet. It is a very odd sight that beautiful creature makes, when she is talking politics with her tresses flowing about her shoulders, and examining that face in the glass, which does such execution upon all the male standers-by. How prettily does she divide her discourse between her woman and her visitants! What sprightly transitions does she make from an opera or a sermon, to an ivory comb or a pincushion! How have I been pleased to see her interrupted in an account of her travels by a message to her footman! and holding her tongue in the midst of a moral reflection by applying the tip of it to a patch!

There is nothing which exposes a woman to greater dangers, than that gaiety and airiness of temper, which are natural to most of the sex. It should be therefore the concern of every wise and virtuous woman, to keep this sprightliness from degenerating into levity. On the contrary, the whole discourse and behaviour of the French is to make the sex more fantastical, or (as they are pleased to term it) more awakened, than is consistent either with virtue or discretion. To speak loud in public assemblies, to let every one hear you talk of things that should only be mentioned in private, or in whisper, are looked upon as parts of a refined education. At the same time, a blush is unfashionable, and silence more ill-bred than anything that can be spoken. In short, discretion and modesty, which in all other ages and countries have been regarded as the greatest ornaments of the fair ses, are considered as the ingredients of narrow conversation and family behaviour.

Some years ago I was at the tragedy of Macbeth, and unfortunately placed myself under a woman of quality that is since dead; who, as I found by the noise she made, was



newly returned from France. A little before the rising of the curtain, she broke out into a loud soliloquy,“ When will the dear witches enter ?” and immediately upon their first appearance, asked a lady that sat taree boxes from her, on her right hand, if those witches were not charming creatures. A little after, as Betterton was in one of the finest speeches of the play, she shook her fan at another lady, who sat as far on the left hand, and told her with a whisper, that might be heard all over the pit, we must not expect to see Balloon tonight. Not long after, calling out to a young baronet by his name, who sat three seats before me, she asked him whether Macbeth's wife was still alive; and before he could give an answer, fell a talking of the ghost of Banquo. 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.

A very ingenious French author tells us, that the ladies of the court of France, in his time, thought it ill-breeding, and a kind of female pedantry, to pronounce an hard word right; for which reason they took frequent 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 accidentally made use of an hard word in a proper place, and pronounced it right, the whole assembly was out of countenance for her.

I must, however, be so just to own, that there are many ladies who have travelled several thousands of miles without being the worse for it, and have brought home with them all the modesty, discretion, and good sense, that they went abroad with. As, on the contrary, there are great numbers of travelled ladies, who have lived all their days within the smoke of London. I have known a woman that never was out of the parish of St. James's betray as many foreign fop



peries in her carriage, as she could have gleaned up in half the countries of Europe.

No. 46. MONDAY, APRIL 23.


Non bene junctarum discordia semina rerum. WHEN I want materials for this paper, it is my custom to go abroad in quest of game; and when I meet any proper subject, I take the first opportunity of setting down an bint of it upon paper. At the same time I look into the letters of my correspondents, and if I find anything suggested in them that may afford matter of speculation, I likewise enter a minute of it in my collection of materials. By this means I frequently carry about me a whole sheet full of hints, that would look like a rhapsody of nonsense to anybody but myself: there is nothing in them but obscurity and confusion, raving and inconsistency. In short, they are my speculations in the first principles, that (like the world in its chaos) are void of all light, distinction, and order.

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 everybody if they had dropped a written paper; but nobody challenging it, he was ordered by those merry gentlemen who had before perused it, to get up into the auction-pulpit, and read it to the whole room, that if any one would own it, they might. The boy accordingly mounted the pulpit, and with a very audible voice read as follows.


Sir Poger de Coverley's country seat-Yes, for I hate long speeches-Query, if a good Christian may be a conjurer-- Childermas-day, Salt-seller, House-dog, Screech-owl, "Cricket-Mr. Thomas Inkle of London, in the good ship called the Achilles. Yarico--Agrescitque medendo-Ghosts -The Lady's Library-Lion by trade a tailor-Dromedary called Bucephalus— Equipage the Lady's summum bonumCharles Lilly to be taken notice of_Short face a relief to envy-Redundancies in the three professions-King Latinus a recruit-Jew devouring an ham of bacon-Westminster Abbey-Grand Cairo-Procrastination--April Fools-Blue Boars, Red Lions, Hogs in armour-Enter a King and two Fiddlers, solus - Admission into the Ugly Club - Beauty, how improvable-Families of true and false humour— The parrot's school-mistress-Face half Pict half British-No man to be an hero of a tragedy under six fogt-Club of Sighers--Letters from Flower-pots, Elbow-chairs, Tapestry figures, Lion, Thunder— The Bell rings to the puppet-show

-Old Woman with a beard married to a smock-faced BoyMy next coat to be turned up with blue-Fable of Tongs and Gridiron-Flower Dyers-The Soldier's Prayer—Thank ye for nothing, says the Gally-pot-Pactolus in Stockings, with golden clocks to them- Bamboos, Cudgels, Drumsticks -Slip of my Landlady's eldest daughter-The black mare with a star in her forehead—The barber's pole-Will. Honeycomb's coat-pocket-Cæsar's behaviour and my own in parallel circumstances-Poem in patch-work— Nulli gravis est percussus Achilles—The Female Conventicler-The Oglemaster.

The reading of this paper made the whole coffee-house very merry: some of them concluded

was written by a madman, and others by somebody that had been taking notes out of the Spectator. One who had the

appearance substantial citizen, told us, with several politic winks and nods, that he wished there was no more in the paper than what was expressed in it; that, for his part, he looked upon the Dromedary, the Gridiron, and the Barber's pole, to signify something more than what is usually meant by those words ; and that he thought the coffee-man could not do better than

of a very

to one of the Secretaries of State. He further added, 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 coffee-house, 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

to carry

the paper

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 lit my pipe with it. My profound silence, together with the steadiness of my countenance, and the gravity of my behaviou 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 post-man, took no further notice of anything that 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 inade for his future entertainment. But as I have been unluckily prevented by this accident, I shall only give him the letters which relate to the two last hints. The first of them I should not have published, were I not informed that there is many an 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 nimia pia est, facta est impia. SIR,

I am one of those unhappy men that are plagued with a gospel-gossip, so common among dissenters (especially Friends). Lectures in the morning, church-meetings at noon, and preparation sermons at night, take up so much of her time, 'tis very rare she knows what we have for dinner, unless when the preacher is to be at it. With him come a tribe, all brothers and sisters it seems; while others, really such, are deemed no relations. If at any time I have her company alone, she is a mere sermon pop-gun, repeating and discharging texts, proofs, and applications, so perpetually, that however weary I may go to bed, the noise in my I

head will not let me sleep till towards morning. The misery of my case, and great numbers of such sufferers, plead your pity and speedy relief; otherwise must expect, in a little time, to be lectured, preached, and prayed into want, unless the bappiness of being sooner talked to death prevent it.

“I am, &c.

6 R. G."

« AnteriorContinuar »