discretion, in scandalous poverty and want, till I was big enough to be married, and I was sent for to see the lady who sends you the underwritten. When we were put together, we both considered that we could not be worse than we were in taking one another, and out of a desire of liberty, entered into wedlock. My father says I am now a man, and may speak to him like another gentleman. "I am, Sir, your most humble servant, "RICHARD RENTFREE."


"I grew tall and wild at my mother's, who is a gay widow, and did not care for shewing me, till about two years and a half ago; at which time my guardian uncle sent me to a boarding-school, with orders to contradict me in nothing, for I had been misused enough already. I had not been there above a month, when, being in the kitchen, I saw some oatmeal on the dresser; I put two or three corns in my mouth, liked it, stole a handful, went into my chamber, chewed it, and for two months after never failed taking toll of every pennyworth of oatmeal that came into the house; but one day playing with a tobacco pipe between my teeth, it happened to break in my mouth, and the spitting out the pieces left such a delicious roughness on my tongue, that I could not be satisfied till I had champed up the remaining part of the pipe. I forsook the oatmeal, and stuck to the pipes three months, in which time I had dispensed with thirty-seven foul pipes, all to the bowls: they belonged to an old gentleman, father to my governess. He locked up the clean ones. I left off eating of pipes, and fell to licking of chalk. I was soon tired of this. I then nibbled all the red wax of our last ball-tickets, and, three weeks after, the black wax from the burying tickets of the old gentleman. Two months after this lived upon thunder-bolts, a certain long round bluish stone which I found among the gravel in our garden. I was wonderfully delighted with this; but thunder-bolts growing scarce, I fastened tooth and nail upon our gardenwall, which I stuck to almost a twelvemonth, and had in that time peeled and devoured half a foot towards our neighbour's yard. I now thought myself the happiest creature in the world; and I believe, in my conscience, I

had eaten quite through, had I had it in my chamber: but now I became lazy and unwilling to stir, and was obliged to seek food nearer home. I then took a strange hankering to coals; I fell to scranching them, and had already consumed, I am certain, as much as would have dressed my wedding-dinner, when my uncle came for me home. He was in the parlour with my governess, when I was called down. I went in, fell on my knees, for he made me call him father; and when I expected the blessing I asked, the good gentleman, in a surprise, turns himself to my governess, and asks, whether this (pointing to me) was his daughter? This,' added he, is the very picture of death. My child was a plump-faced, hale, fresh-coloured girl; but this looks as if she were half-starved, a mere skeleton.' My governess, who is really a good woman, assured my father I had wanted for nothing; and withal told him I was continually eating some trash or other, and that I was almost eaten up with the green-sickness, her orders being never to cross me. But this magnified but little with my father, who presently, in a kind of pet, paying for my board, took me home with him. I had not been long at home, but one Sunday at church (I shall never forget it) I saw a young neighbouring gentleman that pleased me hugely; I liked him of all men I ever saw in my life, and began to wish I could be as pleasing to him. The very next day he came, with his father, a visiting to our house: we were left alone together with directions on both sides to be in love with one another; and in three weeks' time we were married. I regained my former health and complexion, and am now as happy as the day is long. Now, Mr. Spec., I desire you would find out some name for these craving damsels, whether dignified or distinguished under some or all of the following denominations: to wit, Trash-eaters, Oatmeal-chewers, Pipe-champers, Chalklickers, Wax-nibblers, Coal-scranchers, Wall-peelers, or Gravel-diggers; and, good Sir, do your utmost endeavour to prevent (by exposing) this unaccountable folly, so prevailing among the young ones of our sex, who may not meet with such sudden good luck, as,

[ocr errors]


"Sir, your constant reader, and very humble servant,


N° 432. WEDNESDAY, JULY 16, 1712.

-Inter strepit anser olores.-VIRG. Ecl. ix. 36.
He gabbles like a goose amidst the swan-like quire.-DRYDEN.
Oxford, July 14.



CCORDING to a late invitation in one of your papers to every man who pleases to write, I have sent you the following short dissertation against the vice of being prejudiced. "Your most humble servant."

"Man is a sociable creature, and a lover of glory; whence it is, that when several persons are united in the same society, they are studious to lessen the reputation of others, in order to raise their own. The wise are content to guide the springs in silence, and rejoice in secret at their regular progress. To prate and triumph is the part allotted to the trifling and superficial. The geese were providentially ordained to save the Capitol. Hence it is, that the invention of marks and devices to distinguish parties is owing to the beaux and belles of this island. Hats, moulded into different cocks and pinches, have long bid mutual defiance; patches have been set against patches in battle array; stocks have risen or fallen in proportion to head-dresses; and peace or war been expected, as the white or the red hood hath prevailed. These are the standard-bearers in our contending armies, the dwarfs and squires who carry the impresses of the giants or knights, not born to fight themselves, but to prepare the way for the ensuing combat.

"It is a matter of wonder to reflect how far men of weak understanding, and strong fancy, are hurried by their prejudices, even to the believing that the whole body of the adverse party are a band of villains and demons. Foreigners complain that the English are the proudést nation under heaven. Perhaps they too have their share ; but be that as it will, general charges against bodies of men is the fault I am writing against. It must be owned, to our shame, that our common people, and most who have not travelled, have an irrational contempt for the language, dress, customs, and even the shape and minds of other nations. Some men, otherwise of sense, have wondered

that a great genius should spring out of Ireland; and think you mad in affirming that fine odes have been written in Lapland.

"This spirit of rivalship, which heretofore reigned in the two universities, is extinct, and almost over betwixt college and college. In parishes and schools, the thirst of glory still obtains. At the seasons of football and cock-fighting, these little republics re-assume their national hatred to each other. My tenant in the country is verily persuaded, that the parish of the enemy hath not one honest man in it.

"I always hated satires against woman, and satires against man: I am apt to suspect a stranger who laughs at the religion of the faculty; my spleen rises at a dull rogue, who is severe upon mayors and aldermen; and was never better pleased than with a piece of justice executed upon the body of a Templar, who was very arch upon parsons.

"The necessities of mankind require various employments; and whoever excels in his province is worthy of praise. All men are not educated after the same manner, nor have all the same talents. Those who are deficient deserve our compassion, and have a title to our assistance. All cannot be bred in the same place; but in all places there arise, at different times, such persons as do honour to their society, which may raise envy in little souls, but are admired and cherished by generous spirits.

"It is certainly a great happiness to be educated in societies of great and eminent men. Their instructions and examples are of extraordinary advantage. It is highly proper to instil such a reverence of the governing persons, and concern for the honour of the place, as may spur the growing members to worthy pursuits and honest emulation; but to swell young minds with vain thoughts of the dignity of their own brotherhood, by debasing and vilifying all others, doth them a real injury. By this means I have found that their efforts have become languid, and their prattle irksome, as thinking it sufficient praise that they are children of so illustrious and ample a family. 1 should think it a surer as well as more generous method, to set before the eyes of youth such persons as have made a noble progress in fraternities less talked of; which seems

tacitly to reproach their sloth, who loll so heavily in the seats of mighty improvement. Active spirits hereby would enlarge their notions; whereas, by a servile imitation of one, or perhaps two, admired men, in their own body, they can only gain a secondary and derivative kind of fame. These copiers of men, like those of authors or painters, run into affectations of some oddness, which perhaps was not disagreeable in the original, but sits ungracefully on the narrow-souled transcriber.

"By such early corrections of vanity, while boys are growing into men, they will gradually learn not to censure superficially; but imbibe those principles of general kindness and humanity, which alone can make them easy to themselves, and beloved by others.

"Reflections of this nature have expunged all prejudices out of my heart; insomuch, that though I am a firm Protestant, I hope to see the pope and cardinals without violent emotions; and though I am naturally grave, I expect to meet good company at Paris.

"I am, Sir, your obedient servant.”


"I find you are a general undertaker, and have by your correspondents or self, an insight into most things; which makes me apply myself to you at present, in the sorest calamity that ever befel man. My wife has taken something ill of me, and has not spoke one word good or bad, to me, or any body in the family, since Friday was sevennight. What must a man do in that case? Your advice would be a great obligation to, Sir, your most humble servant, "RALPH THIMBLETON."

"MR. SPECTATOR, July 15, 1712. "When you want a trifle to fill up a paper, in inserting this you will lay an obligation on your humble servant, "OLIVIA."



"It is but this moment I have had the happiness of knowing to whom I am obliged for the present I received the second of April. I am heartily sorry it did not come to hand the day before; for I cannot but think it very hard upon people to lose their jest, that offer at one but once a year. I congratulate myself however upon the earnest given

« VorigeDoorgaan »