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ting down a hint of it upon paper. At the same time I look into the letters of my correspondents, and if I find any thing suggested in them that may afford matter of speculation, I likewise enter a minute of it in
collec. tion of materials. By this means I frequently carry a. bout me a whole sheetful of hints, that would look like a rhapsody of nonsense to any body 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 coffeehouse, where the auctions are usually kept. Before I missed it, there was 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 hody 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:
MINUTES. SIR ROGER DE COVERLEY's country seat-Yes, for I hate long speeches-Query, if a good Christian may be a Conjuror-Childermas-day, salt-seller, house.dog, screech-owl, cricket --Mr THOMAS INKLE of London, in the good ship called the Achilles. YARICO-Ægrescitque medendo-Ghosts --The lady's library--Lion by trade a tailor-- Dromedary called Bucephalus-Equipage the lady's fummum bonum--CHARLES Lillie to be taken notice of Short face a relief to envy--Redundancies in the three professions - King LATINUS a recruit-Jew devouring a ham of bacon -Westminster-Abbey GrandCairo--Procrastination-Aprilfools-Blueboars,
red lions, hogs in armour --Enter a king and two fiddlers solusAdmission into the Ugly Club - Beauty, how improveable-Families of true and false humour-The parrot's school-mistress --- Face half Pict half British No man to be a hero of a tragedy under six feet-Club of sighers ---- Letters from flower-pots, elbow.chairs, tape. stry-figures, lion, thunder The bell rings to the puppet-show-Old woman with a beard married to a smokefaced boy - My next coat to be turned up with blue-Fable of tongs and gridiron---Flower-dyers-The sol. dier's prayer – Thank ye for nothing, says the gallipotPactolus in stockings, with golden clocks to themBamboos, cudgels, drum-sticks -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--CÆŞAR's behaviour and my own in pa. rallel circumstances-- Poem in patchwork-Nulli gravis est percussus AchiļLES - The female conventicler-The ogle-master.
The reading of this paper made the whole coffeehouse very merry; some of them concluded it was writ. ten by a madman, and others by some body that had been taking notes out of the Spectator. One who had the appearance of a very 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 to carry the paper 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 hy, 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 co
coming out of the pulpit, to give it me; which he did accordingly. This drew the eyes of the whole company, upon ane; but after having cast a cursory glance over it, and
Snook 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 steadi. ness of my countenance, and the gravity of my
behaviour during the 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 farther notice of any thing 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 untouchéd, were such provisions as I had made for his future en. tertainment. But as I have been unluckily prevented by this accident, I shail only give him the letters which re. late to the two last hints. Î'he 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 men. tioned, 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.”
“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, it is very rare she knows whať 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. 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 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 re. lief, otherwise must expect, in a little time, to be lectured, preached, and prayed into want, unless the happiness of being soon talked to death prevent it. I am, &c.
The second letter, relating to the ogling-master, runs thus :
MR SPECTATOR, “ I AM an Irish gentleman,' that have travelled many years for my improvement; during which time I have accomplished myself in the whole art of ogling, as it is at present practised in all the -polite nations of Europe. Being thus qualified, I intend, by the advice of my friends, to set ip for an ogling master. I teach tlie church-ogle in the morning, and the playhouse-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 the day by darkening wie of my windows. I have a manuscript hy ine, called The Complete Ogler, which I shall be ready to show you upon any occasion.
In the mean time, I beg you will publish the substance of this letter in an advertisement, and you will very much oblige, C:
NO. 47.-TUESDAY, APRIL 24. 1711.
Ride, si sapis-
CAUSES OF LAUGHTER,
MR HOBBES, 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 compari.. son 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 look into the bottom of this matter, we shall meet with many observations to confirm us in his opinion, Every one laughs at some body that is in an inferior-state of folly to himself. It was formerly the custom for every great house in England to keep a tame fool dressed in petticoats, that the heir of the family might have an opportunity of joking upon him, and diverting himself with his absurdities. For the same reason, idiots are still in request in most of the courts of Germany, where there is not a prince of any great magnificence, who has not two or three dressed, distinguished, undisputed fools in his retinue, whom the rest of the courtiers are always breaking their jests upon.
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 Hobbes's reflection gives us the reason why the insignificant people above-mentioned 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 admirt, and seem to love so well, that they could eat them, (according to the old proverb : I mean those circumfe. raneous wits whom every nation calls by the riame of