Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors]

On Monday next will be acted for my benefit, the Comedy of Love for Love: if you will do me the honour to appear there, I will publish on the bills, that it is to be performed at the request of Isaac Bickerstaffe, Esq., and question not but it will bring me as great an audience, as ever was at the house since the Morocco ambassador was there.

“I am, (with the greatest respect,)
Your most obedient,
And must humble servant,

THOMAS DOGGET." Being naturally an encourager of wit, as well as bound to it in the quality of censor, I returned the following answer. “MR. DOGGET, I am very well pleased with the choice


have made of so excellent à play, and have always looked upon you as the best of comedians; I shall, therefore, come in between the first and second act, and remain in the right-hand box over the pit till the end of the fourth, provided you take care that everything be rightly prepared for my reception."

No. 121. TUESDAY, JANUARY 17, 1709.

-Similis tibi, Cynthia, vel tibi cujus
Turbavit nitidos extinctus passer ocellos. Juv.

From my own Apartment, January 16. I was recollecting the remainder of my vision, when my maid came to me and told me, there was a gentlewoman below who seemed to be in great trouble, and pressed very much to see me. When it lay in my power to remove the distress of an unhappy person, I thought I should very ill employ my time in attending matters of speculation, and therefore desired the lady would walk in. When she entered


full of tears : however her grief was not so great as to make her omit rules ; for she was very long and exact in her civilities, which gave me time to view and consider her. Her clothes were very rich, but tarnished; and her words very fine, but ill applied. These distinctions made

I saw her

“ That


me without hesitation (though I had never seen her before) ask her, “If her lady had any commands for me?” She then began to weep afresh, and with many broken sighs told me, their family was in very great affliction”-I beseeched her to compose herself, for that I might possibly be capable of assisting them.—She then cast her eye upon my little dog, and was again transported with too much passion to proceed; but with much ado, she at last gave me to understand, that Cupid, her lady's lap-dog, was dangerously ill, and in so bad a condition, that her lady neither saw company, nor went abroad, for which reason she did not come herself to consult me; that as I had mentioned with great affection my own dog, (here she curtsied, and looking first at the cur, and then on me, said, “Indeed I had reason, for he was very pretty,”) her lady sent to me rather than to any other doctor, and hoped I would not laugh at her sorrow, but send her my advice. I must confess, I had some indignation to find myself treated like something below a farrier; yet well knowing that the best as well as most tender

way of dealing with a woman, is to fall in with her humours, and by that means to let her see the absurdity of them, I proceeded accordingly: “ Pray, madam, (said I,) can you give me any methodical account of this illness, and how Cupid was first taken ?” Sir, (said she,) we have a little ignorant country girl, who is kept to tend him : she was recommended to our family by one, that my lady never saw but once, at a visit ; and you know persons of quality are always inclined to strangers; for I could have helped her to a cousin of my own, but” “Good madam, (said I,) you neglect the account of the sick body, while you are complaining of this girl.” “No, no, sir, (said she,) begging your pardon : but it is the general fault of physicians,

they are so in haste, that they never hear out the case. I say, this silly girl, after washing Cupid, let him stand half an hour in the window without his collar, where he catched cold, and in an hour after began to bark very hoarse. He had, however, a pretty good night, and we hoped the danger was over; but for these two nights past neither he nor my lady have slept a wink.” “Has he said I) taken anything ?” “No, (said she,) but my lady says, he shall take anything that you prescribe, provided you do not make use of Jesuits' powder, or the cold bath. Poor Cupid (continued she) has always been pthi

· The sick body.] The humour of this expression is inimitable.



have any


[ocr errors]

sical, and as he lies under something like a chin cough, we are afraid it will end in a consumption." I then asked her, “ If she had brought any of his water to show me?” Upon this, she stared me in the face, and said, “I am afraid, Mr. Bickerstaffe, you are not serious ;' but if you receipt that is proper on this occasion, pray let us have it, for my

mistress is not to be comforted." Upon this, I paused a little without returning any answer; and after some short silence, I proceeded in the following manner:

I have considered the nature of the distemper, and the constitution of the patient, and by the best observation that I can make on both, I think it safest to put him into a course of kitchen physic. [In the mean time, to remove his hoarseness, it will be the most natural way to make Cupid his own druggist; for which reason, I shall prescribe to him, three mornings successively, as much powder as will lie on a groat, of that noble remedy which the apothecaries call album Græcum.” Upon hearing this advice, the young woman smiled, as if she knew how ridiculous an errand she had been employed in; and indeed I found by the sequel of her discourse, that she was an arch baggage, and of a character that is frequent enough in persons of her employment, who are so used to conform themselves in everything to the humours and passions of their mistresses, that they sacrifice superiority of sense to superiority of condition, and are insensibly betrayed into the passions and prejudices of those whom they serve, without giving themselves leave to consider that they are extravagant and ridiculous. However, I thought it very natural, when her eyes were thus open, to see her give a new turn to her discourse, and from sympathizing with her mistress in her follies, to fall a railing at her. - You cannot imagine, (said she,) Mr. Bickerstaffe, what a life she makes us lead for the sake of this ugly cur: if he dies, we are the



' This was put in to prepare the way for the change of character. See the next page.

: Proceeded in the following manner.] I suppose, in Mr. Addison's original draught, it stood thus—“ I dismissed her with the following prescription.”

3 This change of character in the Abigail, is so foreign to the design of the paper, is so languidly expressed, and carried on in a vein of humour so unlike Mr. Addison's, that I think it should be given to his coadjutor. What I mean is, so much of this page as is contained within the crotchets, from In the mean," &c. to "forced her out."

most unhappy family in town. She chanced to lose a parrot last year, which, to tell you truly, brought me into her service; for she turned off her woman upon it, who had lived with her ten years, because she neglected to give him water, though every one of the family says, she was as innocent of the bird's death as the babe that is unborn. Nay, she told me this very morning, that if Cupid should die, she would send the poor innocent wench I was telling you of to Bridewell, and have the milk-woman tried for her life at the Old Bailey, for putting water into his milk. In short, she talks like any

distracted creature.” “Since it is so, young woman, (said I, I will by no means let you offend her, by staying on this message longer than is absolutely necessary;" and so forced her out.]

While I am studying to cure those evils and distresses that are necessary or natural to human life, I find


task growing upon me, since by these accidental cares and acquired calamities, (if I may so call them,) my patients contract distempers to which their constitution is of itself a stranger. But this is an evil I have for many years remarked in the fair sex; and as they are by nature very much formed for affection and dalliance, I have observed, that when by too obstinate a cruelty, or any other means, they have disappointed themselves of the proper objects of love, as husbands, or children, such virgins have exactly at such a year grown fond of lap-dogs, parrots, or other animals. I know at this time a celebrated toast, whom I allow to be one of the most agreeable of her sex, that in the presence of her admirers will give a torrent of kisses to her cat, any one of which a Christian would be glad of. I do not at the same time deny, but there are as great enormities of this kind committed by our sex as theirs. A Roman emperor had so very great an esteem for a horse of his, that he had thoughts of making him a consul; and several moderns of that rank of men, whom we call country squires, will not scruple to kiss their hounds before all the world, and declare, in the presence of their wives, that they had rather salute a favourite of the pack than the finest woman in England. These voluntary friendships between animals of different species seem to arise from instinct; for which reason, I have always looked upon the mutual good-will between the squire and the hound

to be of the same nature with that between the lion and the jackal.

The only extravagance of this kind which appears to me excusable, is one that grew out of an excess of gratitude, which I have somewhere met with in the life of a Turkish emperor. His horse had brought him safe out of a field of battle, and from the pursuit of a victorious enemy. As a reward for such his good and faithful service, his master built him a stable of marble, shod him with gold, fed him in an ivory manger, and made him a rack of silver. He annexed to the stable several fields and meadows, lakes and running streams. At the same time he provided for him a seraglio of mares, the most beautiful that could be found in the whole Ottoman empire. To these were added a suitable train of domestics, consisting of grooms, farriers, rubbers, &c., accommodated with proper liveries and pensions. In short, nothing was omitted that could contribute to the ease and happiness of his life, who had preserved the emperor's.

By reason of the extreme cold, and the changeableness of the weather, I have been prevailed upon to allow the free use of the fardingal till the oth of February next ensuing."


[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors]

Cur in Theatrum Cato severe venisti ? MART.

From my own Apartment, January 18. I FIND it is thought necessary, that I (who have taken upon me to censure the irregularities of the age) should give an account of my actions when they appear doubtful, or subject to misconstruction. My appearing at the play on Monday last,' is looked upon as a step in my conduct which I ought to explain, that others may not be misled by my example. It is true in matter of fact, I was present at the ingenious entertainment of that day, and placed myself in a box which was prepared for me with great civility and distinction. It is said of Virgil, when he entered a Roman' :: 'N. B. A person dressed for Isaac Bickerstaffe did appear at the playhouse on this occasion.

« AnteriorContinuar »