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demical, it being our present design to clap up all such as have the marks of madness upon them, who are now permitted to go about the streets for no other reason, but because they do no mischief in their fits. Abundance of imaginary great men are put in straw to bring them to a right sense of themselves: and is it not altogether as reasonable, that an insignificant man, who has an immoderate opinion of his merits, and a quite different notion of his own abilities from what the rest of the world entertain, should have the same care taken of him, as a beggar who fancies himself a duke or a prince? or why should a man, who starves in the midst of plenty, be trusted with himself more than he who fancies he is an emperor in the midst of poverty ? I have several women of quality in my thoughts, who set so exorbitant a value upon themselves, that I have often most heartily pitied them, and wished them for their recovery under the same discipline with the pewterer's wife. I find by several hints in ancient authors, that when the Romans were in the height of power and luxury, they assigned out of their vast dominions an island called Anticyra, as an habitation for madmen. This was the bedlam of the Roman empire, whither all persons who had lost their wits used to resort from all parts of the world in quest of them. Several of the Roman emperors were advised to repair to this island; but most of them instead of listening to such sober counsels, gave way to their distraction till the people knocked them in the head as despairingoftheir cure. In short, it was as usual for men of distempered brains to take a voyage to Anticyra in those days, as it is in ours for persons who have a disorder in their lungs to go to Montpelier.
The prodigious crops of hellebore with which this whole island abounded, did not only furnish them with incomparable tea, snuif, and Hungary water, but impregnated the air of the country with such sober and salutiferious streams, as very much comforted the
heads, and refreshed the senses of all that breathed in it. A discarded statesman, that at his first landing appeared stark staring mad, would become calm in a week's time; and upon his return home, live easy and satisfied in his retirement. A moaping lover would grow a pleasant fellow by the time he had rid thrice about the island; and a hair-brained rake, after a short stay in the country, go home again a composed, grave, worthy gentleman,
I have premised these particulars before I enter on the main design of this paper, because I would not be thought altogether notional in what I have to say, and pass only for a projector in morality. I could quote Horace and Seneca, and some other ancient writers of good repute upon the same occasion, and make out by their testimony, that our streets are filled with distracted persons; that our shops and taverns, private and public houses, swarm with them; and that it is very hard to make up a tolerable assembly without a majority of them. But what I have already said, is, I hope, sufficient to justify the ensuing project, which I shall therefore give some account of without any further preface.
1. It is humbly proposed, that a proper receptacle or habitation, be forthwith erected for all such persons as, upon due trial and examination, shall appear to be out of their wits.
2. That to serve the present exigency, the college in Moorfields be very much extended at both ends; and that it be converted into a square, by adding three other sides to it.
3. That no body be admitted into these three additional sides, but such whose phrensy can lay no claim to an apartment in that row of building which is already erected.
4. That the architect, physician, apothecary, surgeon, keepers, nurses, and porters, be all and each of
them cracked, provided that their phrensy does not lie in the profession or employment to which they shall severally and respectively be assigned.
N. B. It is thought fit to give the foregoing notice, that none may present himself here for any post of honour or profit who is not duly qualified.
5. That over all the gates of the additional buildings, there be figures placed in the same manner as over the entrance of the edifice already erected; provided they represent such distractions only as are proper for those additional buildings; as of an envious man gnawing his own flesh, a gamester pulling himself by the ears, and knocking his head against a marble pillar, a covetous man warming himself over a heap of gold, a coward flying from his own shadow, and the like.
Having laid down this general scheme of my design, I do hereby invite all persons who are willing to encourage so public spirited a project, to bring in their contri. butions as soon as possible, and to apprehend forthwith any politician whom they shall catch raving in a coffeehouse, or any free-thinker whom they shall find publishing his deliriums, or any other person who shall give the like manifest signs of a crazed imagination: and I do at the same time give this public notice to all the madmen about this great city, that they may return to their senses with all imaginable expedition, lest if they should come into my hands, I should put them into a regimen which they would not like: for if I find any one of them persist in his frantic behaviour, I will make him in a month's time as famous as ever Oliver's porter was.
No. CXXVI. SATURDAY, JANUARY 28.
Anguillam Cauda tenes.
From my own Afiartment, January 27. THERE is no sort of company so agreeable as that of women who have good sense without affectation, and can converse with men without any private design of imposing chains and fetters. Belvidera, whom I visited this evening, is one of these. There is an invincible prejudice in favour of all she says, from her being a beautiful woman, because she does not consider herself as such when she talks to you. This amiable temper gives a certain tincture to all her discourse, and made it very agreeable to me, till we were interrupted by Lydia, a creature who has all the charms that can adorn a woman. Her attractions would indeed be irresistible, but that she thinks them 60, and is always employing them in stratagems and conquests. When I turned my eye upon her as she sat down, I saw she was a person of that character, which, for the further information of my country corl'espondents, I had long wanted an opportunity of ex
I plaining. Lydia is a finished coquet, which is a sect among women, of all others the most mischievous, and makes the greatest havock and disorder in society. I went on in the discourse I was in with Belvidera, without shewing that I had observed any thing extraordinary in Lydia; upon which, I immediately saw her look me over as some very ill-bred fellow; and casting a scornful glance on my dress, gave me a shrug at Belvidera. But as much as she despised me, she wanted my admiration, and made twenty offers to bring my eyes her way: but I reduced her to a restlessness in her seat, and impertinent playing of her fan, and many other motions and gestures, before I took the least notice of her. At last I looked at her with
a kind of surprize, as if she had before been unobserved by reason of an ill light where she sat. It is not to be expressed what a sudden joy I saw arise in her countenance, even at the approbation of such a very old fellow, but she did not long enjoy her triumph without a rival; for there immediately entered Castabella, a lady of a quite contrary character, that is to say, as eminent a prude as Lydia is a coquet. Belvidera gave me a glance, which methought intimated, that they were both curiosities in their kind, and worth remarking. As soon as we were again seated, I stole looks at each lady, as if I was comparing their perfections. Belvidera observed it, and began to bring me into a discourse of them both to their faces, which is to be done easily enough; for one woman is generally so intent upon the faults of another, that she has not reflection enough to observe when her own are represented. I have taken notice, Mr. Bickerstaff, (said Belvidera) that you have, in some parts of your writings, drawn characters of our sex, in which you have not, to my apprehension, been clear enough and distinct, particularly in those of a prude and a coquet. Upon the mention of this, Lydia was roused with the expectation of seeing Castabella's picture, and Castabella, with the hopes of that of Lydia. Madam, (said I to Belvidera) when we consider nature, we shall often find very contrary effects flow from the same cause. The prude and coquet (as different as they appear in their behaviour) are in reality the same kind of women; the motive of action in both, is the affectation of pleasing men. They are sisters of the same blood and constitution, only one chus:'s a grave, and the other a light dress. The prude appears more virtuous, the coquet more vicious, than she really is. The distant behaviour of the prude tends to the same purpose as the advances of the coquet; and you have as little reason to fall into despair from the severity of one, as to conceive hopes, from the familiarity of the other.